Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Days of Noah

bolt For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Matthew 24:37-39

Jesus' clear teaching in Matthew 24 is one of expectation. His ministry would leave some "unfinished business" that would require His return again as the Son of Man. The times described in Matthew 24 are future to Jesus and His disciples as He describes them. And it is clear (even for those who see primarily the 70 AD destruction of the temple in this chapter) that the events described here are foremost in the future for us to consider today.

Of particular note is Jesus' insistence that His return in judgment will take the world by surprise. The Father knows when this will occur. The Son will be told. And the days before that will find the world spinning further and further into its daily grind of iniquity. The metaphor fitting this according to Jesus is the description of the pre-deluge world of Noah. There the earth had become
"corrupt", "filled with violence", and "all flesh had corrupted their way" (Genesis 6:11-12). If anything, Jesus' description is a little more descriptive, because this corrupt bunch of violent people had become casual partiers, eating, drinking, and celebrating marriage banquets even as Noah built his ark and prepared for the flood.

So is my generation. We have our parties. We celebrate our perversity and unwillingness to confront sin as sin and call it "diversity" and "tolerance". And even as the economy tumbles we simply spend ourselves into a party of poverty. And this will continue right up to the return of the Son of Man. So in the din of celebration, I wonder if anyone hears the rumbling thunder.

The gospel confronts this. There is still time as long as the Lord delays. And in these days especially, I am duty-bound to proclaim the gospel at EVERY opportunity for the glory of God and the salvation of souls that He died to redeem.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jesus and Jerusalem

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
Matthew 23:37

jerusalem gate

This lament for the capital city of Israel comes on the heels of Jesus' infamous sermon of seven woes against the scribes and Pharisees who characterized the rejection of His ministry among the people of the nation. It was in Jerusalem that the worship of God was organized at the temple. It was here that the main feasts and celebration of God's worship were practices. This was the city that had just wildly welcomed Him into the city with Messianic fervor. And it was the place where He knew He would die to atone for the sin of the world.

Jerusalem had a history. It was a checkered past, full of triumph and tragedy. It was the place where God was proclaimed. It was also the place where apostasy and idolatry often led to Him being abandoned. It was a political center. It was a social center. And it was the place where the prophets pled with the people to repent, only to be rejected. Jeremiah's tears flowed there, just as Jesus' do at the thought of the spiritual state of the nation encapsulated in the city of Zion.

I find it interesting that Jesus was moved by the spiritual and not the political plight of His people. Not once in the New Testament does He decry the Roman occupation. He calls the people to the worship of Yahweh and like the prophets before Him, takes the religious leaders to task for their abandonment of God's Law. He knows that the spiritual need of Israel is the greatest need of the people. In His message, it is the ONLY need of the people. And love drives Him to continue to care for that need and to decry their deception and rejection of God.

The passion and the heart of Jesus are so clearly shown for us in this account. He understands and speaks to the deepest human need, redemption from sin, acceptance by a loving God, and the soul support and protection such divine favor bestows.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Giving where it is due.


Then he said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
Matthew 22:21b

Tax day was just a couple of weeks ago, but this passage still rings with vital meaning. I have been serving in ministry as my primary means of vocation for over twenty years now. And historically, April is always a low month for giving to the church... I suspect because Uncle Sam comes calling. And I feel the tension.

The past four years have seen a downturn for my own personal ability to give. I used to enjoy giving substantially to the church and missions (at times nearly a fourth of my income). But 2005 found seminary obligations decreasing that amount. That lasted through last year. And then has come this vividly hard year of 2009, where medical bills have piled up... dental work... unanticipated surgery for one child... orthodontics in the future for another child... and suddenly it is very hard to find the means to give generously.

But the thing that convicts me is that I still render to Caesar. They throw you in the Big House if you decide not to do that! Now, I am in a VERY LOW tax bracket (another outcome of ministry), but even at that, this year it appears that my rendering to Caesar will be more than my giving to God. That is a first for us.

My desire is by the end of third quarter 2009, to have paid off medical debts to the point where we can restore generosity to the work of God. In addition to this, I am praying for God to somehow supply some additional summer income, so this might happen sooner. My heart is to follow Jesus' clear command.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Acceptance & Denial

But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" they were indignant, and they said to him, "Do you hear what these are saying?" And Jesus said to them, "Yes; have you never read,
        " 'Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise'?"
Matthew 21:15-16

palm branch

Jesus' enemies were not acting out of ignorance when they challenged him. They saw the miraculous things that He did. They simply denied them... and Him. This passage shows them to be particularly bold in their confrontation. The crowds in Jerusalem that were gathered for the coming Passover celebration were enthusiastic in their reception of Jesus. The triumphal entry could only be seen as wild Messianic celebration. And people knew this. The title "Son of David" was reserved for the Messiah, and the crowd’s cry of "Hosanna to the the Son of David" indicates their desire to see Jesus act as Messiah.

The chief priests and scribes on the other hand saw the same miraculous results of Jesus' ministry and the adulation that came even from the words of children and were upset by it. They could not see Jesus for what He was. It upset them. And when they confronted Him, He quietly pointed out that even the chanting of children in the temple was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy about Him.

There is no doubt in my mind that Jesus confidently knew His mission. And I believe that the city of Jerusalem was characterized by people who were hoping to see Him deliver Israel as Messiah. They did not know He came as the suffering Servant. They did not know that as they began the celebration of saving blood at Passover, a greater saving blood was going to be shed for them and not only for the nation of Israel, but for the entire world. Their praise precedes the atonement. In less than a week they would be crying out for His execution. And a week from that day, they would be stirred with the news that the crucified Jesus was no longer to be found in a tomb.

Jesus surprises us. He surprises us with a love that is beyond our own. He surprises us with answers that we never saw coming. He surprises us by confronting our legalistic self-ruled religion. He surprises us with full atonement for our sin. He surprises us with new life and victory over death.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Are you able?

Jesus answered, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?" They said to him, "We are able."
Matthew 20:22

mountain sea and sun

I am reminded of the devotional challenge of an old hymn when I read this story:

"Are ye able," said the Master,
"To be crucified with Me?"
"Yea," the sturdy dreamers answered,
"To the death we follow Thee."

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are you able to relinquish
Purple dreams of power and fame,
To go down into the Garden,
Or to die a death of shame?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able, when the anguish
Racks your mind and heart with pain,
To forgive the souls who wrong you,
Who would make your striving vain?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able to remember,
When a thief lifts up his eyes,
That his pardoned soul is worthy
Of a place in paradise?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able when the shadows
Close around you with the sod,
To believe that spirit triumphs,
To commend your soul to God?

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

Are ye able? Still the Master
Whispers down eternity,
And heroic spirits answer,
Now as then in Galilee.

Lord, we are able. Our spirits are Thine.
Remold them, make us, like Thee, divine.
Thy guiding radiance above us shall be
A beacon to God, to love and loyalty.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eye of the Needle

eye of the needle

And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."
Matthew 19:23-24

This passage if often preached poorly. It has been used to harangue those who are wealthy. That was not Jesus' point. Yes, the rich young man in this account could not let go of his wealth. But that does not mean all those with wealth are doomed to hell for materialism. Jesus makes the point that riches add "difficulty" to a rich person's ability to follow Him. This is certainly evident in the case at point in the account. But Jesus also had wealthy followers. Nicodemus was a wealthy and influential man who eventually chose to give it all up for Jesus at His death. So was Joseph of Arimethea.

And there is evidence in the book of Acts that riches and influence do not force folks away from the kingdom. The Ethiopian eunuch had both wealth and political power. Lydia was a wealthy women. Aquila and Priscilla seemed to own a thriving business. In Romans, Phoebe is mentioned as a servant of the church, and she seems to have some means to support Paul's ministry. So wealth is not the issue, it is the heart's attitude toward it. And the reality is that some wealthy people refuse to be enticed away from the real issues. They can follow Jesus, with difficulty. So do those of us who live paycheck to paycheck!

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Patience & Forgiveness

sitting on chain

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."
Matthew 18:21-22

Jesus sets a high standard of forgiveness for His followers. I know that with me, He exhibits the kind of patient forgiveness described here. I sin daily in some way. That means in just a little under a year and a half, I have used up my 490 shots at forgiveness! I need grace from God. And that is what I get when I come to Him for forgiveness in confession and repentance.

Matthew 18 is all about both patience and forgiveness. The chapter begins (Matthew 18:1-6) with the disciples arguing over what makes a person "great" in the kingdom. And Jesus teaches them that simple childlike faith and humility lay the foundation for greatness, because they are required to receive Him and His kingdom. Then there are warnings about temptations to sin and that patient discipline is required to fight off temptation (Matthew 18:7-9). This is followed by the parable of the lost sheep in Matthew 18:10-14. From there, Jesus gives firm direction on how to handle personal affronts from those who will sin against us (Matthew 18:15-20). After Peter's question, Jesus tells the lengthy parable of the unforgiving servant, showing the dangers of impatient unforgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35).

I know that patient forgiveness is not only what I need from Christ, but also what I need to practice with others. Jesus makes it clear that if I don't get that, I may not really be ready to receive all the grace I can right here and now. In the parable of the unforgiving servant, the inability to forgive a fellow servant resulted in a judgment on THAT action. It is important to realize that the master did not punish him for old debts exclusively, but for the way in which he violently chose not to forgive those who owed him money. Jesus warned us that God feels similarly about our forgiveness hypocrisy.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The cross was no accident.

stone cross

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day." And they were greatly distressed.
Matthew 17:22-23

Jesus was aware of His redemptive purposes. His crucifixion was no accident. It was the plan of the Father that He accepted and knew was coming. This was NOT going to be easy for His disciples to undergo, and with this warning, Jesus has spoken of it twice according to Matthew's account. And it caused a stir among His men.

The ESV Study Bible notes seem to show us that the stir was created by the new information that Jesus would "be delivered into the hands of men", indicating a betrayal from among His own ranks. This would make sense, because when the hour did come, the disciples fled in fear, making them all disloyal to some degree or another. But the distress at hearing their Master say these things must have had the entire entourage of the twelve talking.

Jesus, however, did not seem distressed at this point. His prophetic warnings seem more to prepare the disciples then to protect Himself from this purpose. It was love that was driving His heart and His life. And it was love that would give Himself over to the redemptive plan of God. It was love that would let sinful men take a holy God to public torture and execution. And it was love that would bear the sin of the world as the Lamb of God.

Lord Jesus,
You were never surprised by the cross. You saw it as the goal of all You wanted to give us. And I know that I can only receive and contemplate that love, hoping that someday I might appropriate enough of it to love just a little like You do!

Monday, April 20, 2009

The most important question of all


He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
Matthew 16:15-16

Peter correctly answers the most important question of our times: "Who is Jesus?" It was important for those who lived with Him during His earthly ministry. It is important for all those who have lived since His time. He is the central focus of God's revelation. And He is the turning point of human history. Answering this question is important both from God's perspective, and from ours.

Peter's understanding shows that He knew Jesus as more than just a human being. And having walked with Him, spoken to Him, learned from Him, given up all to be His disciple, and seen Him change everything known about God and what God wants in the human heart, Peter saw something much more than humanity in Jesus. He knew Jesus as the Messiah of Old Testament prophecy and as the very God of Israel come to earth as a human being. This confession was profound.

Jesus was so moved by it that He told Peter that what He had observed and discovered would be the foundation for all future belief in Him in the church. Peter's confession is the foundational necessity of orthodoxy. Anyone who wants to teach a simple, human Jesus then is denying the faith and is not a part of Jesus' church as He defined it.

Jesus also knew that with this knowledge would come incredible opportunity as the power of God attended the message of the gospel. That is why "the keys of the kingdom" would come with the proclamation of Jesus as Messiah and God. And that is why Jesus cautioned His disciples to hold on to this message until the proper time would come to proclaim Him.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

At the heart of the matter.

heart in dirt But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.
Matthew 15:18-20a

This is the core teaching of Christ that gets to me. I know it to be real. I know that it is what is inside my heart that is most evil. And the sin there is what I cannot seem to control, no matter how much I resent it being there. Evil crops up and comes out. And it comes from the heart.

The Pharisees and Jewish authorities of Jesus' day had external religion tied down. They pushed so hard for conformance to rules. But they failed miserably at transformation of the heart. And that is where Jesus excels. He gets to the root issues by insisting that the kind of change He brings is one of the heart.

I personally know that is where the Christian life begins and grows in me. It is at the heart. It is internal. It is a war inside of me. And Jesus brings victory and not only defines the struggle, but offers hope beyond it.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Jesus and habits of prayer.

And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,
Matthew 14:23

Jesus Prays I find it compelling that Jesus spent concentrated time in prayer. Interspersed throughout the gospels are these recorded habits of intense prayer. Jesus seems to make it a regular habit to be alone with the Father. It is hard to know exactly how such a relationship worked, but the scriptures do not give theological commentary on it. They just record the activity.

The ESV Study Bible attempts to give some explanation: "In preparation for his mission into Gentile regions (see 15:21), and with his trials in Jerusalem impending, Jesus spends the evening and night in concentrated prayer with his heavenly Father." But even that is just a glimpse ahead to the change of focus in the text. We can really not know everything that Jesus did in this prayer retreat. To lay Gethsemane over every other text where Jesus gets alone to pray is probably a bad idea. Not all prayer is agonizing when it is long.

I think the take away thought for me in this passage is the need for extended time alone with God. It has been a LONG time since I have strategically done so. In fact, my memory only serves up an episode about 18 months ago. That needs to change, and soon. I am convicted that I have not taken a personal spiritual retreat in nearly two years now. I cannot expect to maintain ministry focus without following the example of my Lord. So it looks like I need to take a good look at my time, lay down driven agendas and paper plans and just get alone with God for at least half a day. And it ought to happen soon.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Pearl of Great Price


Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
Matthew 13:45-46

Searching for something
I looked under
until I found Someone

Wanting it all
I tried owning
until I sold it all for You

Holding the truth
so close to me
and in me
and through me
and beyond me
knowing You are the One

Knowing my heart
has found a precious thing
and valuing You.
I own the pearl of great price.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

More Than We Bargain For

And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
Matthew 12:49-50


When we choose to follow Jesus, we get much more than we bargain for. This episode shows that Jesus saw the relationship that He had with His followers as more dear than that even of His own family. They wanted to speak with Him, but He chose to use the moment to talk about what was really dear to him. We know from the gospel of John that His brothers may have followed in the wake of His ministry, but they did not believe in Him. Perhaps they wished to speak with Him because of the controversy He had just created with the Jewish leaders. For whatever reason, Jesus contrasts His family with His disciples. When He asked His disciples to make allegiance to God greater than allegiance to family, He knew what He was asking from His own experience.

Of course, to be loved as family is the dearest love. And that is exactly what Jesus offered His men. He brought them to Him in relationship that was more intimate than a mere master/pupil environment common with the rabbis of His day. He brought them into a new family. And He viewed them as the closest of friends.

The same is true with disciples today. Jesus loves us dearly. He asks that our allegiance to Him surpass all earthly relationships, but then He gives us the best relationships even with our family that we could ever imagine. A relationship with Jesus gives full perspective on all our own relationships with people. We are blessed to be following Him and there is joy with all the people in our lives as a result.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


tulip path

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.
Matthew 11:27

In an age of pluralism, this exclusive claim of Jesus needs to be investigated! And it is a claim to a unique and exclusive "way to God". Just a couple of nights ago while watching a news channel show run through the events of the day, the host brought together a panel of Americans to discuss a comment from our president that America is "not a Christian nation". Included in the panel were an aging model, a former NFL football player, and a political pundit. To a person, they agreed that it is wrong to claim that Christianity is the "only way to God". "I think we all know there are many ways to God". Well Jesus did not preach that!

As we head into contemplation on the events of that Passover Week so long ago, it is good to remember that what Jesus did is exclusive. It is the only way that we may be saved. Jesus claimed it. His apostles preached it. The church has held exclusive claim to it for two millennia. And just because secular arrogance wants human sovereignty to rule does not diminish its impact.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Natural Metaphors for Ministry


Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
Matthew 10:16

By the use of these natural metaphors, Jesus gets the attention of His disciples as they go into the villages and towns of Israel to preach the message of the kingdom. They would be entering dangerous territory. They were sheep going out in the midst of wolves. This meant that they knew the real danger of persecution, rejection, and the difficulties associated with preaching the gospel of the kingdom to the people around them. They were counter-culture. And as they watched the Jewish leadership work against their Master, so would their work be opposed.

The reality was dangerous, but the second metaphor drives home the attitudes and strategies that were to mark the lives of Jesus' men. They were to be wise and cunning in how they proceded. In fact, all of chapter ten provides the framework for how to deal with rejection, what to preach, how to give it up for discipleship, and what would conquer fear. This would require an appropriate amount of discerning wisdom and intellectual prowess, personified by the metaphor of the cunning serpent that knew when to hide and when to strike.

But the moral requirements were high as well. They were to be as innocent as doves. A dove was the simplest animal offering allowed under the law. The dove was gentle, peaceable, a symbol of all that was innocent and non-threatening. And that was also the driving motive behind the work of the kingdom. They had the truth. It was liberating. It was pure and holy and right. And the pure innocence of the message ought to come forth in their lives as well.

The balance of wisdom and the pure ring of innocent truth should still mark the ministry of the gospel today. In many ways it is the challenge of our culture that respects the cunning of the serpent and eschews the innocence of the dove. And the wolves will tear into both! More than ever, Jesus' words have profound impact for the spread of the Christian message.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Helpless & Harassed: Beyond Physical Poverty


When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
Matthew 9:36-38

Jesus had compassion on people. He saw their need. What sheds light on the condition of these people is found in the context of this statement. It was not a physical poverty alone that overwhelmed the heart of Christ. It was the spiritual poverty of these people. He had healed them and preached the kingdom to them, only to have the religious leaders among them sharply disagree and even work against Him. That is why the crowds were "harassed and helpless". Their spiritual leaders were the ones harassing them and trying to lead them away. They had no shepherd.

But Jesus used this observation to drive a call to ministry home to His disciples. He urged His men to earnestly pray to the Lord to send "laborers" out into the harvest of such hurting, ripe souls. These people were ready for good news. They were oppressed by legalism and false religion. And they had found the Messiah, the Savior Who could bring them a new life.

What follows IMMEDIATELY in chapter 10 is the commissioning of the twelve to do just that. Jesus is using the clear observation of the overwhelming spiritual need of His world to urge the disciples to action. And we need the same kind of mindset today. Not just for foreign missions, but for the entire world of humanity.

I see people who are harassed and helpless, even within the culture of the evangelical church. They come to me hungry, never having been fed a meal from the Word of God. They have existed on formulaic feel-good success-oriented motivational speeches. And they are anemic. They have been shown a church that is more consumeristic than a shopping mall, and struggle with really caring for others. They have been coddled, spoiled, and spoon-fed. And they are harassed and helpless sheep without a shepherd. And that is WITHIN the church! The spiritual poverty outside the church is beyond poverty now. And Christ is calling His followers to address it.

O Lord of the Harvest,
Send me. Here I am. I am ready to go into the harvest. I am ready to work among spiritually starving people. I need to have Your compassionate tears to fall on my soul and compel me as You were compelled in the cities and villages of Galilee so long ago.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Pyromaniacs: Frustrating, Funny, Fascinating, and Frightening

Pyromaniacs: Frustrating, Funny, Fascinating, and Frightening

Pyromaniacs digs up more proof that the emergent church movement is melting down...

From Great Storm to Great Calm

storm at sea

And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"
Matthew 8:26-27

Churning seas
My soul reels
I am lost

In the tumult
fearsome bolts
a storm has hit

Frightened heart
shaken through
I cry out

Little faith
lives within
in Your grace
You calm the din

Waves smooth
soul reclaimed
I look at You
a bit ashamed

Who is this
sea captain
Who calms souls
and brings them to Him?

Jesus, Lord
Savior, King
How I love
the peace You bring!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Teaching with authority

sermon on the mount

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
Matthew 7:28-29

People noticed a difference in the way that Jesus taught. He taught as one who had authority because He was the authority. He spoke the very words of God, rather than offering commentary on the scriptures. He was convincing because He was the truth. And He got to the heart of the matter over and over again in the Sermon on the Mount. At every level, He superceded the mere thoughts of men that so characterized the legalism and barren teaching of His day.

Jesus is always challenging because He teaches with authority. When I am confronted by my sins and my less than holy view of the world, it is because Jesus is Lord. In fact, I find it interesting that Jesus ends His sermon with warnings against false teachers, false professors of Him, and false foundations to life. He makes it clear that a spiritual pursuit is not enough. Those Who want to find eternal life, and God's approval, must build their lives on Jesus and His position as Lord. They must not just profess Him, but possess Him. They cannot just say they obey. They MUST do the will of the Father.

I want my life to bear good fruit. I want to obey my Lord. I want my life to be the house that is built on the Rock. And I am astonished at the teaching of my Lord. It is as true and powerfully disturbing today as it was on the hillside in Palestine so long ago. The authority of my Lord over my life, and my thoughts and plans, is absolute. And that authority must compel me to live differently and do the will of the Father.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Jesus addresses the economy.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these thieconmic visengs, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:31-33

Right now most people in the world who think about money are worried and anxious about national and world economies. And America is in an unprecedented financial meltdown and government spending spree. Complete collapse of entire economies is possible and looking more probable each day. Yet Jesus spoke these words to peasants who may have not known where their daily food might come from. Most of them were subsistence farmers... people so poor that at times crowds of them did not even take a lunch with them to an all day teaching session because they had nothing to bring!

These words of Jesus address that kind of need. And He says not to be anxious because God is in control and knows all of the life necessities that we have. Our priorities should be matched by devotion. We should seek God and His righteousness above all else, and He will reward the labors of our life with food, and clothing, and shelter.

I do sincerely hope that the current financial situation in the Western world will end the coveting and greed that have marked our culture. I sincerely doubt that they will. Even seventy years ago, in the worst depression ever, people went to movies to lust after the wealth and luxury portrayed there. So I doubt that we will see much change. Still, there is hope that material dearth might foster spiritual thirst, and a true pursuit of God will find in His kingdom and righteousness all that heart is longing for.