Drawn by the Word…

Luke 2:41-52

 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

“…all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers….” Who is he?  What does he do? “…Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” …”  Even after all the unusual circumstances surrounding his birth”…they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. …”  He understood who he was and what he needed.  The Word of God was in the temple, being spoken and taught by teachers of the law. We have the Word of God, the scriptures in many forms from print, spoken to electronic.  He is saying “…I must be…,” it was necessary.  It still is.  We find ourselves in the Word, speaking it, discussing it, asking the Holy Spirit for understanding, applying it and living it.  The Word of God is active and alive within us.  We are following the model set before us.

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Anger a virtue???

Be angry and sin not. 

Ephesians 4:26  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

Reading from The Virtue in the Vice by Dr. Robin R. Meyers, led to some reflection and responses from within me and it is not totally unrelated to the recent events in our nation politically and socially.  I found it interesting to talk about anger as being constructive, even biblical which goes against much of what I’ve heard lately from pulpits around the nation.  The following excerpt started me thinking: 

Without the right rage we can have little hope for real change in the world.  The call of discipleship is a call to do, not a call to contemplate.  There would have been no end to slavery without war, no civil rights movement without Bloody Sunday, and no progress toward inclusiveness in the church without bitter struggle and charged rhetoric.  Even now, little hope exists for saving the environment until angry people realize that we all live downstream and we start marching upstream en masse.

There are times when the right anger brings about action that corrects a wrong.  What action can be taken to right the wrongs being done to the unborn in our country?  What action can be taken to right the wrongs being taught to our children in the public system because it is politically correct? Those are only two arenas to consider action. Even as we find in James to be doers of the Word, not just hearers so in Micah we are given a call to action:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 

Faith is a verb, an action verb.  Doing justice is connected to hating injustice, loving kindness is connected to despising cruelty, walking humbly with God requires us to stand up and walk.  Two angers, one self-serving; one that rants against injustice, cruelty and false pride. 

How do we determine the difference?  Ask yourself, am I angry for someone else?  Do I feel as if I have been insulted, am I taking offense?  Is the anger self-serving and connected to pride?  Conversely, am I angry over what is done to those who cannot help themselves, or over the perpetuation of a lie to the young?  Is the anger sparked by injustice or cruelty?  Be angry and sin not.

Spiritual Warfare: My God is sufficient 2 Corinthians 12:9

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The recent storm stories served to press home the fact that we are in spiritual warfare and none of us is exempt.  We are equipped to wage that war when we stay close to the Lord through prayer and study of his Word.  Just as we keep our relationships with each other alive  by talking to each other and staying in touch, so we keep our relationship with Him alive by staying in touch with Him.  He is able to hold us up, heal our hurts and brokenness when we stay in contact.

For me this was daily, sometimes hourly; stopping to pray, listen to worship music, read from His word during the blackest of the storm, with the pieces of my life, love,world laying around me.    When I called others and they weren’t home, no answers on the phone, I was left with only one, the only one I needed, truly, that was the Lord and He heard.  I learned what it means to give Him my heart, the essence of me.  He rewarded me with healing that is still ongoing, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  The mind is used by the enemy to torment us if we give him a toehold.  The thoughts run round and round.  Prayer makes it stop.  He is sufficient for all my needs.

Study of John – chapter 18

 

John 18:19-24

 

Jesus Questioned by the High Priest 

19 The high priest then asked Jesus about His disciples and His doctrine.  

20 Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing.  21 Why do you ask Me? Ask those who have heard Me what I said to them. Indeed they know what I said.”  

22 And when He had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do You answer the high priest like that?”  

23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why do you strike Me?”  

24 Then Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

NKJV

 

Do You answer the high priest like that?”

 

What was the stimulus for this action?  Was it questioning the high priest?  Was there something in the tone of the voice that we are not privy to?  Whatever, Jesus did not back down but continued to answer with the confidence he had as Son of God.  I find no sign of disrespect here.

 

John 18:33-38

Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?”  

34 Jesus answered him, “Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?”  

35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?”  

36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”  

37 Pilate therefore said to Him, “Are You a king then?” 

Jesus answered, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”  

38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no fault in Him at all.

NKJV

 

My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

 

The others, Pilate, soldiers, etc., were speaking from the perspective of the natural world.  They could not understand (What is truth?) because he spoke about a spiritual world.  Nature that is not born again and filled with the Spirit cannot discern the things of the spirit.

 

John 18:38-40

 Pilate said, “What is truth?” 

Then he went back out to the Jews and told them, “I find nothing wrong in this man. 39 It’s your custom that I pardon one prisoner at Passover. Do you want me to pardon the ‘King of the Jews’?”  

40 They shouted back, “Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)

 

Not this one, but Barabbas!” Barabbas was a Jewish freedom fighter.

 

Barabbas operated in the natural realm.  His rebellion did not threaten the religious leaders.  Jesus operated in the spiritual realm.  He was perceived as a threat to their leadership in the spiritual realm.  Therefore they wanted Jesus removed, not Barabbas.