Friday, November 5, 2010
Jesus said, bring the little children to me, because the kingdom of God is made up of such as these.
Today he said to the religious leaders - Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?
So, he is drawn to simple faith. Uncluttered desire to please God.
And he is pretty hacked off at people who create barriers to God. Who make legalistic hoops to jump through, making it difficult and discouraging to begin and maintain a relationship of love with the creator.
Matthew 23:1 "Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses.[a] 3 So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4 They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden.
5 “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.[b] 6 And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. 7 They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’[c]
8 “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.[d] 9 And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. 10 And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you must be a servant. 12 But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted."
He is not finished. But it is long. And not pretty!
13 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either.[e]
15 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell[f] you yourselves are!
16 “Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear ‘by God’s Temple,’ but that it is binding to swear ‘by the gold in the Temple.’ 17 Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 And you say that to swear ‘by the altar’ is not binding, but to swear ‘by the gifts on the altar’ is binding. 19 How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 When you swear ‘by the altar,’ you are swearing by it and by everything on it. 21 And when you swear ‘by the Temple,’ you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it. 22 And when you swear ‘by heaven,’ you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.
23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens,[g] but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel![h]
25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! 26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish,[i] and then the outside will become clean, too.
27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. 28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. 30 Then you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.’
31 “But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. 33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?
34 “Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city. 35 As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation."
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Jesus was poor.
He needed a ride.
So he borrowed one.
It looked like theft to those standing around.
So they appropriately stepped in, and objected.
Mark 11:1 "As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead. 2 “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks, ‘What are you doing?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it and will return it soon.’”
4 The two disciples left and found the colt standing in the street, tied outside the front door. 5 As they were untying it, some bystanders demanded, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They said what Jesus had told them to say, and they were permitted to take it. 7 Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it, and he sat on it."
I am learning there are lots of creative ways to accomplish what you want to do when money is tight.
Jesus was not afraid to borrow transportation.
I don't think insurance was an issue.
And the owner granted permission.
But I am impressed that the guys near the ride didn't let it just be stolen.
That in itself is a good lesson for today.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
In Jesus day kids were abundant. And not considered as important as adults. So Jesus surprised his disciples, and the culture...
Luke 18:15 "One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him.
16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Here is a recent story from my older daughter.
"On the way to the conference in the car our discussion turned to money and how everyone wants it. Bobby said to our 7 year old son, “But money doesn’t make us happy does it?” From the back comes a, “Noooo.” So Bobby asked, “What does bring true happiness then?” And our son said "God and Jesus and candyyyyyy.” That made us laugh!
Monday, November 1, 2010
Blind Ben and his buddy Bill were sitting by the road begging.
No seeing eye dogs back then. No employment for the disabled. Their life was reduced to begging for food, and depending on their family to get them to and from their begging spot for the day.
They had heard about Jesus. It seemed too good to be true that he was healing people. He healed people of every kind of disease.
One day he happened to pass right by where they were sitting.
But there was a huge crowd! How to get His attention?
29 "As Jesus and the disciples left the town of Jericho, a large crowd followed behind. 30 Two blind men were sitting beside the road. When they heard that Jesus was coming that way, they began shouting, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
They were a distraction. An embarrasement!
31 “Be quiet!” the crowd yelled at them."
Now Jesus must be near. They could hear the size of the crowd. The excited chatter of people. This was their only chance. Their chance of a lifetime!
"But they only shouted louder, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!”
No one was going to shut them up. They were yelling their heads off!
Suddenly the crowd stopped. There was a hush. They could tell that Jesus was coming over to where they were.
32 "When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”
33 “Lord,” they said, “we want to see!” 34 Jesus felt sorry for them and touched their eyes. Instantly they could see! Then they followed him."
Can you imagine the glee?
Can you imagine the devotion?
Two new disciples. Unstoppable. Unembarrased. Unashamed.
I was blind, but now I see!!!