Thursday, March 17, 2011
A Glimpse Into Eternity
The people around Jesus were getting one amazing experience after another.
In today's story they are on vacation.
Matthew 17:1 "After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus."
The three friends got a glimpse into eternity.
9 "As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
We live in two worlds. The physical, present world, and the spiritual, unseen world. Most of us are only aware of, or present in, the physical world.
11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist."
These three friends got a glimpse into eternity.
And were never the same...
When Your World is Rocked
Some times we go along in life, when suddenly our world is rocked. Our little three year old girl dies suddenly. Our wife leaves a note saying she has taken the kids and they will not be back. Divorce papers coming. Or a visit to the doctor over some malady brings the prognosis - you have three months to live.
Some times we go along in life, when suddenly our world is rocked.
Today's story rocked the world of those around Jesus.
They are on vacation. Jesus makes an announcement.
And their world is rocked.
Matthew 16:21 "From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
Didn't you just prove that you were the Messiah?
Weren't those words ascribed to you? And you accepted them?
22 "Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”
Peter found his voice. The others were in stunned silence. What did he mean? This couldn't happen. No! No! No!
23 "Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
We weren't there. But I wonder how long the awkward silence was after that remark!
24 "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.
28 “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
The disciples were stunned. Confused. Their heads were spinning.
Kind of like us, when our world is rocked...
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Who Am I?
One of the most enduring questions down the ages is:
Who Am I?
Along with, Why am I here?, and What is the purpose of life?
It used to be common for young people to go to Europe, or India to "find themselves." (To which my attitude has always been - What, go to India to find yourself? Just look in the mirror! There you are!!!)
Jesus asked this same question, but with a very different slant. Who Am I?
13 "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
I think it is hard for us to understand what a huge statement this was. The Messiah. The Long Awaited One. The Savior. Christ.
Jesus understood the significance of that little statement:
17 "Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."
This is huge, Jesus is saying. So huge, in fact, that it was revealed to you by God the Father!!
Monday, March 14, 2011
Jesus often spoke in an abstruse, or abstract way.
Here is a simple problem. They are travelling, and someone forgot to be prepared, so they had no lunch.
5 "When they went across the lake, the disciples forgot to take bread. 6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”
Jesus didn't bawl them out for being unprepared.
Didn't even address the deprivation they would all feel when lunch time rolled around.
He made a comment that had them all scratching their heads...
6 “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.
7 They discussed this among themselves and said, “It is because we didn’t bring any bread.”
They didn't understand what he meant at all.
8 "Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked, “You of little faith, why are you talking among yourselves about having no bread? 9 Do you still not understand? Don’t you remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 10 Or the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many basketfuls you gathered? 11 How is it you don’t understand that I was not talking to you about bread?"
Jesus wasn't actually talking about bread at all.
"But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” 12 Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
Finally they got what he was talking about.
So what was the point in talking like this?
Was it to show his superior intelligence?
Was it to keep them on their toes?
Was it to show them that he was on a higher plane than them?
I suspect not...
It seems that Jesus took everyday moments as his teaching points. Making everyday moments into teachable moments.