Saturday, December 31, 2011

Saturday, a New Year's Eve

In thinking of another year...what's it hold?
All in all He is enough.
Thankful 2011 finishes and our family is healthy.
Hope in Jesus' finished work is a continual state.

In-Dwelling by Holy Spirit -- a real time streaming--
a continual lesson in peace and contentment,
The power of heaven's love is a goodness beyond all man's wisdoms.

Have I had an obstacle in my soul?
It's a burden cast on Him

Embrace spirit...there is no better hug!

Eyes upward into the grace of the Father,
by an act of will, I choose His righteous leading,
He holds my family and me,
Come 2012, Come Lord Jesus!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Witnesses, Part Three

I imagine some will think I over simplified in the last post that three types of people and their reactions to Jesus are the whole of what's wrong with the world. 
     "What about murder and sexual immorality?" asks the mom without taking her eyes off twin daughters catching and eating or chasing the missed flying candy from a Christmas parade float.

     "What about the loss of our national heritage as a Christian nation?!" the Tea Partier demands.

     "What about greed and injustice?" queries the lawyer from the local Legal Aid Society.

If the John 12 refection is viewed in comparison with the following verse:

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.  1 John 2:16 NAS
...and the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is factored into this study, a masterful unity of thought is clear. (See Matthew, chapter 4)

The Lust of the Flesh
At the height of a forty-days-fasting hunger, Satan tempts Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus refuses to do so stating life is not in bread alone but in the words, the meaning, found in God. In so doing He ruled over the desires of the body in favor of obedience demonstrating authority over the lust of the flesh. Thus Jesus both models and explains the ability to make meaningful decisions in line with life in God in contrast with succumbing to innate physiological drives of the human body we fallen humans like to justify as our basic needs. Seeking gratification of the body as the point of life through the varied sensual measures of the palate, a sated stomach or fulfilled loins are the "lusts of the flesh".

The crowds or masses in John 12 represent the wild swings of opinion that ride on this lust. When one lives for body gratification as the meaning of life, highs bounce up with expectation, lows deepen with deprivation and manipulative behaviors of appearing interested in what is expected while secret motivations protect one's love of the dark abound.

The Lust of the Eyes (do not confuse as what lust of the flesh wants to view)
Next Satan invites Jesus to prove His value in the eyes of God. Satan tells Jesus to throw Himself from the top of the temple that God would then send angels to protect Him. Jesus refuses and states that would be a test of God. Religious Christian behavior  attempts to raise the value of the adherent through self-righteous works. If the adherent has achieved the level of holiness demanded by men, it is falsely believed the individual can expect God to save or protect. People surrendering to this sin also expect to be honored for their piety. This is a "lust" of the eyes, since it means that the person so inclined "sees" him or herself as valuable for their religious practice. The heart of such a person is idolizing the self.

Clearly the Pharisees of John 12 are afflicted by this area of sin.

The Pride of Life
 Last, Satan asks Jesus to receive payment of the wealth, beauty, and power of the "kingdoms" on earth by holding out to Him the "glory" of these. Kingdom is a political term that refers to the way in which organization of political power can maximize the productive power of the people within the kingdom. The modern state or nation is a "kingdom" whether it is an absolutist-leaning government such as Saudi Arabia, a constitutional monarchy such as the United Kingdom, or a democratic republic such as our own US. 

The Greeks in John 12, who are today regarded as the primary root of Western Civilization,  represent the Pride of Life sin. From the Greeks, Western Civilization derives its respect and love of analytical thought, the arts, and the power of organization of an involved constituency. The Greeks produced direct democracy as the means of political power and organization of society; they gave voice to ideas of scientific observation and philosophic expression of wisdom, and crowned it with a symmetrical and expressive art in architecture, sculpture and theater. In our modern corporate world, this power of organization is tied to profit. Greed and glory of achievement are the fruit of this sin.

All that is wrong with world, indeed, is in the story where Jesus starts His walk of passion to the Cross.

He did it for all of humanity.

Think about this: In the story He made no attempt to "minister to" or evangelize any of the groups represented.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Part Two of Witnesses

In the previous blog, I looked at various responses of types of people to Jesus found in John 12.  As just some guy thinking about what it says, I find this moment in the life of Jesus hugely significant, a bit like finding $1,000.00 missing from the checking account. This has to be figured out!

This is the prelude to John's view and insights into the Crucifixion, after all. It's not a stretch of basic logic to infer the following: if my faith is ultimately an acknowledgement that the One who dashed off a few billion galaxies across a mind-bendingly expansive universe authored this through John; and if He thought so much of this moment in the life of Jesus as to invade the temporal and voice Himself aloud to these folks—and to you and me by extension—then there must be profound revelation laid bare within these verses.  Not that any other scripture is less profound given Who is the writer, mind you, but if we open our heart's eyes just a bit more than usual…

Jesus is about to proceed through the great Passion of God, the redemption of His fallen creation through an act of supreme love and grace. The Father will have to heap all the sin of the world upon the shoulders of His Son, then turn and punish this holy and wholly awesome man for everyone else's multiple and often vile wrong-doing.

All the sinners of the world are watching in the story and all turn away from Him rather than accept Him. I don't mean "all" by inferring all who are watching by reading the scriptures across time. Right there in the story, every sinner and every root of sin are displayed in the characters who are present.

The events begin as Jesus enters Jerusalem and the "crowds" rush to watch. They get a little emotional and heap upon Him praise hosanna's and palm fronds. Next, the Pharisees grumble their complaints having rejected Jesus from the first; the Greeks come poking in to ask Jesus a couple of things, as they ponder if He, in fact, holds any truth needing consideration; and the crowds come round again in the end with the truth revealed--they are not nearly so full of praise once it's realized Jesus is not giving out what they want.

There you have it: What's wrong with the world described in a handful of short verses.

Think about it.