Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Fickle Lover

In a recent magazine article, author/theologian N.T. Wright was asked about the popularity of the Gospel of Judas, which has given rise to an interest in Gnosticism. His response:

"The Gnostic conspiracy theory says that orthodoxy hushed up the really exciting thing and promoted this boring sterile thing with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And of course there's a great lie underneath that. In the second and third centuries, the people being thrown to the lions and burned at the stake and sawed in two were not the ones reading Thomas and Judas and the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary. They were the ones reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Because the empire is perfectly happy with Gnosticism. Gnosticism poses no threat to the empire. Whereas Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John do. It's the church's shame that in the last 200 years, the church has muzzled Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and turned them into instruments of a controlling, sterile orthodoxy. But the texts themselves are explosive."

Lord, help me to be satisfied in your explosive, unchanging, foundational - and rock-solid truth. Guard my heart - and seal it. Seal it to thy truth above!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pointing to Jesus

Reading the Old Testament for any length of time leaves one with the impression that "something has to give". With all the requirements, orders, procedures and laws placed upon the old testament people, how could they possibly fulfill them? And, if they could not, who would complete that which a Holy God had decreed?

In fact the whole of the testament makes way for and demands the entrance of a "redeemer". There needed to be One who could perfectly fulfill the Law - and do that which God had commanded. And, there needed to be One who could appease the wrath which had been stored by the forebearance of God through sins previously committed.

That "redeemer" came in the person of Jesus. All of Scripture proclaims and points to Him.

Without our Redeemer Jesus, we would still be dead and enslaved.

Thank you Lord, for setting your people free!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Loveliness of Self-Forgetfulness

"When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, 'This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.' Jesus replied, 'They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.'"

This is one of the most beautiful displays of mercy and self-forgetfulness in our King found in the Bible. Jesus having just been given the news of John's beheading, retreats to a solitary place, only to find a mob of needy people waiting for Him there. What does He do? He shows them compassion.

For me - who sometimes drowns in self-absorption - the picture of Jesus, forgetting about His need to mourn the death of a beloved friend, and instead, reaching out to a needy people is so unworldly.

Jesus had plenty of "reserves" to draw on. He was acting out of the power and through the love of His Father. He knew His mission - and He knew it would soon be over. There was an urgency about everything He did.

Lord, please give us the heart and eyes of Jesus. To see those in need and to forget about ourselves. You have equipped us and given us what we need - we have more than enough "reserves" to draw on, in You. Thank you.