With today’s sermon on John 19 we find the cast of characters are all in place for the greatest moment in man’s history to take place; the crucifixion of Jesus. It is interesting as the pre-crucifixion events unfold how each of the characters acted: Judas betrayed, the priests sought to kill, Satan tried to thwart, the disciples argued, and Peter denied. However, Jesus did not waiver.
Today, I think we are pretty ho-hum about this event. This should not be so, for this was the moment in time when heaven and creation collectively gasped at the magnitude of the event. Together they watched the Son of Man prepare to drink the cup of God’s wrath; Jesus became our propitiation; a sacrifice that turns away God’s wrath.
If we have become ho-hum about the crucifixion, is it because we have become concerned about our own self-interest? If this is true, then answer me this: If it played out so badly for those involved in the crucifixion, how does it play out in our lives? The obvious answer is: it hurts our relationship with God.
Dare to take in the magnitude of this event,
Thanksgiving is one of our nicest holidays. It has not gotten out of hand with commercialism. It still remains a time for family, a time for reflection, and a time to thank God for his blessings.
As we approach this great holiday I thought of something Dr. Martin Luther King once said, “Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” These are great thoughts for us to reflect on during this time of the year.
When you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take a moment to remember Dr. King’s words, and then pray for the church. Remember our progress as a church is not inevitable and therefore, we need to continuously stand watch over it. Not resting on our story, but letting God write his story in us.
We are told to be tolerant. Suppose I went to the best restaurant in town and later you asked me, “How was the restaurant?” What would you think if I said, “It was tolerable?” We are taught not to be prejudiced. However, if we weren’t prejudiced we would all be driving 62 Ramblers; I had one and it’s not a great car. Because we are prejudiced we choose what is best: The way to work, schools, clothes, food, programs, etc.
There is a bumper sticker that uses religious symbols to spell out the word “COEXIST.” It means all religions lead to God so don’t be prejudiced, and tolerate other views. However, if two religions hold opposing points of views then both can’t be right. For example, Hindus believe in many Gods and Christianity believes in only one God. Both beliefs cannot be right; one has to be wrong.
Jesus said, “I’m the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). There is no way to coalesce his statement with other religions. When it comes to your eternity, you had better not be tolerant, and you had better be prejudiced.
In the news is a story about a lady in Oregon who, because of a terminal illness, ended her life. She said, “I want to end my life on my terms.” Some argue, “We put down our pets when they get in such a condition, so why not let people do it,” or “Why prolong her agony?” My response is, “If people were just animals OK, but we are intrinsically different then animals. We are God’s crowning achievement in creation and endowed with gifts that separate us from animals.”
A painter friend of mine walked off the end of a scaffold and broke his legs. The doctors told him he would never walk without crutches and his painting days were over. To make matters worse, while in recovery, his wife and foreman ran off together with his equipment and started a new business. Life seemed to be over for him.
My friend chose not to live life on his terms, but God’s. He began to witness Jesus Christ to those around him as he convalesced, and while in the hospital he led 27 people to Christ. Today he is fully recovered and runs a food bank for the homeless.
Its God’s time, not ours,