Archive for October 18, 2011
Children often wear their self-centeredness on their sleeve.
When the family is making the long drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, for
example, a seven-year-old might say: “I’m bored. I don’t want to go to Grandma
and Grandpa’s house anyway. There’s nothing to do there. I wish we weren’t even
going.” Many a parent
would respond with something like: “It’s not about you. We’re going because it
makes Grandma and Grandpa happy. So stop complaining. This is not about you.”
When Jesus and his disciples shared in the Passover meal together, they
remembered how God had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. The
various foods and cups of wine each had special meaning, pointing to different
aspects of the exodus experience. So you can imagine how startled the disciples
must have been when Jesus did something unexpected and confusing. He took some
of the bread from the meal and said, “This is my body, which is given for you.
Do this to remember me.”
Then, a little later, he did a similar thing with one of the cups of wine.
How unsettling! How apparently self-centered! I’m actually surprised that
Peter didn’t speak up at that point and say, “Master, it’s not about you. This
is about how God saved his people. We do this to remember him and our experience
of his mercy. It’s not about you.”
But, in this case, Peter would have once again missed the point. Yes, the
Passover did point back to God’s deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt. But
it also pointed ahead to the greater deliverance yet to come. The Passover did
indeed point to Jesus. Through him, God was about to save, not only the children
of Israel, but, indeed, the whole world. This time, the blood that saves would
not be that of actual lambs, but rather of the Lamb of God who takes away the
sin of the world.
Because the Passover is about Jesus and his sacrifice, it is also about you.
When you put your trust in Jesus as your Savior, when you accept his sacrifice
for your sin, then you participate in the meaning of the Passover. You are
welcomed into the family of God through the broken body and shed blood of
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do you understand the
meaning of Jesus’ death? In what ways does his death for you make a difference
in your daily life?
Thank you for giving your body to be broken for me. May I always remember
this amazing gift.
Thank you for offering your shed blood, so that I might enter into a new kind
of relationship with God.
All praise be to you, Lord Jesus, because the
Passover really is about you. Amen.
Faith Despite Feeling or Sight
A fanatic is somebody seeking desirable ends but ignoring constituted means. Seeking to get out of the religious rut is a desirable end. It is right and it is in the will of God. But trying to do it in a manner that is not according to God”s constituted means is all wrong and gets us nowhere. When they want to get blessed, some people try getting worked up psychologically. There are some who, while they have not studied psychology, are master psychologists. They know how to manipulate audiences, knowing when to lower their voices and when to raise them, when to make them sound very sad and all the rest. They know how to get people all worked up. . . . Some people try group dynamics. We all sit around together and practice togetherness, and by practicing togetherness we finally work up some spirituality. What is needed is some old-fashioned, salty horse sense. I am sure there are 189 mules in the state of Missouri that have more sense than a lot or preachers who are trying to teach people how to get the blessing of God in some way other than by the constituted means. When you get people all broken up, dabbing at their eyes and shaking, what is the result? It does not bring them any closer to God. It does not make them love God any better, in accordance with the first commandment. Nor does it give any greater love for neighbors, which is the second commandment. It does not prepare them to live fruitfully on earth. It does not prepare them to die victoriously, and it does not guarantee that they will be with the Lord at last.