Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28: Mark 10:6; Is Jesus a Liar?

            Jesus made some troubling statements for anyone who doesn’t believe the Old Testament is reliable or accurate. In Mark 10:26, Jesus was answering the Pharisees who were trying to trap him into saying something they could hold against him. So they asked about divorce. Jesus answered, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’” In these brief words, Jesus affirmed that there is no such thing as a long creation in which he made the world and then waited millions of years until he decided it was time to create man and woman. Instead, he says they were made at the beginning. Various translations even state it was at the creation. If you don’t agree with Genesis 1 that specifies six literal days of creation, then you don’t agree with Jesus.
            Then there is the matter of the flood. Did it really happen? Many people try to get around it, but Jesus affirmed that the flood came and killed everyone except Noah and those in the ark with him. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matt 24:38-39). If you don’t believe the flood account, then you are disagreeing with Jesus and not only that, but you must also deny that Jesus is coming back at a time when people will be ignoring him and doing their own thing. If you believe in evolution and deny the flood, then you will be like those caught in the flood because you must then deny Jesus as well.
            Do you think it is preposterous that a huge fish could swallow a person, keep him alive for three days and spit him back up on the beach? If you do, then you must believe that Jesus lied about that too. He not only affirmed that it happened, but he used that truth to tell his doubters that he would die and be resurrected in three days. Jesus’ point in this not only verified the reliability of the Old Testament, but he let everyone know that ignoring him and his death, burial, and resurrection will bring condemnation.
            The choice is clear. Believe everything Jesus said or call him a liar. If you decide on the latter, then you can expect eternal condemnation. If you believe Jesus, then you have this assurance from him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5:24).
            If you don’t believe Jesus about the past, what makes you think you can believe Jesus about your future?

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26: Leviticus 19:33-34; Biblical Immigration Policy

            God gave ancient Israel an immigration policy even before they had acquired the Promised Land. They were in the desert and the Lord listed a bunch of rules and regulation that they should live by. Among these laws was one in which he was very clear about how to deal with people who wanted to live among them:

"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God” (Lev 19:33-34)

            The question for us is whether or not we want to obey God’s Law or only parts of it. If only part of it, then which parts. Christians argue that we don’t have to obey them all because Jesus came to do that, yet he didn’t say he came to abolish them either (Matt 5:17). We argue that Jesus’ next statement that the Law would not pass until all is accomplished happened on the cross when he died for our sins (Matt 5:18). That is true, but Paul told us to bear with one another’s burdens so that we would fulfill the law of Christ (Gal 6:2). Jesus explained in his Sermon on the Mount that he expected us not to simply obey the outward requirements of the Law but to obey them in our hearts.
            From this, and other things clearly stated in the Bible such as Mark 7:19 when he declared all food acceptable for us to eat, it is clear that many of the regulations of the Old Testament are no longer applicable. However, we must still look at these statutes and determine if they are still applicable.
            What is the principle behind Leviticus 19:33-34? What would Jesus say about this regulation? He didn’t address it specifically, but he did say love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39). When a lawyer tried to trick Jesus, he agreed that loving your neighbor was part of the key to having eternal life, but the lawyer did just like many anti-immigration Americans are doing today. He wanted to exclude people whom he didn’t like from being his neighbors. But Jesus pointed him to the north where the Jews believed the scum of the earth lived, Samaria (John 4:9). He showed the man that these were his neighbors (Luke 10:29-37). I believe Jesus upheld the principle and spirit of Leviticus 19:33-34 completely. Therefore, the biblical mandate regarding immigration Christians should fight for is:
·         Do them no wrong
·         Treat them the same way we treat citizens
·         Love them just like we love ourselves

            Quite frankly this is not what many of our leaders want to do and they are doing them wrong. They are not treating immigrants as we treat our citizens and we certainly aren’t showing them love. Christians, we need to repent and obey the Law of Christ.

Friday, February 23, 2018

February 23: Matthew 6:30-56; Too Busy to Eat

            As I read about Jesus feeding the five thousand, walking on water, and healing many at Gennesaret, I was impressed that Jesus and the disciples “had no leisure even to eat (Mark 6:31). Even after feeding the five thousand, the disciples climbed back into the boat and left. Jesus was praying (Mark 6:46). In the meantime, the disciples were not sailing but rowing against the wind (Mark 6:48). None of them hadn’t had time for leisure. When the got to Gennesaret, they were recognized and again brought people to them for healing (Mark 6:53). Wherever they went, the same thing happened (Mark 6:54).
            How did they keep going under these circumstances? Jesus recognized their need to get away for a while and rest (Mark 6:30), but their attempts to find that rest only brought them in contact with crowds of needy people. When they fed the five thousand, they were busy carrying loaves and fish to the people. They most likely had time to eat but it wasn’t in leisure and then it was followed by an all-night rowing marathon.
            Jesus didn’t have it any better. He was praying. While most of us would fall asleep trying to pray at night after an exhausting day, Jesus was wide awake and even cognizant of the predicament of his disciples. Jesus didn’t get any rest that night either.
             They were working in God’s power and I’m convinced it was only by his power that they were able to do his. I’m sure Jesus was aware of it but the disciple were most likely oblivious to it. Our problem with being too busy is seldom because of ministry. We may convince ourselves that it is but unless we prioritize our lives around God’s desires for us, we will most likely be too busy because of other things.
            If you find yourself too busy to eat a leisurely meal with your family, it’s time to pray and examine what you are doing with your time. It isn’t time to get back in the boat and start rowing against the wind hoping Jesus will come walking on the water and rescue you. It’s time to go up on the mountain and talk to Jesus about what you are doing and what he want you to do.