Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What About Jesus?

27You have heard that it was said, You shall not commit adultery.(F)

28But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

29If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell (Gehenna).

30And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your entire body should be cast into hell (Gehenna).

Ya think the Lord felt pretty strongly about "evil desire"? Consider the culture He was born into...Roman hedonism surrounded, infiltrated and lured. This was not new in history. Maybe He was trying to tell them that, as blatant as the Romans and others were in their sin, it all began in the heart. His ways of the heart are higher than our ways eventhough they may be simpler and more innocent. How could they (and we) shine as the light of the world unless they demonstrated the ability He gave them to remain set apart?

Monday, January 17, 2011

What about Jesus?

Matthew 5:21-25 (Amplified Bible)
21You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be [a]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court.(A)

22But I say to you that everyone who continues to be [b]angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be [c]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be [d]liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You [e]cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be [f]liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.

23So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you,

24Leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift.

25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way traveling with him, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison.

So...Jesus has already said that He came to fulfill the law. There is controversy about whether the word He uses here is "kill" as in the military sense or "murder" as in the personal or individual sense or motivation. When we continue on with what Jesus says after stating the commandment, I think it becomes pretty clear that He's not even addressing physical death, but drawing a comparison that more people are all too familiar with. Some of us may know someone who has murdered or been murdered; but I would guess that the majority of us Americans don't personally know a whole lot. And why would He mention punishment imposed by a court if the word was "kill" in the military sense? The fact is that it's a soldier's job to kill. The content of His teaching relates to something else altogether. Does anyone else realize the importance Jesus is placing on the verbal treatment of others; and is anyone up for a little friendly discussion?

Here's something to think's been said that it takes 5 positive comments to a person to wipe out the harmful effects of 1 negative one.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What about Jesus?

17"Do not think that I came to abolish the (V)Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.

18"For truly I say to you, (W)until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

19"Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least (X)in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20"For I say to you that unless your (Y)righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Does this concern anyone? Please weigh in on your understanding of it or any questions it raises.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What About Jesus?

Last week, there was yet another violent attack here in the "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave". It makes even someone with the spiritual gift of faith just want to pack it all in, head for the hills, or at least the relative safety of home, and hunker down. That wouldn't be freedom, nor would it be courage.

Skipping ahead to something outside today's wisdom from Jesus, He said that He came to give us life - abundant life. His comparison of us here in Matthew 5 to salt, concerns a couple of things. Salt is a preservative and a flavor enhancer. For my majority carnivorous friends, try to imagine life without any fresh meat. I can only guess that even the most Spartan vegetarian likes a little extra flavor on their celery. If you are not a follower of Jesus and His teachings, I'd like to challenge you to imagine your world without anyone you know who honestly tries to. Would it possibly be rotten, tasteless, depressing, boring? Maybe you don't know anyone all that intimately; but could it maybe add some abundance to your life to spend some time getting to know them better?

This latest violent tragedy and the blabbering, blaming and bull surrounding it gives me a visual of a bunch of people stuck in a room with no light, trying to find the way out. At the same time, I can picture several beacons - flashing neons, an "exit" sign, a candle flame - and the doors each one illuminates; but which one really leads to freedom and fearlessness? With the last few years' terrors, some personal, some global, have you tried the same door or doors to get out of the dark? Have you avoided the "seasoning" offered by some Jesus follower for the staleness or sadness in your life?

Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What About Jesus?

First, I want you to share my excitement! I met a Facebook friend for the first time in actual "face" time today. What a pleasure she is! She stood out from the FB "crowd"...actually, her husband did first; and then I connected with her. We've had some interesting discussions online. Since her hubz works in another state and only comes home about once a month, I didn't get to meet him yet. Hopefully, Michael and I will both get to do so in the near future.

Sub question:

Have you ever said, "I am blessed!"?

Matthew 5
1SEEING THE crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He was seated, His disciples came to Him.
2Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3Blessed (happy, blithesome, joyous, with a [d]happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace;[a]to be envied, and [b]spiritually prosperous--[c]with life-joy and in the state in which the born-again child of God enjoys and finds satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted

5Blessed are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth!

6Blessed and fortunate and happy and [g]spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God [h]enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be [i]completely satisfied!

7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy!

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God!(D)

9Blessed are the makers and [s]maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

10Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake (for being and doing right), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven!

11Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account.

12Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you. [II Chron. 36:16.]

The Beatitudes are usually taught from the perspective of "How-to" be happy. Notice that there were crowds, then Jesus "went up on a mountain". Then, "his disciples came to him" this talk was not to the crowds. What do you typically see in a large crowd? People trying to remain anonymous, being irritable or downright nasty, pushing, shoving, trying to have their own way? Not always; but I wonder if Jesus was trying to help his disciples learn to identify His children? There's a saying..."people need loving the most when they deserve it the least." Then, He even switches from using the pronouns "they" and "theirs" to "you". Just a bit of different slant. Have the Beatitudes been life-changing for anyone?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Jesus Calls His First Disciples
18 As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 19 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 20 At once they left their nets and followed him.
21 Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, 22 and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Jesus Heals the Sick
23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis,[g] Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Was Jesus so irresistable that James and John were already under His control, or did they have a choice in following Him? Keep in mind, we know that not everyone followed Him. What about those we know who are not following Him today? What about you?

One commentary says that "surely" the people "did not bring all who were ill, etc. in Syria". Anyone care to give us some Greek or Aramaic translation and/or comments?