My Thoughts. . .

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Funerals present opportunities to pick and choose statements about the deceased which illuminate the good side of the departed.  In reality, all of us possess the dark side.  Paul wrote, “There is none righteous, no, not one” and “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23).  If you wish to argue, John’s rebuttal to your folly is, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).   You will notice that both Paul and John included themselves in those statements.

There is only one person, from the Garden of Eden to all future tomorrows, that had and has no sin.  His name is Jesus (1 Peter 2:22).  He was willing to leave a realm beyond our understanding to enter one that offered little more than a garbage dump.  He came to give hope where emptiness was preached as a substitute.  He entered a realm where righteousness was sold as an earned commodity.  He came, offering a better tomorrow, but his gift was rejected as fool’s gold.  He offered eternal nourishment to crowds that could see no further than sitting at the next dinner table (John 6:66-67).  One day the multitude honored him with, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” and more loudly the next with, “Crucify him, crucify him” (Matthew 21:9; Luke 23:21).  Jesus’ definition of “Savior” was not their standard.  Their qualifications for a Messiah were different from his.

For Jerusalem’s elite, Jesus was never good enough.  His goals were never right.  His teachings were wasted words.  His religious thoughts, blasphemy.  His rhetoric originated from hell.   His miraculous deeds were attributed to Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15)!  He was without culture.  His illustrations were offensive.  His positions were embarrassing, even to his disciples (Matthew 13:57; 15:12).  His family wanted to get him off the public platform (Mark 3:21 NKJV, NIV).  The priests and their friends misrepresented Jesus and attempted to turn anything he said into a lie.

Jesus’ attitude toward certain women in society was shocking and caused his qualifications as a prophet to be questioned (Luke 7:36-39).  His teaching was offensive to society’s ministerial alliance.  With such a reputation, how could his miracles come from Yahweh?   No self-respecting, God fearing individual could accept Jesus as nothing more than a blasphemer.  Why?  Look at his public record:

  • He touched the untouchable (Matthew 8:1-4).
  • He spoke to a woman who had been married five times and was now sleeping with the sixth man who she was not married to (John 4:17-18).
  • He defended the breaking of religious tradition (Mark 2:23-28).
  • He knew the Law’s punishment but refused to condemn a woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:1-11).
  • He ignored the gossip that could arise because widowed, married, and single women following him and the apostles on their traveling itinerary (Matthew 27:55; Mark 15:41; Luke 8:1-3; 23:49).
  • He associated with the scum of society, even eating with them (Matthew 9:9-11).
  • He took a slave’s job and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:4-5).
  • Pilate attempted to free Jesus, but he refused that assistance and chose the reward of a law breaker.  He hung completely stripped on a Roman cross, subjected to public viewing by his accusers, friends, family, and the curious.

Jesus got his hands dirty and put his reputation on the line.  He commanded, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).  Do we?