Nothing of Importance Happened Today

Walking on a roadA day in our lives that we say that nothing happened is really a matter of perspective.  “Nothing of importance happened today” was written in the journal of King George III on July 4th, 1776.   Any American reader of that quote would say that this was the day America declared its independence from England and that king was missing a vital perspective.

Every big enterprise will be built on dramatic event days but also those days when they were just on the way. So too did the new disciples of Jesus that first week that he stopped being an plain carpenter.  Walking with him on the road to a wedding, there were various thoughts they must have had from their respective experiences.  One can imagine what they thought their first encounters with Jesus might mean.

Day One some were prepared by the prophetic for the Lamb—prophetic in the sense of a sampler of the fulness to truth to come.  It is a preparation for truth and putting down the sins that would blind our eyes. On that day it was also pointed out that precious paradigms and even personal places of power were about to be shifted.  Some heard this and stayed for more.

Day Two some saw Jesus “fulfill all righteousness” as they “Beheld the Lamb” being baptized- – Sacramental experience of Jesus by Jesus.  God works to show us his ways through the material.  It is to be heavenly minded while in the context of the earthly goods.

Day Three- – Some saw Jesus as someone to dwell with and therefore fellowshipped with the Lamb- Holy Friendship. One only knows more if they come and see.

Day Four- Some saw Jesus as one who calls one to a personal mission of service to Jesus and his kingdom.- Ongoing obedience.

Day Five- Jesus invited the openness of hard inquiry  or to examine the Lamb- – Contemplation.  Ongoing engagement of reason is not an enemy of faith.  “The Truth, which is Christ, imposes itself as an all-embracing authority which holds out to theology and philosophy alike the prospect of support, stimulation and increase (Fides Et Ratio, para.92).

Day 6-  One may be quick to look at these ways to experience Christ as their favorite or objectively the best.  I would suggest that the initial and ongoing follower of Jesus Christ needs them all; all of the above are treasured in the heart and are part of something akin to a flashpoint of conversion.

Day 7-   The conversion of the heart.  One now believes in Jesus with willingness to obey.  You are a friend of Jesus and a witness of the wedding that is far above the one that is studies in the verses below.

What we can deduce this day is that the followers of Jesus were on the road to a wedding.  Taking a step back in a read of the whole Bible, so are all who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ.  We are all on the road to a wedding, at the wedding below or some of both.  In fact, at the end of time, the reality in fulness is in the wedding supper of the Lamb “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7).

In the meantime, not all of the disciples going with Jesus have the same experiences.  Peter joined on day four for example.  A question could be asked on which of those experiences can prepare his disciples the best for the first miracle of the ministry.  I propose that it is  a matter of time that they learned all of these approaches are valid. They are all crucial before either an individual or group faith can have a fulness of response to Jesus.  And at least some have to be developed to approach Jesus with the fulness of “prayer and petition” (Philippians 4:6) so that the consciousness of the person and nature of Jesus is rightly formed.

On the way to any upcoming consolation of the Lord, the embracing of the meaning of such an encounter with Jesus is indeed of great importance.  There would be one person in this upcoming wedding that is undergirded by the characteristics outlined above.  But this person would not be a fisherman or a scholar or hermit.  Instead there is an example for us by a lovely middle aged woman, likely a carpenter’s widow, from Nazareth. And her formation was a process.

The Day 1 of Mary- – Her fiat (Luke 1:46-55), like what John the Baptist spoke of, included how God was going to bring in a new paradigm that would bring the lowly up and bring the self-exalted low.

The Day 2 of Mary- – Mary and Joseph honored the Lord in how the child who opened her womb was born.  Thus there was a sacrifice of turtledoves which like the baptism of Jesus was a means to “fulfill all righteousness” in the sense of connecting to the covenantal nature of God’s favor as revealed up to that time(Luke 1:22-24).  But yet we know that the grace of God was at work before that or any other works on Mary because grace is in God’s initiative and that action was reflected in Mary’s first encounter with the kingdom of heaven when approached by Gabriel the archangel.  He said “Hail, Full of Grace” (Luke 1:28). This is best translated as a royal greeting with “hail” and that she had been perfected in a past action up to that point by grace.

The Day 3 of Mary- – She dwelled with Jesus.  But Jesus first dwelled in her.  Christianity is not meant to be based on externals first with a subsequent external motivation.  God is indwelling when we give permission.

The Day 4 of Mary- – “May it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).  A mission was given to her and she said yes.  That was the power in her life and everything else followed from that.  Saying yes for the mission was a cooperation with the Holy Spirit in which Christ is formed in her.  That is how the person of Jesus was expressed in Mary and in principle for us.

The Day 5 of Mary- – She loved God with her mind and engaged that way in asking how she could get pregnant when “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man(Luke 1:34)?”  One teaching is that she was determined to not know a man because of a perpetual consecration of virginity.  But her engagement of reason was still informed by faith as she “pondered [contemplated] these things in her heart”. (Luke 2:19,51). Her use of critical thinking and humility are good for an example of fully integrated faith and reason.

Jesus and his disciples are on their way to a wedding in Cana.  They were about to see the first miracle of Jesus through the intercession and collaboration of the disciple with the most extravagant love for him who was also his mother with 30 years of a relationship with him.  Every day that we are open to such principles in relationship to Jesus Christ is is a day we can say something “of importance happened today”.  You never know what may happen next. But you will know that Jesus is king.

Guadalupe

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House of Doubt:Formula Detox

Empty Promises

A universal challenge to the existence of God is on the problem of evil or dysfunction in the world.  Either God does not exist or if he does exist then he is certainly powerful but not willing to exert power to show he exists and cares.

A micro version of this is in this encounter between the Cynic of Cynics, Satan, and Jesus who according to historical Christianity is God “made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:‘He will command his angels concerning you’ and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test”(Matthew 4:5-7).

There is an objective truth for all persons that do not intrinsically have divinity: There is a God and we are not him.

But the challenge that brings out this response is that if Jesus represents God as his king on earth (I find it unlikely that Satan knew of Jesus’ divinity) then he should perform in such a way because God would have to perform thus by default.  Satan was operating in his temptation with a “should formula”.  In that “should” would be a premise on the rights of the human person who walks with God to be exalted in a way that is commanding and not surrender.

made him stand on the parapet of the temple— What happens here is a lifting up of Jesus that is other than the cross.  Jesus said that he would indeed be lifted up and draw all men to himself but this was in the cross.  This is not fun or tantalizing but in the sacrificial love of Jesus and how we are instructed by the gospel it is essential.  It should also be noted that the days of this same temple are numbered because The Temple, Jesus would die and rise as the ultimate center of holy awe.

He will command his angels concerning you— This is pointing to a kingdom that is centered on the self.  This reminds me of many errors out there on the fringes of Christendom like the Prosperity Gospel.  The premise is that the heavens center on what is good for our flesh.  Though Satan uses true scripture he was of course deceitful in how he uses this.  Satan is trying sell a guarantee off of a formula that supposedly makes God man’s servant.

You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test— The point here is that God and his holiness, while an objective truth, can be personally known in an internalized way.

Like I said, Satan did not have a full understanding that Jesus is Lord and could be known universally throughout the world but at some level must have known about the cross and was maybe afraid of its power.

But if you are reading this and are an inquirer of the Christian faith I can tell you that you do not have to be afraid.  If Jesus literally will help you out of your own concrete and bad circumstances I cannot say.  But what I can say is that if your turn to Jesus and embrace the message of the cross you will find life because you will find Him.  But along the way you too may be tempted to reduce God to a formula.  Say yes to Jesus instead.  If you, like me, have bought into fringe formulas then I urge you to take a lesson from my own Hard Knocks University: ask Jesus to detox you of them to instead know him “in the power of his resurrection and in the fellowship of his suffering” (Phillipians 3:10).