Thursday, February 28, 2013

Incarnational Evangelism

Key Principle #10 : incarnational evangelism

In the Old and New Testament, the Jews were guilty of limiting God to the confines of the holy temple. The early church was guilty of keeping the good news of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem. As a result, God used the persecution of the church to allow the gospel to be evangelized to Judea and Samaria. God in His sovereignty can use evil to result in good.

Read the passage below and list the three locations where Philip went telling of the good news in the blanks that follow.

Acts 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did…26Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert…39Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.
In the previous key principle, we discussed the benefits of conversational evangelism over confrontational evangelism, although there are times when we must be confrontational. This key principle pictures incarnational evangelism, that is evangelism that is lived out in the flesh before people.  It is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi the quote, "Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary, use words." That's the point of incarnational evangelism.

The Jews were extremely prejudiced against the Samaritans. What do verses 4-8 say about racial prejudices?

Luke also points out several times that both men and women were evangelized and baptized (verse 12, Acts 5:14) and also persecuted (Acts 8:3, 9:12, 22:4)

Read 8:14-24. Evangelism is everyone’s responsibility, not just the apostles then and not just for the clergy today. However, in this passage, God showed unity and order. At this time, not a single book of the New Testament was yet written. The Holy Spirit did not fall on the Samaritans so that they would recognize the need of leadership from the Apostles. We now know that the Holy Spirit comes to the believers at the moment of salvation and receiving of Christ by faith (See Acts 19:2, Romans 8:9-11).

In order to evangelize more effectively, ask God to make you sensitive to his promptings and that you will obey His leadership like the missionary Philip did (verses 26-40).

Read verse 35. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” How important is it for you to be prepared in the Bible?

Very important___Moderately important___Mildly important___Not very important ___

In verse 39, we see that the eunuch never saw Philip again. As you think about all of God’s characteristics and qualities, list at least five more attributes about God in addition to the first one below that give us assurance that He can use the small seeds that we plant, even if we don’t see them grow to fruition.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Conversational or confrontational evangelism

Key Principle #9 : Confrontation

In Stephen’s defense of Christianity, he used a number of Old Testament references. While sometimes theologians can allegorize the Old Testament a little too much, the Bible actually does say that the Old Testament prophets, stories and events are for our examples (1 Cor. 10:6-16). As such, the following Old Tesatment character were much like missionaries. As you read these passages, ask yourself, "How were these like missionaries?"
Abraham ? (verses 2-8)

2”The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Haran, 3and said to him, ‘Get out of your country and from your relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.’’”

Joseph? (verses 9-16)    

9”And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him.

Moses? (verses 22-44)  

29Then, at this saying, Moses fled and became a dweller in the land of Midian, where he had two sons.

Missionaries will confront things out of their comfort zones when they leave their home turf. It forces them to rely on God rather than their familiarity with their surroundings. 

Stephen was falsely accused of two things:
1) Speaking blasphemous things in regards to the temple and
2) Seeking to abolish the law. 
In reality, verse 48 indicates that the Jewish leaders were the ones guilty of blaspheming by turning the temple into an idol. Secondly, it was the Jewish leaders who were not keeping the law.  If you face confrontation and false accusations against you, pay sharp attention to whether those who are accusing you are actually revealing some of their own faults.

A caution about being too confrontational: Both Peter and Stephen used sharp and harsh confrontational evangelism in their witnessing to the Jewish leaders (read verse 51-53).
51 “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you. 52Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers, 53who have received the law by the direction of angels and have not kept it.”

Stephen could have used more tact in confronting the rulers. Read what years of being too controversial and too confrontational taught the Apostle Paul:
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Col. 4:6)
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers” (1 Tim. 5:1);  
“But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:15)

Do you think there are times when sharp, confrontational evangelism is needed? If so, there likely will be sharp consequences, hopefully not the degree that there was with Stephen! Generally, a soft answer turns away wrath (Proverbs

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Old dogs and wineskins

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels  2/26/2013

     Have you ever tried to put new wine into old wineskins? Probably not. Sewed any new cloths on to old garments lately? Well maybe our quilting ladies have but then again they would be too smart for that.
Old dog new tricks was a line used in the latest James
Bond movie, but he was actually a new dog
using old tricks, like the Aston Martin DB5

     How about trying to teach an old dog new tricks? That would probably still be a no, but at least that is a little more something we hear and understand and relate to.

     Today’s reading is a lot about the Sabbath and the legalistic approach to it. But today’s devotional has to deal with change. Few except maybe the babies in the nursery like change. How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb? Hey, what do you mean change?

     I don’t care for change and I like traditions. But when times change, we need to know how to take the timeless truths of God’s Word and apply them to the ever changing times. But we need to be careful and Jesus said if we try to change something in the wrong way, it may ruin both.

     More than the Sabbath, however, Jesus was addressing the question of fasting and why His disciples didn’t. Whether it is fasting or legalism or any of the new issues that have popped up and into the church, we need to ask ourselves a very important question: is what we want to do a new wine that we are trying to put into an old wineskin.

     I don’t think Jesus is saying there’s anything wrong (or necessarily right) with the old or that there's anything wrong (or necessarily right) with the new. There’s just a right time and a right place and a right way for change.

     So which one are you? If you or your ways are the new wine, are you trying to force it into a wineskin that cannot handle it? If so, Jesus said you are heading for trouble. Are you or your ways the old wineskin and are you seeing that things are just not the way they used to be? If so, and new things are coming, Jesus said get ready for a burst, a rip or a tear.

     Change? It’s inevitable. No matter how much we may long for the ways of old, we need to see what benefits and good things come with the ways of new.

Pray: Thank you Jesus that with your arrival, we are no longer under the law but under grace. This world is in desperate need of a change, and perhaps nothing but Your glorious return could ever usher in the change that needs to happen. Until then, grant us the grace to adapt and grow to our ever changing circumstances.

For more on today's reading from John 5, go to Do You Want to Be Made Whole and Past, Present, and Future

Monday, February 25, 2013

My one foot perimeter

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels  2/25/2013

    Today’s headlines can be troubling. In years passed, there were problems in the world that we hoped one day we would be able to come out of them. A world war (or two)? It will soon be over. A Great Depression?  We’ll work it out. Nuclear annihilation? Duck and cover. The social change of the 60s? All you need is love. Inflation and malaise of the 70s? Ronald Reagan is coming.

     Maybe those issues were just as troubling at the time as ours are today and maybe even more so. The threat of nuclear war in the atomic age had everyone nervous. But today’s troubles don’t seem to have a solution on the horizon. Does anyone think that the radical terrorists are going to someday grow up and go back to their lives? Do you think that our government is going to wake up soon and say, “Gee, I think it’s high time to pay off our debts.” Are you nervous about sequestration, cutbacks, climate change, deficits, immorality, hatred of Christianity, media bias?

     Or maybe you are going through a personal crisis. Do you feel your life is so out of control that no solution, no miracle, no victory is in your future? Has your sin finally caught up with you and found you out? Does the word “terminal” permeate your doctor visit?

     Matthew 6:24-34 has a solution for all those things: do not worry.

     “Do not worry? Jesus are you serious?”

    You better believe He is serious. You see, the command of “Do not worry” is predicated on prayer (Matt. 6:9ff), a heavenly perspective (6:19ff), and an unswerving focus on God (6:24), followed by a sober reminder that our concentration should be on the things we can change within a foot perimeter of our body (Matthew 7:1ff)

     When a leper came to Jesus (Mark 1:40ff), he said “if you are willing, you can cleanse me.” I give you full permission to turn to page 330 in your copy of The Story (TNIV) and mark through where it says, “Jesus was indignant.” If that jars you as it did me when I read it, you might want to do what I did and look it up in the Greek. Go to and type in Mark 1:41 and you won’t find another translation anywhere which says Jesus was indignant to the leper. My NKJV says “Jesus was moved with compassion.” Those infamous “bowels of compassion” was the first century’s equivalency of what we call “the heart” today.

     My point is not Bible translation, but rather “When you cannot see God’s hand, trust His heart.” I have friends who get rather lathered up about politics, but seriously, if we cannot change that one foot perimeter, what can we do about our nation and world?

     So what do we do? Give up? Resign ourselves to the inevitable? Hunker down for the storm and enjoy the ride? Not at all. We do what Peter did in Luke 5:5. We let down our nets at the Master’s bidding. We do what the friends of the man stricken with palsy did in Capernaum in Mark 2:4. We tear off a roof.

     What does that mean? It means we pray the Serenity Prayer.

Pray: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.  Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.  Amen.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Story, chapter 23

The Story, Chapter 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins

Read the following as part of the readings from the Story, Chapter 23

     Good services today, as there were decisions in every service, including Children's Church (BLAST). As heard today, Jesus is not just a good man or even a prophet, but rather the Son of God and the Son of Man. Today we read about the beginning of Jesus' Ministry from The Story.

     The reading, which prepares us for the teaching and preaching next week, ranges from John the Baptist, the baptism and the temptation of Jesus, and the calling of the first disciples. We also see Jesus' first miracle of turning the water into wine, the conversation with Nicodemus, including the famous John 3:16, some of His miracles and the casting of John into prison.

     While it is hard to single out one overall lesson from this week's reading, as you read and share with your family, a good question to raise is "which of these stories is most important to you? Why?"

     Whatever the answer you may choose, it is likely because somehow, Jesus' story, though 2,000 years ago in another country and culture, somehow, it relates to us all. Temptation, sickness, weddings, questions, doubts, wonder, even demons and imprisonment, all gives us areas of relation to Christ.

Pray: Jesus, Anointed One, thank you for humbling yourself to my level to meet my needs, most of all my need of salvation. Walk 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Are you blest or bless-sed?

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/23/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)

     When people ask me how am I doing, I often say, “I am blessed” as in “blest.” I do not say, “I am bless-sed.” There is a difference.

     Today we look at the Beatitudes, and we ask, “What does it mean to be blessed?”
     Rather than give a definition, let’s look at Jesus description of those who are blessed. Blessed people are poor in spirit, they mourn, are meek, they hunger and thirst after righteousness, they are merciful, they are pure in heart, they make peace, are persecuted for righteousness' sake, they are reviled and persecuted.
     The bless-sed people are those who have those things as Jesus described, but if you were to merely look at the descriptions, you would not say those people are blessed/blest. Consider Mary the mother of Jesus was bless-sed, so told first by Gabriel, then Elizabeth, then even Mary said generations afterwards would call her bless-sed. Yet look at the heart-ache she endured in seeing her Son die on the cross.
     Luke quotes Jesus as saying that bless-sed people hunger, weep and are hated. In Luke 14:14, Jesus said we are bless-sed when people don’t pay us back with good things when we do good things for them. Matthew 25 says the bless-sed are those who feed the hungry, give to the thirsty, host strangers, give clothes to the needy, visit the sick and those in prison. Those without children are bless-sed as are those who never have seen Jesus but believe.
     Hmm. Just to be on the safe side, I may start saying “I’m fine.”  

Pray: "Dear God, make me a blessing in blessed times and bless-sed times. Let me count those blessings one by one and for those things that are blessings in disguise, let me give thanks to you in all things."

Friday, February 22, 2013

What is your meat?

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/22/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)
John 3:23-36; John 4; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-24

Jesus said to them, "My meat is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work."
John 4:34

     Okay, today's title may be a bit strange for a devotional, but today is Friday in the midst of Lent. Some people won’t be eating beef today and instead have a fish sandwich. Some people in the world today are thinking their getting black angus, but in reality, they may be getting Black Beauty. But in today’s devotional, Jesus doesn’t eat anything at all because He is so wrapped up in telling a woman, a Samaritan woman, about God.

      It makes me wonder, what gives us the nourishment for our soul? Are we thinking we are eating meat, while Satan is really substituting our food with junk? Jesus didn’t even notice it was passed His mealtime because He busy doing what the Father wanted Him to do.

     Earlier in John 3, John the Baptist was confronted with the fact that Jesus was getting more popular than he was. That didn’t bother John. His meat – John’s sustenance – was no more about who was baptizing the most people than it would be if a best man of a wedding were to be jealous because the groom (or the bride) was getting more attention. John the Baptist said:

“29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John Chapter 3

      Isn’t the point of a wedding the bride and groom? John knew it wasn't about him.

      Jesus then goes to His home town. After leaving the “despised” Samaritans, who came out en masse to see the man who told the woman “everything she had ever done”, His own people were offended by him.
     On the way, Jesus heals a nobleman’s son a day’s journey away, but because of their disbelief, His own hometown people (spoiler alert for tomorrow’s reading) try to throw Jesus off a cliff! They could not get accept the fact that Joseph and Mary's boy was now a prophet, let alone the Messiah, and could not give Him the honor afforded to Him elsewhere. Pity, because it was their loss. 
     So what is your meat? Are you willing to lose the real food for that which is merely carnal? Here’s what Jesus’ mandate was from today’s reading.
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed;  19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Luke Chapter 4
     Whether you eat a hamburger or catfish today, make sure your real food is what Jesus’ was. Let us get the focus off of us and onto Christ. Let us go and do likewise.

Pray: I confess today, Jesus, that I need to abstain from spiritual junk food and feast on the food You ate. I must decrease, as You increase. Let me preach, anoint me to heal broken hearts, give me the power to liberate those held captivated to sin, suffering and all the other sorrows of this world. Give me the privilege to lead those who are spiritually blind to the glorious vision of salvation. In Your name I pray, Amen.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

For the love of Christ

A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/21/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)
John 1:15-51; 2; 3:1-22
"For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
John 1:17
    Too much to share from today’s reading, so I’m not even going to try.

    Okay, just kidding. But in just three chapters we go from John the Baptist’s testifying of Christ, the water to wine, money changers, and Nicodemus’ call to be born again. This is getting way ahead on The Story but we’ll catch back up next week. Today I want us to focus on love, especially the love of Christ.
     First, look at the tender love we see when the disciples, John and Andrew, follow Christ. “What do you seek?” When we follow our Lord, He’ll invite us tenderly to “Come and see.” The love of Christ bids us come and follow Him.
     Second, the love of Christ is seen in meeting the needs of the marriage. This miracle is not insignificant in that it shows us that Jesus loves us in caring for our inadequacies and short-fallings. Jesus did the miracle, but Mary did the asking and the servants did the filling. Someone said, “If you’re praying for rain, why aren’t you carrying an umbrella?” And notice what results from the love of Christ, followed by faithful obedience: God is glorified and the disciples are edified in their faith (John 2:11). We are saved by faith alone but saving faith is never alone.

     Thirdly, the love of Christ is seen in passionate zeal for the Father and His house. The religious people of Jesus' day thought they could make some money on God, but Jesus turned the tables on them (don’t groan, please). Are we zealous for God's House for Him or for what we get out of it? To be honest some just want to get out of God's House period. Never complain, "Oh, I didn't get anything out of service today." That reflects a sad and selfish heart, much like the money changers. We go to God's House for service, not "serve us." It's not what we get but what we give and I'm not just talking about money.

     Brevity, Tim, brevity. Devotional, not a sermon ... 500 words...Whew. Okay.

     But notice the common denominator in chapter 2 in the water to wine and the turning over of the tables: it increased the faith within the disciples (2:11 and 22).

     Finally, the love of Christ is seen in the kingdom of God being seen by being born again. “For God so loved…” Love gives forgiveness and a future. Religion has man seeking to ascend to heaven, but Christianity has Christ seeking humanity by descending to our level (3:13). He doesn’t condemn, we are already condemned by our hateful disobedience. Yes, every time we sin, we are showing our hatred of the light (3:20).

     For the love of Christ, we follow, we have faith, we have forgiveness and we have a future.

Pray: God, give me heart that says “Where You go, I’ll go,” when You say “fill pots,” I fill pots. Give me a heart that is zealous for You and Your house. And let me be born again in You today. Amen.

For more on these rich chapters, go to

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How important is it that Jesus was fully human?

 A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/20/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)

Matthew 2:16-23; Luke 2:39-52; Luke 3:1-20; Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 2:23-38; Luke 4:1-15
"Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem and Joseph and his mother knew not of it"

   Seriously, don’t you love it when a preacher gives a sermon illustration about a child? Aren’t you drawn to facebook pages with pictures of kids? I’m sure there’s a few curmudgeons out there that don’t care that much for l'il tots (okay, even I get a little strained when I’m at a restaurant or, ahem, in church and a child starts doing what children do naturally).
   Still, we can all relate with kids. The children’s choir Sunday night was great, especially when they sang “There’s a Sweet Sweet Spirit In this Place,” a closing anthem for almost every church I was a part of in the 1970s.  I noticed Rief did the old “and I know that it’s the” pause “of the Lord.” (We are never sure if it’s “presence” or “spirit” and the words were vacant on the screen).
    Today’s devotional is about the childhood of Christ and especially the story of Mary and Joseph losing Jesus. Someone in our church said they had that terrifying moment when they couldn’t find their child at the carnival the other night. Can you imagine losing the one and only, only begotten, totally unique, virgin-born Son of God (and you’re the virgin!). For three days?
    I confess, we lost our oldest once at the Houston airport. And another time, Melissa and I left both boys (under ten years old, mind you) at church by themselves and didn’t realize it until we got home! But three days? Can you imagine how Mary felt? Talk about self-doubting, low self-esteemed feelings of inadequacies. And don’t even think about Joseph coming out of this unscathed. Something tells me the whole three days was somehow Joseph’s fault, at least in Mary’s mind.
   You better believe it’s important that Jesus was not only divine, but totally human. It makes God somehow more approachable. “He was tempted in every way, just as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). “He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted” (Heb. 2:18). Are you dieting? Jesus went 40 days and nights! Are you lusting? Jesus attracted prostitutes and had women falling at his feet (literally). Are you angry? Please don’t get mad at church like He did! Frustrated? Can you say “12 clueless disciples”? Betrayed? Hello, Judas’ kiss. Shall I go on?
    In the book Life of Pi (much, much better than the movie, by the way), Pi cannot get over the frailty and suffering of God in the flesh. And yet, such tender love amidst apparent weakness drew Pi to Christ. “Why would (God) send his only son to atone for the sins of the whole world?...That made no sense…But I could not get this Christ out of my mind. The more I got to know Christ, the more I liked Him.”
    Love demonstrated is oh so much greater than love declared. Love in action is far more comely than love in abstraction. Was Jesus human? Never was there anyone more human than Christ! That’s why I love Him so! He loves me not despite my humanity, not even because of my humanity; He loved me through HIS humanity.
Pray: Dear Jesus. Thank You for clothing Your deity in humanity. Thank You for being tempted. Thank You that You had no tears for Your own griefs, but You sweat drops of blood for mine. How marvelous, how wonderful is Your love for me.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How Important Is It That Jesus Fulfilled Prophecy?

 A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/19/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)

Luke 1:61-80; Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 2:1-38; Matthew 2:1-15

   Did anyone notice the asteroid which narrowly missed the earth, coinciding with a meteor which actually fell to the earth on the same day? The two were not related, as they came from opposite directions, but they coincided with one common intersection (thankfully, not an exact intersection) on the same day. 

   Did I say "did anyone notice..."? How does that not make anyone and everyone wake up and notice how precariously perched we are? How vulnerable? How fragile?

   If script writers can put Bruce Willis to move an asteroid, I know +God was able to put both on course years and years ago (how many? I have no idea) and perhaps even just nudged one to come perilously close to us but not too close to get us to be looking up.

   (By the way, there is a prophecy that a heavenly body is coming that will in fact collide with the earth and the destruction of it will be one third of the waters and like Pompeii and worse, many will die as a result--See Rev. 8 and also Rev. 6.)

   In today’s reading, +Matthew 1:22 says “that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet…”

   One of the exciting things about reading through “The Story” is that we see that the entirety of history is His Story, God’s Story, with a beginning, middle, climax, resolution and ending.

   Well, maybe not an ending…more like the end of one segment of an ongoing cliffhanger, only to be filled with hints of an upcoming sequel.

   As often has been said, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

   That God knew Jesus was coming is self-evident for an omniscient God. But that He gives hints and prophecies and foreshadows is a craftsman of authors indeed. Concealed in the Old Testament are promises of a coming Messiah. Not always explicit, but like a good mystery writer, enough to elevate the interest of us all.

   Prophecy shows that God is in charge. He didn’t just wind up the universe like a Jack-in-the-Box toy and wonder when something would pop out. God is sovereignly in charge.

   God is in charge of the universe. God is in charge of history. God is in charge of the future. And He is the author of the Bible. Look at how many times in just a few short passages, the Bible says “that it might fulfill”. Click on the link to see the actual readings.

   There are books almost ad infinitum about the various prophecies about the coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago and also His return which I believe to be soon and very soon. Revelation 19:10 says the very “testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

   Jesus’ first coming was a fulfillment of prophecy. His second coming will be a fulfillment of prophecy.

Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us a book that is so holy and so God-breathed that we can trust it when everything else fails. Thank you that in a world where life can seem upside down, Your Word can give us an assurance that our very hairs are numbered and that Your care for the sparrow, for the lilies of the field and for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Monday, February 18, 2013

How Important Is The Deity Of Christ?

 A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels Leading to Easter  2/18/2013
(Click on link below for readings.)

  John 1:1-14, Matthew 1:1-17, Luke 1:1-60

I was on a run with my dog Rocky this morning (okay, a walk with bursts of occasional slow jogs and more than occasional stopping to sniff interesting smells in the ground along the way) when I thought that perhaps I should write daily devotionals to go along with the chronological harmonious readings of the Gospels during Lent (and yes, I meant the dog was stopping to sniff, with no encouragements from me).

So a day late here is a brief word to go along with the readings (found with a link at the bottom of the page).

How important is the deity?

We love to cling to the humanity of Jesus, but how important was the deity of Christ? After all, Jesus often referred to Himself as the Son of Man. What difference does it make?


Looking at the harmony of the gospels, isn’t interesting that Matthew traces Jesus’ royal lineage (that through Joseph, the son of David back to Father Abraham), Mark emphasizes the humanity of Christ, Luke traces Jesus’  human lineage (that through Mary, we presume and back to Adam), but John traces Jesus’ divine lineage, back to “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning.”

Without the divinity, Jesus’ was merely another in the long line of philosophers and religious leaders, albeit deceived or deceiving as He clearly proclaimed His own equality with God and not only did He testify of Himself, but pointed to numerous other “testimonies” or witnesses.

Without the divinity, Jesus’ life was merely another in the long line of great moral leaders, not unlike Gandhi, Lincoln, or Mother Teresa, who taught as much with their lives as they did with their lips. True the miracles are hard to explain without the divinity, but not unique as tall tales often accompany great men and women.

And without the divinity, Jesus’ death was merely another in the longest of lines of mere mortals. His death, while tragic, was not uncommon of martyrs. Didn’t Socrates and Joseph Smith of the Latter-day Saint faith, also die an untimely death? Isn’t there a song that only the good die young? Sad? Yes. Tragic? For sure. But earth shattering? Hardly, some think.

But in fact Jesus was divine and yes, His death was literally earth shattering (“The earth shook and the rocks split” Matt. 27:51). From his prophetic coming, His miraculous birth, the sinless life and death without blemish, all point to His divine origins, but nothing greater than His resurrection points to the eternality of our Lord and our Savior and our God, Jesus Christ.

Pray: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we confess our faith in you as the Holy Trinity without our fully understanding how You are, we receive and accept the fact THAT You are who You always have been, the Great “I am”. We confess that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Let that truth sink into us today. In the holy name of Jesus, Amen.