Friday, August 8, 2014

A Fruitless Fig, a Cursing Christ, and How Picasso and Rembrandt Can Help Us Understand

In spite of all the enmity and antagonism He'd just faced after turning tables in the temple, Jesus got up the next morning and headed right back into the thick of things. There was still important work to be done and those clerics who were critics wouldn't keep Him from His calling.

Matthew Henry writes:  "We must never be driven off from our duty either by the malice of our foes or the unkindness of our friends."

Wise words! Words I need to heed!

How often have I caved because of someone's cruelty?  How often have I packed up my toys and headed home because someone didn't play nice with me?  How often have I just given up on doing the caring thing because someone did an unkind thing?  

Sadly, too many times.

Thankfully my Savior was and is much more tolerant and tenacious than I, or I'd still be dead in my sins!!

Think about it, the all-knowing Jesus knew full well that arrest and trial, mocking and scourging, even pain and death awaited Him from that place and from those people.  There would be MUCH malice, but He would not be moved from His mission! 

Jesus had come to die for His enemies and sacrifice Himself to save sinners - and nothing and no one would stop Him!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Turning Tables to Reform and to Redeem

When Christ the King came into His city He didn't parade into a palace and plop down on a throne. He didn't rush to a regal hall or head to a house of state. No, Jesus made a bee line for the temple - because His rule was to be religious and His kingdom spiritual.

Christ came to reform His church and to redeem His people, and thus He went straight-a-way to the place where God's business should have been going on.  What He found there seemed to be anything but holy labor.  The house of God wasn't filled with priests praying for the poor, it was overflowing with priests praying on the poor.  

The house of prayer had become a den of thieves, and Jesus was about to teach the priestly peddlers a lesson or two by overturning a table or two! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

A Monarch Like No Other Man

History is replete with portraits of proud potentates.  There are narcissists like Napoleon, Caligula, and Herod the Great; egomaniacs like Timur-e Lang (the Mongol lord), Qin Shi Huang (the first Chinese emperor), and Nero (the rowdy Roman "demigod"); as well as the extremely extravagant such as George IV, Louis the XIV, and James I.  

All these men loved applause, and power, and they regularly sought the spotlight.

History tell us of another King, One who was very much unlike any of these others.  His name was Jesus, and as the events surrounding His public "coronation" unfold, I am struck with just how different from all other dignitaries He truly was ... and still remains!