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11

Wheat

OK, we have gone long enough talking about the Sabbath, without getting into the Red Letters. Today, I would like to unpack a few of Jesus’ comments about the Sabbath.

The fact is Jesus’ words and actions on and about the Sabbath were a major contributing factors to the Jewish leadership’s hatred for Him.

Let’s jump in.

I want to start with one of Jesus’ most provocative statements:

For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. - Matthew 12:8

This is the end of a story in Matthew 12, one of two piles of trouble Jesus pressed through on a busy Sabbath during His early ministry.

The boys were walking through a grain field, and popping off the heads of the grain in the gleanings and eating them. (Gleanings were the edges of the fields left by the land owners to give the poor and hungry some place to gather food – someday we should talk about God’s welfare plan that included working rather than begging – ooopps did I write that out loud.)

They were breaking so many Sabbath laws – they were “gathering” – they were “preparing food” – they were “eating without washing” – and who knows what else, but they got busted. The Pharisees were right there to point out this problem and quiz the Master.

But Jesus had an answer, three actually. He gave them a theological answer using an example from the life of David. He gave a legal answer, talking about how the priests break the Sabbath in the keeping other laws.

But it all end with Him stating in no uncertain terms “the Son of Man is [aka – I AM] Lord of the Sabbath.” [Tweet This]

Wonder if that got Him in any trouble? Jesus takes on these religious muckety-mucks by simply declaring His own deity.

I hear folks say Jesus never claimed to be God, but you really have to ignore His words to come to that conclusion.

God refers to the Sabbath as “My Sabbath” fifteen times in the Old Testament and yet here Jesus takes ownership, or Lordship over the Sabbath. Jesus is Lord and not just Lord of the Sabbath, although that is a great title for this King of kings and Lord of Lords. He is Lord of all.

Lord Jesus, I worship you today for you are Lord, you are Lord of the Sabbath, and Lord of my life. Have your way today. Reign over this day in my life. – Amen

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.
This study is blessing me a bunch, and I hope it’s doing you some good too.
Come back tomorrow. There is lots more from Jesus, and then we will press on to Paul and the writer to the Hebrews. We are not done yet.
Bye for now
Ben

6

Sometimes cousins can be really different. Here I am showing my age, but do you remember the Patty Duke show? Two teenage cousins who looked exactly alike, but were different in every way – one wild and free, one poised and governed by self control.

The Bible gives us a set of cousins who are likewise considerably different.

'We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.' "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!' "The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. - Matthew 11:17-19

How can these two men, John the Baptist and Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of man, how can they both be servants of the Most High God, and yet be so different?

That’s what the disciples of John wanted to know, and that’s what the Pharisees wanted to know.

There is one area where they were the same.

They did not dance to the world’s tune.

The world is always trying to get us to compromise what the Lord has put before us.

John came as the final chapter of the Old Covenant. His was the closing hymn, the final chord, of a grand mournful requiem. He came preaching and demonstrating the crushing weight of unrepentant sin, and demanding that men change, and then come to be baptized.

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. - Luke 3:7-8

Don’t get me wrong, Jesus preached repentance too. I am not saying that repentance is not part of the Christian walk.

But unlike John, who dressed in an itchy shirt, ate bugs and cried in the wilderness, Jesus sat at the dinner table with all kinds of sinners.

There are two very different dinner tables we read of in the life of Jesus, Levi’s table, with tax collectors and sinners, and Simon’s table, with Pharisees and the religious elite.

These are the same two types of people that came out to John.

Neither group could influence either man.

They played the wedding march for John, but he preached a funeral message in the wilderness.

They played a funeral dirge for the Lord, and He drew them to a wedding feast.

How does the world’s tune influence you?

It’s easy to get caught up in trying to play the Christian life to the tune the world is playing, but I suggest to you today, that you tune your dial to the song of heaven.

What music would heaven have you dance to today.

Lord, help me hear from You what song You are singing over me, and let me live my life to Your rhythm. [Tweet This]

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Shine today!

Ben

 

Image from http://provoketive.com/2012/08/03/everyone-is-following-jesus/

Jesus has just had quite a run of healing encounters, in fact by my reading He emptied the hospital in Capernaum, and as you can imagine the crowds are growing inordinately.

Then some guy walks up to him – here – I will let Matthew tell it.

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side. And a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” ~ Matthew 8:18-19

We evangelicals make our altar calls and stir up emotions and get people highly charged, in hopes that someone will come forward with this kind of response.

We will sing “Just as I am” 30 times to give every one sitting on the fence a chance to buckle to the pressure and “make a decision.”

I personally have given altar calls glittered with rosy promises of forever, and charged with fiery images of damnation.

But Jesus? Not so much. Not this time.

Jesus has this man right where we want him – emotionally vulnerable and ready to make promises.

Then this:

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” ~ Matthew 8:20

Jesus – are you trying to drive him away? Are you trying to offend this fledgling follower?

Don’t undermine your “Platform” Jesus! Don’t ruin your “Klout” score! Don’t you understand the impact this will have on your image? Every follower is precious.

By the Spirit, Jesus knows this man is not a disciple, that he has not counted the cost, and will fail and fall if he follows, because to follow, is to die.

Hear this: To start out with Jesus on an emotional high, without giving your whole life to Him in the process is to set your self up for failure. [Tweet This] This is MUCH worse than walking away until you are ready. Over eager evangelists have filled churches with half-Christians and left the Church looking like the world.

It is not that I don't want to see people saved, rather, I want to see them soundly saved, delivered, healed and truly turned from darkness to light.

Lord, I do want to follow wherever you lead? Will you give me the strength it will take to follow you, to take up my cross, to die daily? Will you help me to lead others to give themselves to You, heart, soul, strength and mind?

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

Wheat

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

And He answered and said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; (Matthew 13:24, 37-38 NASB)

I love that Jesus called Himself the Son of Man!

Of all the titles and names for Jesus in the scriptures…

  • Rock of Ages
  • Desire of Nations
  • King of Kings
  • Lord of Lords
  • Son of God
  • Wonderful
  • Counselor
  • Mighty God
  • Prince of Peace
  • If I list them all I might run out of internet

…He chose to identify Himself as “Son of Man” more often than any other name. This phrase appears 80 times in the gospels (using the NASB) and most if not all of them are Jesus referring to Himself.

IMG_0490What is so special about this particular title? It tells us of His identification with us. One of the names prophesied for Messiah was Immanuel.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 NASB)

Matthew reminded us of this when giving the account of Joseph’s dream.

“BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD, AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.” (Matthew 1:23 NASB)

And this is how Jesus thought of Himself, as a man, flesh and blood. This Lord of the angel armies as Eugene Peterson puts it in the Message, put on flesh.

Paul says it this way:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 NASB)

He did not hold onto equality with God, but limited Himself to the flesh and passions of a man. We are told He was tempted in every way that we are, yet without sin. (from Hebrews 4:15)

What’s the point, Ben?

One big mistake many Christians make is to think Jesus walked the earth as the Son of God – doing all He did, and Knowing all He knew – using special power only available to Him.

One of the reasons He used the title Son of Man is that He was doing all that He did, by the power of connection to the Father and Spirit, NOT by power intrinsic to Him. He was not a magic man, He was a connected man.

How about you? Are you connected? You can be.

Be filled with the Spirit like Jesus, and spend time with the Father like Jesus, and you can walk like Jesus walked.

John put it this way:

The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. (1 John 2:6 NASB)

BenThanks for stopping by today.

Ben

photo credit: downhilldom1984 via photopin cc

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