Wed. April 3

Wednesday April 3, 2019

Today’s Focus                                                                                  Who do you say Jesus is?  

Today’s Scripture Reading                                                                         Luke 7:18-23

18 The disciples of John the Baptist told John about everything Jesus was doing. So John called for two of his disciples, 19 and he sent them to the Lord to ask him, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting,[b] or should we keep looking for someone else?”

20 John’s two disciples found Jesus and said to him, “John the Baptist sent us to ask, ‘Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?’”

21 At that very time, Jesus cured many people of their diseases, illnesses, and evil spirits, and he restored sight to many who were blind. 22 Then he told John’s disciples, “Go back to John and tell him what you have seen and heard—the blind see, the lame walk, those with leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor.” 23 And he added, “God blesses those who do not fall away because of me.[c]

Daily Reflection                                                                                 Pastor’s reflection

“Religion – a human attempt to understand an un-understandable God”

What do we do and how do we respond when Jesus turns out to be someone other than the One we thought he was?  That’s what’s at stake in John’s question.  For John was “expecting” a different kind of Messiah.  Perhaps he was waiting for a general who would liberate the Israelites from Rome.  Perhaps he was expecting a Messiah who would on the spot punish wrongdoers instead of offering forgiveness.  But by the mere fact that John poses this question to Jesus I think we can assume that Jesus didn’t fully live up to the “billing” that John had received.  Jesus at the end of his statement suggests that God blesses those who do not fall away from belief because of Jesus.”

If we truly search our own heart we must understand that we all carry an image of God within us.  Perhaps it’s a shepherd in the middle of a field holding a lamb, or perhaps it’s Jesus knocking at a door.  But if we were to worship in the “deep South” we would see images of Jesus portrayed as an African American.  If we were worshipping in China we would see images of Jesus portrayed as Chinese.

The truth is, we think we know who Jesus is, what Jesus looked like and how Jesus would act in a given situation and if our views are challenged we like John may say “Are You the One, or should we look for another?”

Regardless of our own image of Jesus for those who confess Jesus we should be sharing in the joy that God has shown in caring about human suffering and human bondage and we share in the call to follow Jesus in ministering to those whom God loves.  Our image of Jesus is only the beginning, not the end, and not the be all end all of how God loves.

Some questions for reflection

  • If Jesus came back to the world today in human form, what do you suppose we should expect to see, where might he/she show up, and how might he/she act within the world?
  • Must all of our images in Christ be the same in order for us to have unity in Christ? Why or why not?

Today’s discipleship challenge

Take a risk and really share your image of Christ with the group.  What does he/she look like, act like, how would Jesus today respond to issues of injustice.  Be honest with yourself and with others.  Then see how there might be unity in the diversity of your images.

Today’s prayer

O God of all, with wonderful diversity of languages and cultures You crated all people in Your image.  Free us from prejudice and fear, that we might see Your face in the faces of people around the world; through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

10 thoughts on “Wed. April 3

  1. Keith Ricks

    I have no thoughts on this. No need, no reason, no desire, it is something I find superficial and do not care about enough to engage in.
    Most likely because it is part of the Religion definition:
    “Religion – a human attempt to understand an un-understandable God”

    …. AN UN-UNDERSTANDABLE GOD. While what Jesus would look like is wa-aay, “Is this conversation really happening here? Oh, I apologize… I forgot, Ya’ll are Religious… My Bad…”

    The part about how Jesus today would respond to issues… though a bit more , Just – a bit – more reasonable, falls under trying to predict God, or as I pointed out “…understand an un-understandable God” both a use of time that could be bonding… but could also do so much more for people You know who are desperate to have time spent with them… or anything else where a sprinkle of Love could do some good. Or Sleep.
    Or just discuss what life would be like if we did not live under a primarily green Sun.
    So, I took a Risk, Was honest with Myself and with all of You. I believe there will be diversity of my, … images? maybe unity if I am not alone in these thoughts. Keith.

    Reply
    1. Pastor Jerry

      OUCH! Pretty abusive to a brother in Christ trying to help accompany you on your journey…. guess you left yesterday’s teachings in yesterday!
      While it may seem a little naïve to believe that we can adequately express an image of Jesus or God, the truth is we all have one whether we’d like to admit it or not! That’s how our human minds operate, we need to place things in some kind of order in which we can work with, form and shape, our thoughts and ideas… at least that’s been my understanding.
      I think my point here is simply to suggest that any “box” or image we place Jesus/God in…. that the actual version of God/Jesus/Spirit…. is actually bigger than any image or box we can imagine!
      My guess is that if Jesus were here on earth in human form again…. we probably wouldn’t recognize him/her. But my guess is that the message would remain steadfast….. Love God, Love neighbor as self… and oh by the way…. take care of each other…. even those who are different than you!
      P, B, &L,
      PJ

      Reply
      1. Keith Ricks

        Here’s Yesterdays Teachings Pastor, My Good Friend… I Love You dearly, I am truly sorry that the harshness of my words upset You, though they are True at this time for me, I could have Poofy-softened them a bit, and I Forgive You. I also Thank You for then in Better words making my Point clear that the the questions were unnecessary as it is impossible to know these things except the likely hood the message would be the same… However, The bible is kind of specific what the “message” per se would be IF and When Jesus made a Second appearance.. I believe. And I did not want to “Imagine” against the Bible, I might get “Thumped”… Again. Love You, Keith

        Reply
  2. Lisa Mantz

    My image of Jesus has always been one of a caregiver… a shepherd holding the lost sheep…someone taking care of the sick…someone who just has love overflowing. What He would look like….well, I’ve seen all these pictures since I was a child. I suppose that’s what I think He looks like. I never put THAT much thought into it. I just see love when I see Jesus. I feel love when I think of Jesus.

    And no….I don’t think we all have to think Jesus looks the same. Each person sees things differently. As long as we believe the same. Jesus is love….sent from God. What does love look like? It can look like many things to many people. It’s your own image of Jesus that counts. To me, it’s a very personal thing…..

    As far as where He would show up….I think He’s here! So He would show up anywhere. Probably where you least expect. Like a manger. Or He would show up in the passenger seat of a car that was spinning out of control on a road.

    Have a wonderful, blessed day!

    Lisa

    Reply
    1. Keith Ricks

      I love that! If I was in a car spinning out of control in a panic and glanced over and saw Jesus… I think I would just let go of the wheel and be perfectly calm (with the car spinning thing) and be like “Jesus! Hi! can you just answer a lot of questions for me because my mind just went blank… oh, here’s my smart phone, talk into this!…. then I might wonder. Hmmm, Maybe He’s just here to either save me from the mess or let me know I pretty much a gonner… Either way, Yes in my car would be so Personal! Way to go with that Lisa!

      Reply
  3. Mel Olenwine

    I immediately think of that song by Collin Raye “What if Jesus Comes Back Like That?” …. two months early and hooked on crack…would we let him in or turn our back? What if Jesus comes back like that. On an old freight train in a hobo hat….He came to town on a cold dark night…a single star his only light…the baby born that silent night…a manger for his bed…what if Jesus comes back like that? Where will he find our hearts are at? Will HE let US in or turn his back? What if Jesus comes back like that? Would the Messiah be sent like that? Should we keep looking for someone else?

    Song always made me cry. Jesus would think most of us have failed miserably. I don’t know that I have an image in my mind other than the one that hangs in the pictures in churches…I know he can be a she, but that’s not what comes to mind. To me it’s the voice…just the voice I hear all day. Calm down. Let that comment slide. Don’t react. They didn’t mean it like that. You don’t need to say anything here, change the subject. Breathe. Slow down. Just SLOW DOWN. Makes me laugh, one of my old bosses used to call me a whirling dervish. Anxiety doesn’t cripple me like it used to, but I still have my moments. I’ve often felt that that second coming will be when you die, and you come face to face with your past, your judgment, and your God. It IS difficult to explain or understand and un-understandable God. It IS difficult to have a clear image (at least for me) of Christ. The image is simply not clear…. Aren’t we all expecting a “different” kind of Messiah? It makes sense that God is believed to look Chinese, or African, or many different things to many different people. Don’t different religions exist because of the different cultures and people? No, I don’t see how our images are (or have to be) the same to have unity in Christ. And for sure we are scared of those who are “different” from us, or from what we find comfortable. And then the prayer for today…that we might see Your Face in the faces of people around the world…like the baby born two months early and hooked on crack. What IF Jesus comes back like that?

    Reply
  4. Pastor Jerry

    Wow! That’s beautiful and powerful, thanks for sharing. I think one of the wonderful things about this experience is that we can hold on to our images, listen to other’s images and not be upset, angry, or afraid to allow these other images to damage, or harm our own beliefs. A premature baby hooked on crack… hmmm. powerful.
    We had another great Wednesday night worship celebration… what a blessing this Lenten season has been. God is Good!
    P, B, &L,
    PJ

    Reply

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