Again this week the sermon for the Sunday morning service will be based on the Gospel text, and, again, that text comes from the Gospel according to Luke. And it is one of those passages where Jesus says, "I must...."
We hear that a lot these days. There are things to do. There are things that need to be done. You can easily finish this sentence, "I must...."
We don't hear Jesus saying that a lot. That saying is even distinctively in Luke, and even there it's not too often.
The word is connected to the verb 'to bind'. Jesus, bound? The Son of God, bound? That's not how we usually picture someone with so much power.
We can easily see ourselves as bound. That's ultimately because of sin. We have to ... sin. That sounds bad ... and it is.
Obviously that's the whole point of the Father sending his Son. He had a purpose; he had a goal. It's as if he was saying, "It's my job to....; I couldn't do anything else but....; I couldn't resist....; I would LOVE to...."
That's what drove him to the cross. That's what drove him to remain there. While there he said things like, "Today, you will be with me in paradise."
Now that sounds a lot better.
This is one of those Sundays when I'm not preaching on the text.
I still find myself thinking about it. This week I also found myself thinking a lot about time and what it means to rest.
I ended last week's writing by mentioning how stating that one does not have time is really not the best way to think about time and what it truly is--a gift.
In a sense, to say "I don't have the time" is a cop out. It's like giving up before you even start.
Time is such a unique gift. It's been called that even by those who state no faith in a gracious, giving God. Seneca, who lived about the time of Jesus, said these fascinating words about time (Ad Lucilium, vol. 1, ep. 1): Omnia sunt aliena, tempus est tantum nostrum. Loosely put: "Nothing is ours, except time."
Time really is a unique and special gift.
I was at the zoo today and noticed how slowly those massive turtles went. They went at the pace God gave them.
There's a sermon of Martin Luther based on the text "Do not be anxious" within the Sermon on the Mount, and he gives a wonderful perspective of how God secretly lengthens and shortens the efforts of people on earth so that they hopefully learn not to depend on their own works but on the blessings of a gracious God.
That's wonderfully comforting--whatever the text.
This week I was reminded of the importance of the word 'Lord'.
It's all over in the Bible. In the Gospel according to Luke the writer uses it even before Jesus has risen from the dead. If you're watching for it--as if you are truly watching for the risen Lord--it strikes you every time you see it.
You might say that the word is a 'last word' when it comes to our sin. It's not that Jesus just paid for our sin. He's the Lord over it. He's the Lord over death, the Lord over the devil.
That's why it's so crucial that the focus on Jesus continues when looking at the so-called 'Acts of the Apostles'. The Church is all about what Jesus is continuing to do.
Ultimately it's all about what Jesus will do at the end of time. The rest are just details.
We can easily lose a proper perspective on time. I'll talk a bit more about that next week ... if I have the time. But there HAS to be a better way of saying that!
Nothing can replace the marathon journey that you have with a text when you hear a sermon. Lots of time and effort went into it. Lots of things can come from it.
I've also heard of a person taking home just a phrase or a thought from a particular sermon. But it happens that if only that phrase were said and not the entire sermon, that meaningful phrase probably wouldn't have had the same effect.
A Sabbath Day's journey with the text is a much shorter thing. I am also thinking of it as a point that may not be entirely appropriate within the context of a sermon. It still may be helpful. And, hopefully, it will be so.
This past week I was reminded of the importance of the following: Matthew, Mark, Luke, JOHN, Acts. It is not Matthew, Mark, John, and then Luke-Acts.
If the gospel accounts were strict biographies, then Luke and Acts would probably be together. Matthew through John are gospel accounts, very unique things with a very important message. They were meant to work together. They ARE together. Then comes Acts.
I like the start of Acts where the previous volume is described as what Jesus BEGAN to do. The hint is that this volume describes what Jesus CONTINUES to do. I also like to think of Luke as a dictionary for Acts. So many people have twisted what happens within Acts and have easily lost sight of what Jesus continues to do.
He wants to stay with us all the way with the text.
The Jews weren't supposed to work on Saturday. "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy."
They were supposed to rest. They were supposed to remember that their Creator rested on that seventh day. They were supposed to remember that their Creator was also their Redeemer when he rescued them from their slavery. Now that's real rest.
By the act of resting, the Jews were to remember the bigger things. The best way to do that is in worship, really 'worthy-ship'. At worship a person remembers the things that are really worth something.
So the Jews weren't supposed to walk too far. That would be a distraction.
A Sabbath day's journey is only about a half of a mile. Officially it's two thousand cubits--with a cubit being about eighteen inches. It wasn't much, and it was designed to be that way. It was that way because something else was much bigger, much more important.
That's the idea behind this 'blog'. It's meant to be weekly. It's also meant to be brief. More importantly is that it will reflect that there's something else out there that's much bigger, that's much more important.
I hope you see it.
I hope you walk it.
I hope you enjoy it!