Idolatry

I’ve been contemplating Holy Week a bit differently this year. It’s been brought to my attention that I struggle with idolatry. No, you won’t find gold statues or bronze altars at my house. In fact, you probably wouldn’t notice it. I’m really good at hiding it.

I worship myself. I know. It’s a weird statement. Now before you say, “It’s okay. We all struggle with that,” I want to tell you that it’s not okay.

It’s a sin. A big fat sin.

Putting myself on the throne makes me selfish, jerky and arrogant. I like my creature comforts. I like to be left alone. As the queen of my own making, I don’t like being interrupted or told that I’m wrong.

So, this Holy Week, I’ve realized that my arrogance, my contempt, my selfishness, my SIN– for all these reasons, Jesus died. He drank the full cup of wrath for me.

Now, Good Friday is about what He did. Good Friday is also about the “why” He did it. Let’s not be self-righteous either. Let’s not hang Him on that cross and proclaim, “Look at what Jesus did for me!” Remember it. Remember that the sting of death was defeated. And remember Romans 5:8, “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Yes, His sacrifice was once for all. But sin, it’s real. And it’s deadly.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one– to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

That should sting. That should make us HATE sin. It should make us call it by name and destroy it.

It’s been an uncomfortable few days. So I ask, what is your idol? Who is your idol?

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”
John 3:30

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Treasure

There are many passages in the Bible about treasure. We tend to think of all the material things we own when we think of treasure. Jesus warns us that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be. But the treasure I’m thinking of today is not the kind you buy or hoard. It’s the kind Mary thought of in Luke.

After the birth of Jesus, the little family from Nazareth received many visitors that night. Shepherds and angels came. It’s written in Luke 2:19,  “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  

Then, we see Jesus preaching at the temple as an adolescent.  He’d seemingly ditched his parents on the way home after Passover.  They eventually found Him, speaking about the holy scriptures. I’m sure Joseph and Mary were a little angry, a little relieved and maybe even a little proud.   After all, Joseph and Mary were His earthly parents. In Luke 2:51, it reads, “And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.”

She treasured all these things in her heart.  What exactly are these treasures? I think of these treasures as memories.  The things that moms ponder when we are, as my mom used to say, “at the end of our ever-lovin’ minds.” I think these memories sustain us when our children grow up and leave home. These memories are treasures. And they are near and dear to my heart.

Today I took my girls to a local nature center. It was an educational trip, the kind we homeschool moms use as an extra day on our school calendar. I was reminiscing with the girls. When they were little, I’d take them.  First only one, then two and finally three little ladies would be tagging along. They started in strollers. Then moved on to toddling.  There were the scraped knees and hauling everyone back to the car to change a diaper. Sometimes there were tears because of all the bugs.

Once, a rogue butterfly chased down my middle daughter. We concluded that the butterfly liked her shampoo.  There were hot days and cold days of walking through the park. I learned the hard way about being unprepared. I knew after a couple of trips up the mountain, I needed extra diapers, extra sanitizer, extra wipes, extra snacks and extra water.

There were trips where I ended up carrying EVERYTHING back to the car. Sunglasses, dolls, bottles of water–I felt like a pack mule. I remember grumbling but not in a “We are NEVER doing that again” way. It was more like, “Someday they will be old enough to take care of their own stuff.”

Today was that someday. They walked through the park and read the information about every animal we saw. No one got angry or frustrated. No one complained. I carried my own water bottle. Thankfully, there were no skinned knees. (But there were pirouettes. There are always pirouettes.)

And, I treasured up all these things in my heart. You see, my oldest is an 8th grader. Next year I’ll have a freshman, a 7th grader and a 5th grader. It seems like only yesterday that I was drenching them in sunscreen and shoving snacks at them. But I’m okay with it. God has given my husband and I the privilege of raising these beautiful girls so that they will be beautiful, godly women. Little by little, I catch a glimpse of their adult selves.

God has given me treasured memories and glimpses of the future. (No, not literally). I don’t dread them growing up. I don’t expect them to leave and never come home again. I don’t expect them to reject me. People love to share their horror stories. But I don’t see it happening. Why? I trust God with them. I trust that every seed that has been sown will bear fruit. I trust because God is faithful.

Today was a good day. And, I will add it to the vault, the one filled with treasure.  And I will ponder these things in my heart, always.

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Racehorses

“There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin.  Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.” 1 Samuel 9:1-2

“They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. Samuel said to all the people, ‘Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.’ Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” 1 Samuel 10:23-24

Racehorses. When someone is in the business of buying a racehorse, they inspect every inch of that animal’s body. For a potential buyer, it’s important to know the pedigree. (Breeding matters). The bone structure, muscle tone and the coat are also determining factors of the horse’s worth. They may ask to see the horse in action. And finally, the overall appearance is judged.

It’s unfortunate that this is how many people look at their own children. Unless you are on a remote island, you’ve probably been exposed to the promotion of a child. When you meet another parent, how do they present their child?  Sometimes it’s like they are trying to show their child as a potential sire or dame. You might hear the words “advanced” or “perfect” thrown around. You might hear about their grades, their awards, or how much people like them at school.  If you are lucky, the child is from a long line of advanced and perfect people proving that breeding does matter.

Saul was like a fine racehorse. He fit the bill for the kind of king the people of Israel wanted. He was tall, handsome and had money. The people swooned and he was given the throne. Except, we all know how that story ends. Saul was not who he appeared to be. Saul was violent, unstable and indecisive. He was cowardly. Saul may have been the people’s king, but he was not the man for the job. To be fair, God chose Saul.  He poured His Spirit upon him. Why? Romans 1 speaks of God turning people over to their desires. Sometimes, we get exactly what we ask for and it’s not always in line with God’s will for our lives. He allows our decisions to stand and either saves us from the consequences, tempers the consequences or we feel the full brunt of our decision. The people wanted a king based on the criteria of a racehorse.  He looked strong, handsome, and worthwhile of the crown. He seemed to have the perfect resume.

Our children are gifts from God. We don’t own them. God in His wisdom and grace hands these precious souls to us and charges us with raising them according to His commandments.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, soul and mind. Then, love your neighbors. Parents are charged with character building and heart building. A child’s abilities, intelligence, athleticism, appearance and breeding all fall under the sovereignty of God. We must certainly encourage these gifts.  We must teach them about health and nutrition so that they can take of their bodies.  We should give them opportunities to learn and grow in the ways God intends.

There is a line, parents.  A line between presenting your child to the Lord and presenting your child to the public for inspection and approval.

1 Samuel 16:11-13

“So he asked Jesse, ‘Are these all the sons you have?’

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12 So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

After Saul started believing his own press, he saved a pagan king and built himself a monument in his own honor. Saul’s kingship was taken away and given to a kid. David was not the first born. He was the the youngest. He was a lowly shepherd. As scripture points out, David was glowing with health and handsome.  But still just a kid from Bethlehem. God’s choice of David fulfilled prophecy and pointed to the coming of Jesus. But, from appearances, David wasn’t exactly the right choice according to the criteria of the people. But, as God told Samuel , “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

The Lord looks at the heart. That statement is my parenting motto. The Lord looks at the hearts of my children. It’s both terrifying and beautiful. Terrifying because my husband and I are in charge of leading them. Beautiful because God created them to be His own.

Our culture tells us that our kids will be known by appearance, abilities and talent. For Christians we should want their actions to magnify Christ. And when Christian culture meets the world, we feel that our children deserve a pat on the back.  Remember this– even pagans make moral decisions sometimes.  Even those who don’t belong to God get it right every now and then. I want my daughters to be the women God has called them to be. I want Him to see their hearts and one day call them good and faithful servants. Do I get it right every time? No. I don’t always focus on character. But, as I walk this walk, I am more likely to show them that actions matter and abilities are God-given. I commend them quietly for their accomplishments and try (Oh, Lord, I try) to point them to their Heavenly Father. Finally, I pray that they acknowledge that their identity is found in Christ Jesus. It’s not about what they do or how they look. It’s about their hearts.

Believing parents, I ask you to look at your actions and words. Are you promoting your child? Do you focus on abilities and appearance more than the state of their heart? Are grades or class rank more important than their character? Do you see them as souls, gifts from God? Humans are shallow. The Fall took our eyes off of God. We must be aware of this. Our culture is a caste system and we are constantly jockeying for a spot. We like to win. We like to be first. First chair, first in line, prima ballerinas and Heisman trophy winners are the aspirations we have for ourselves. And if we can’t do it, we place those aspirations upon our children and push and promote and ignore the most important thing of all.

We want our children to know God, enjoy God, worship God and tell others about Him.

The Lord looks at the heart. We should, too.

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#socialactivistguerillas

I’ve seen a few hashtags roll through.  Remember #BringBackOurGirls?  That”s still a thing.  There are still girls who are missing.  I wonder how many celebrities and regular people even know that?  It’s not nearly as provocative as the Black Lives Matter hashtag or the Love Wins hashtag.  It’s more provocative to promote violence and sexual immorality, I guess.

Now it’s the MeToo hashtag.  Before I even begin.  I need to add a disclaimer. I worked for a not-for-profit that promoted victims’ rights and stricter laws regarding sexual abuse and rape.   It also funded rape crisis centers.   I’ve heard stories from women who are not celebrities, but regular people.  I’ve heard moms cry on the phone when they called seeking help for their minor children who were sexually assaulted and abused. And, I’ve got to say that the MeToo trend really bothers me.

First of all, this is not new.  I wish people would stop acting like all of this just happened.  And because it’s celebrities, it gives the impression that HashtagCelebrityLivesMatter more than the average person’s.  It’s something that has happened for years and years and will continue because people are evil.  And evil is celebrated in our culture, so this should not be a surprise.

Now for the outrage.

Rose McGowan.  Have you ever seen any of her movies?  I remember seeing one years ago and it was disgusting.  She bared all on the screen.  And the movie was pretty much one big, gross sex scene with murder and sadism thrown in for good measure.   Fast forward to today, and she’s saying she was raped.  I can’t dispute that.  However, I’d like to ask her a few questions.

If your body and your self-esteem are so important to you, why are you making any of  these movies?  Seems to me that if you had even a speck of dignity, or moral fiber, you’d pass on this garbage.  But you don’t. Instead, you act in films that glorify this behavior and promotion of violence and sexual immorality.

Is it okay to film a violent movie with perverse sex scenes, promote them to teenagers and young adults and think you aren’t part of the problem?  How does that work?  If you make your money in this way, how dare you protest when these things happen in real life.

I’d also ask why have you stayed quiet all these years?  During your silence, you’ve enabled this predator to continue doing it.  You’re like the stepmom who knows her kid is being molested but does nothing about it.  In fact, every actor and actress who knew this was happening, or who experienced it but stayed quiet–you are no different than the predator.  You have, in fact, helped him.  But you were worried about your  career?  Your career is more important than integrity, protecting the innocent and the defilement of your own soul?  Not surprised.  Because people are evil.

Now Kevin Spacey is out.  And I mean out.  Apparently he molested a 14-year old actor.  And, per the now gay Keven Spacey, he doesn’t remember but he’d like to apologize to this now grown man for anything he did to him while he was drunk.  And poor Kevin’s bravery is being lauded because he used this opportunity to announce his sexuality.  Think on that, would you? Kevin Spacey invited a teenager to a party.  Keven Spacey gets wasted and makes his move on this young kid.  Why, Kevin, did you invite him to that party? Is your judgement that bad?  Or have you always been a sexual predator?  And, if a drunk man ever used that excuse after doing the same thing to a woman, would the liberals be applauding his bravery?  I guess it depends upon lots of things–like race, sexuality, and the wealth of the perp and the victim.  Hollywood is famous for its selective outrage.

Why are we shocked?  Because our culture has made the Hollywood actors and actresses into idols.  These mini-gods are incapable of being bad people.  Right? Matt Damon is very concerned about public education so he couldn’t possibly be guilty of aiding and abetting a known rapist.  Except, he is guilty. We shouldn’t be surprised.  We should be outraged.  We should stop spending money on movies that promote sexual violence, sexual immorality, murder, sadism, and the list goes on and on.  Those movies and t.v. shows are bad for the soul.  The scenes and themes get in your head.  And, when people are so desensitized, they see it around them and it’s no longer a big deal.  Sorry, these things are a very, very big deal.

Let’s take the 50 Shades books and movies, for example.  They are pornographic.  They promote violence against women.  Yet, many women, even Christian women, read it.  Guess what.  If you read it, enjoy it and give it to your friend, do you really have the right to be outraged when you hear about rape in our culture? After all, isn’t 50 Shades all about sexual violence?

Now when I watch any Disney show, I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.  How many of these child actors and actresses have been molested or assaulted?  How many of the adults in their lives, in their profession knew and said nothing?  Basically, I’m having a very difficult time watching any sort of movies or t.v. shows at this point.  The entire industry is guilty.

The MeToo hashtag will be forgotten soon enough.  And things will return to normal in the land of Hollywood.  That’s why social justice guerrillas are weak. Because a MeToo hashtag isn’t really helping the little girl who is being abused or the college student who was date raped.  Not as long as Hollywood glorifies it and promotes it.  And accepts it as business as usual.

 

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Taking a Knee

President Donald Trump called for the firing of  NFL players, a.k.a. the sons-of-b*&$%#@, who kneel during the National Anthem.

Others are saying that the players are exercising their constitutional right to protest.  Here’s what the Bill of Rights says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (Emphasis mine).

And others are stating that the President is exercising his right to freedom of speech.

Every American citizen has the right to freedom of speech.  The only limitation, of course, is that you can’t yell “Fire in a crowded theater.” In other words, put anyone in danger of losing their lives.  Which is interesting because the BLM movement calls for death to white people often and those folks are given a hall pass because we have a little hierarchy here. Or caste system, if you will, that has been created by the media, those funding the media and the wealthy.  That’s for another time.

We are at a stand-off.  Yes, D. Trump has the right to speak his mind.  And the NFL players have a right to speak their minds.  Although physically positioning yourself as a protest is more of a gray area because no one is speaking or writing.  (So what constitutes free speech? Kneeling? Baking a cake? Arranging flowers?  See Caste System).

Those in the President D. Trump camp say he has rights as a private citizen and the NFL players are using their status as, well, sports celebrities to speak their minds, or kneel in protest.  They don’t have the right to speak their minds at work.  I will add that in the Constitution, there is no limit as to where a person can exercise free speech. (Unless you are a Christian, then you are pretty much slapped with a gag order at work.  See Caste System).  In other words, NFL players are at work on the field and have no right.

Now, back to President Trump.  He is the President, 24/7.  He is always at work.  Using the argument that one can’t express their views at work would also apply to President Donald Trump, correct? Good for the goose and all that.

Here’s my opinion.  Stand, don’t stand.  It’s your right.  HOWEVER, as the apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 6:12– all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial.  When you say anything, write anything, stand or kneel, you need to ask yourself, “What’s the point? What is the result I’m hoping for?”  Is it to take a stand against racial inequality? Is it to hate the police or the military? Is it to piss off a bunch of people? Consequences of actions are huge. The NFL is splintering.  Maybe this is a pathetic publicity stunt?  Or maybe these guys are just idiots?  Personally, I can think of other things, productive things, they could be doing instead of causing more division. But that’s their right and they need to realize that actions have consequences.

President Trump is a blow hard.  He fires people all the time.  When he calls for team owners to fire people, why are you surprised? That’s his knee jerk reaction to everything.  Heck, he’d fire Kim Jong Un if he could.

Here are some takeaways:

  • Don’t be shocked or feign shock when President Trump is outrageous.  Ignore him.
  • Don’t be shocked when NFL players don’t stand for the National Anthem. They are simpletons.  Their actions have consequences and there is no need to pile on.  Just stop watching.  Stop buying jerseys.  After all, at the end of the day, they love money. Hit them where it hurts.
  • Be consistent.  You know what peeves me? People who talk during the National Anthem? Men who don’t remove their hats during the National Anthem.  Look around you during the National Anthem.  Does everyone take it seriously?  Let me just say that a 15 year old boy who is joking around and sporting his ball cap during the National Anthem is looking for a throat punch. So, do you say anything when you see that?  Maybe it’s your kid?  Maybe it’s you being a jerk? Check your own behavior and be just as outraged when it’s the college student who is running her mouth next to you.
  • Ask yourself, “Why are they protesting?” If it’s legit, research.  Read.  And do something in your sphere of influence.  That’s how change happens.

And I will leave you with this.  For all the Christians out there:  Is your love for the flag and this country greater than your love for God?  How do you identify?  Do you think of yourself as a Christian or an American?  Do you identify yourself as just your race?   Because in all honesty, as a Christian, this is not your home.  What’s your focus? I’m seeing a lot of nationalism and identity politics and as Christians, we need to step away. Our first love needs to be Jesus Christ.  Always.  Ask God to reveal the sin of idolatry in your life.  You might be shocked about what He shows you.

 

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Oaths, promises & codes of conduct

Jesus said in Matthew 5:33-37:

33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34 But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.[g]

Oaths.  Promises.  Codes of conduct.

Disclaimer:  First, I want to acknowledge my own shortfalls with keeping my word.  Not lying, per se.  But keeping my word in the eyes of God.  I don’t always do it and God forgive me for not doing it.  I’ve also fallen short in raising my children.  My girls wanted to give up the impossible for Lent this year—like t.v.  I compromised.  I messed up by giving them a pass.  As I tell them all of the time,  “What did you learn from it?”  and “Move on.”

Big news these days in the land of social media.  First there was the girl who violated a dress code at school and was suspended.  Apparently at the last minute she thew on a jacket but still reaped the consequences of her actions.  You see, girlie mouthed off to the school administrator and refused to obey the code of conduct which every single person in the school must follow.  Her disobedience led to her suspension.  And I saw the shirt.  Frankly, the real cause of suspension should have been her fashion choice.  But I digress.

Now the big doins’ is this–a pregnant teenager isn’t allowed to walk for graduation.  She attends a Christian high school.  Pro-lifers and feminists are all in uproar because *gasp* she must reap the consequences of her actions.  (Imagine that.  Pro-lifers in league with the feminists.)

Here’s a link to an article in the WaPo:   https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/a-christian-school-rejects-calls-to-let-pregnant-senior-attend-graduation/2017/05/24/5b798cbc-4090-11e7-9869-bac8b446820a_story.html?utm_term=.e55b7101f173#comments

And here’s a link to a letter on the website of Heritage Academy from the school administrator:  http://heritage-academy.net/

I tried to look on the Heritage website for a code of conduct but it looks like the website is currently restricted.  Probably because of the press and the bullies.

So, within the text of the letter, I found this reference to a pledge that every student must take: “The Student Pledge which every student from 5th grade through 12th grade signs states that this application of Philippians 4:8 “extends to my actions, such as protecting my body by abstaining from sexual immorality and from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs”. 

The young lady in question violated that pledge.  And, as a result she can’t walk on graduation day.  She does receive her diploma but without the Pomp and Circumstance.  Consequences.  Her defense is this–other kids have violated the code of conduct and they may have been suspended but they can still graduate.   Ah.  Life, dear girl, is cruel and unfair.  And we aren’t talking about everyone else.  We are talking about YOU.

Jesus said in Matthew 5 that oath taking is serious business.  Oath taking, promise making, following a code, especially in the context of a Christian school or lifestyle are serious to God. This young lady CANNOT walk at graduation.  She violated the pledge.  If she wants to play the “What about everyone else game?” that’s fine.  How should the young man or young woman sitting next to her feel when they realize that the Student Pledge (code of conduct) really doesn’t matter? Maybe they struggled with temptation and thought “I can’t do that.  I promised.”  Then their classmate saunters up on stage, pregnant, thumbing her nose at the severity of her actions, joining in the celebration.  Other kids may start thinking “What’s the point?  She got to walk.”

Bottom line is if you take an oath or sign an agreement or a pledge, you do the best you can to make good on it.  And, if you don’t, you suffer the consequences.  I think many Christians who have a problem with this have forgotten the importance of keeping one’s word.  It’s easy to rationalize or make excuses.  Yes, I’m glad she didn’t choose abortion.  But that doesn’t mean she is free and clear of consequences.  It does mean that her life is completely altered and there’s no going back.

Would I allow my child to walk?  Well, if my child attended a Christian school and she had taken that pledge, no. Just as she wouldn’t be attending prom or go out with friends every weekend. At some point, childish things must be put away.  For this girl at Heritage Academy, she chose to dabble in adulthood before she was prepared for all the consequences.  Her parents have swooped in to save her and have contacted the media.  Instead of involving the entire world, it would be wiser to “move on” and teach her that consequences don’t go away and those silly oaths and pledges she signed DO mean something.

I find it curious that she will be attending Bob Jones University.  I laughed out loud when I read that.  If you know anything about BJU, you know that school doesn’t take its code of conduct lightly.  If Maddi Runkle can’t uphold a student pledge at Heritage Academy,  following the BJU code of conduct is going to be impossible.

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Running to the empty tomb

John 20:1-10 (ESV)

20 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’[a]head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes

Mary.  John (the other disciple). Peter.  I am not sure what they expected that morning.  Just a few days earlier they were wading in the shallow waters.  Then, Jesus was crucified. Now these three are flailing in the deepest of waters of a nightmare.

Mary, John and Peter had began the life of the New Normal.  Their True North was gone. They were lost.

But Mary went to the empty tomb. What did she think she’d find?  Who did she think she’d find? A dead Jesus? A few Roman soldiers?  Certainly not angels.  Certainly not a huge stone rolled away, exposing the entrance. She came prepared to do something. But what more could be done or said?

Scripture says she ran. She ran to Simon Peter and John. Simon Peter, the disciple who took on a mob and John, the disciple Jesus loved.  “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb!”  John and Peter’s response?

They ran to the tomb.

There was no Jesus. John outran Peter.  And they both ended up at the entrance.  John didn’t enter right away.  Peter, however, didn’t hesitate to walk in. The Gospel of John tells us that they didn’t find a dead Jesus.  And the tomb didn’t appear to be a crime scene where robbers stole a body.  No, the strips of linen used to cover Jesus’ body were there and the linen which covered His face was not thrown carelessly to the floor.  It was folded up in a place by itself.

Folded.  Not thrown in haste.  Not wadded up in a ball.  But folded.

John (the other disciple) saw and believed.  It says that they didn’t understand the scripture, that Jesus must rise from the dead. But John believed.

What exactly did John believe?

All Jesus had told them had been fulfilled.  Old Testament prophecy had been fulfilled. The Lamb of God, perfect and sinless.  The tree.  The curse. The lots. The thirst.  The death.  The pierced side. And now the Resurrection.

John believed because he wanted to believe.  He believed because he trusted God and the Word of God. He had seen many miracles.  He had experienced the Transfiguration. Deep in his heart, John knew who Jesus was and was completely comfortable with the mystery of God.

Do you believe?

Do you look for the empty tomb or the dead body? Do you expect a crime scene or a folded up linen? Do you know the Risen King or the dead man?

Do you run? Why do you run? To win? What is the prize? Is it Truth? Is it bragging rights? What exactly do you expect to find? An empty tomb?  Or a dead man?

 

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