It’s not just a great political slogan. It’s the Gospel truth. We are the ones for whom we have been waiting to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ and serve actively in His Kingdom!
Christians are to see themselves as in exile, but also are to do good to those around them. How do we most effectively serve Jesus in the community? His parable of the good Samaritan provides the way.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
And he said unto him, “What is written in the law? how readest thou?”
And he answering said, “‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.'”
And he said unto him, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said unto Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus made answer and said, “A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance a certain priest was going down that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And in like manner a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
And on the morrow he took out two shillings, and gave them to the host, and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee.’
Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers?”
And he said, “He that showed mercy on him.”
And Jesus said unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise” (Luke 10:25-37).
Jesus is to be Lord of the church. The church is to embody Jesus to the world. Do we reflect the love of God in Christ to one another and to the world? How else can the world know of Him?
The Western world is in a crisis of authority. We are skeptical of all authority except our own. It has not always been so, but the way authority has been used and abused is an age old story. A way out of the crisis exists, but it is surprising and not very easy.
Israel had followed the customs of the nations. To Elijah, they limped between two opinions. Israel could not waver; they had to choose whom they would serve.
So Ahab sent unto all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together unto mount Carmel.
And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said, “How long go ye limping between the two sides? if YHWH be God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.”
And the people answered him not a word.
Then said Elijah unto the people, “I, even I only, am left a prophet of YHWH; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men. Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under; and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on the wood, and put no fire under. And call ye on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of YHWH; and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God.”
And all the people answered and said, “It is well spoken.”
And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, “Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under.”
And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us.”
But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar which was made.
And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, “Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked.”
And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them. And it was so, when midday was past, that they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening oblation; but there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
And Elijah said unto all the people, “Come near unto me;” and all the people came near unto him.
And he repaired the altar of YHWH that was thrown down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of YHWH came, saying, “Israel shall be thy name.”
And with the stones he built an altar in the name of YHWH; and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed. And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid it on the wood.
And he said, “Fill four jars with water, and pour it on the burnt-offering, and on the wood.”
And he said, “Do it the second time;” and they did it the second time.
And he said, “Do it the third time;” and they did it the third time.
And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening oblation, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, “O YHWH, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O YHWH, hear me, that this people may know that thou, YHWH, art God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.”
Then the fire of YHWH fell, and consumed the burnt-offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.
And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “YHWH, he is God; YHWH, he is God.”
And Elijah said unto them, “Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape.”
And they took them; and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there (1 Kings 18:20-40).
Paul had never met the Colossian Christians; he nevertheless sought to strengthen them in their faith and assurance in Jesus. Jesus is the treasure of all knowledge and wisdom; we have no need to look elsewhere.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church; whereof I was made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which was given me to you-ward, to fulfil the word of God, even the mystery which hath been hid for ages and generations: but now hath it been manifested to his saints, to whom God was pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we proclaim, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ; whereunto I labor also, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
For I would have you know how greatly I strive for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, even Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. This I say, that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him, and established in your faith, even as ye were taught, abounding in thanksgiving (Colossians 1:24-2:7).
Life “under the sun” seems to be all about getting and maintaining power for one’s own benefit. The Lord Jesus insisted on the way of service and suffering to overcome the powers and principalities over this present darkness. The church has no business lusting for power; it must follow the path of its Lord.
For many, life is all about the here and now: the most recent news cycle, the belief that the present is superior to the past, and how this life is all there is to existence. The world lives by this ethic and acts accordingly. It cannot be so among the people of God.
Mary and Martha: beloved friends of Jesus. Theologically astute disciples of Christ. Not exactly how they have been remembered; the loss has been ours.
Mary Magdalene: first apostle of the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. A follower of Jesus. Few people have proven as controversial, all based more on later speculation than anything revealed in Scripture. What are we to make of Mary Magdalene?