Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jesus' View of the Cross

From Communion on September 9, 2009

Without vision the people perish.

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.

A farmer, when plowing, finds an object on which to focus in order to plow a straight line.

When you drive, you do not look at the line beside the car, but instead on the horizon where you are headed.

Jesus, from the time He knew who He was, the Messiah, the Son of God, kept His eye on the goal for which He was destined – The Cross.

The first recorded event in the life of Jesus after His birth was when He went with His parents for the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.  It may have been there talking with the Priests and Elders in the temple that He became fully aware of His mission.  His response, when questioned by His parents concerning His whereabouts, was “I must be about My Father’s business … The Cross”

At His baptism by John, Jesus began His three year march toward Golgotha.

The Cross - in the wilderness, being tempted by satan, each time Jesus refused to give in because His destiny was compelling Him, overshadowing Him every moment.  I cannot yield to the temptation because My destiny awaits.

The Cross – with each disciple He chose, He was looking at the cross.  When He spoke to the multitudes, fed the 5000, healed the sick, rebuked the pious, it was all motivated by His view of the cross.

Every action Jesus made, by His own confession, was in response to what Father was doing.  Every word spoken was in response to what He heard Father say.  All of it – every thought, every act, was with The Cross in plain view.

We are here to celebrate what Jesus did through His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of Father.  The cup and the wafer symbolize that for us.  We do this to remember Him.

But more than that, we are here to remind ourselves of the call that is on our lives.  We are to live our lives with a constant view of our destiny, to become like Jesus; to do the things that He did – listen to Father and say what He says, and see Father and do what He does.

The Cross beckoned Jesus toward His appointment with it.  The Cross now empowers us and thrusts us forward to our appointment with Him.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Hebrew vs. Greek: Remembrance

There is a fundamental difference between Hebrew and Greek ways of thinking. A Hebrew mind would say, after having done something, “I now know about that.”

The Greek mind, however, would exclaim, “I now know about that”, after HEARING about it.

Why is this important to you and me? In 1 Corinthians 11:25 Paul exhorts us to “do this in remembrance…”

Look at the difference between how that word is defined in Hebrew and Greek. The Hebrew word means: “to mark so as to be recognized.” There is an implication of mentioning it. We see this in the command given by God to the nation of Israel before entering into the Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 4:9 (ESV)
9  “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—

The Greek, on the other hand, means simply: “to recall.” There’s a group of people in scripture specifically mentioned because they did not simply recall. The Bereans were given special honor in scripture as being “more noble” because the searched the scriptures to see if the things being taught them were correct.

We in the West are basically Greek-minded. We hear things and believe them. We then go about our lives as though we now “know” these things. We must be “doers of the word, not hearers only.”

Paul teaches us in Ephesians 1 & 2 that salvation is the process of becoming identified with Christ in these areas: His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right had of God. When Paul, in the book of Romans, says, “If you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth then you are saved”, he meant the same thing. You see, being saved is not just some “mental exercise” of seeing yourself being made the righteousness of God. Salvation is actually experiencing “being made” the righteousness of God.

When you can “mark in your life” that you died, that you buried your flesh, that you were resurrected to a new life, that you have ascended to where God dwells, and have taken you place at His right hand, you are saved. It’s not simply being able to “recall” a time when you filled out a card, or shook the preacher’s hand.

This time, communion, is give so that we can “mark”, again, the change that occurred when we became identified with the blood of Jesus, and became the recipients of His grace, resulting in the saving of our souls.