Luke 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.”
This passage leads me to believe that Satan continued to besiege the Messiah with temptations. Perhaps the greatest of which was justice: for it is known even among many non-believers that Peter disowned the Christ three times. His deeds deserved desertion as well; he should have been sifted and blown away with the chaff.
But God upholds mercy as the greater value. While we as humans have gotten a pretty good hold on justice and even love it to a certain degree (Look at Iron Man and Punisher as wildly popular forms of media that exemplify this) grace is not understood or easily practiced. There is no social norm that makes us believe forgiveness “should” happen and it often goes against the results of our studies of human behaviors. Spare the rod, spoil the child.
But I stray from the verse. The point I was making is that Satan continues to interact with Jesus throughout his life, but isn’t often mentioned. What other personal struggles did Jesus face? How often was he reminded of the divine power at his fingertips and the iniquity of those he came to save? To imagine the onslaught of the ethereal as well as the corporeal that our Savior faced, I am amazed by even just my imagination. I shudder to think what actually happened.
Our God is an awesome God.
So… I’m finally writing again.
I probably should have realized long ago that nothing will ever really slow down and that waiting for things to get less crazy doesn’t accomplish anything. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn over and over and over again. > <;
Anyway, I’m finally making this a priority, so now it’s getting done.
After the defeat of the Amalekites, King David returns to Bethlehem and decides to bring the Ark of the Covenant with him. But one of the bearers, Uzzah, reaches out to steady the Ark when the oxen stumble. For his irreverence, he’s struck dead. For the longest time I was really squicked by this,
because it seemed like Uzzah’s intentions were good; he didn’t want the Ark to be dropped on the ground. HOWEVER: that is a rule that humans made up. What does it really matter if the Ark got dropped on the floor? God made no rules against it touching the ground. That’s just something that we
think of as dirty. In reality, it is we who are unworthy to touch and who sully the Ark.
I was reminded of this when I read the “Healing at the Pool” at the beginning of John 5. When Jesus heals the lame man and tells him to carry his mat on the Sabbath, the Jews who see him tell him he’s breaking the law. When he tells them that THE MAN WHO HEALED HIM told him to pick up his mat
and walk, their focus goes to the fact that there is a trouble-maker telling people to break the law. They are focused on the rules of man and not on the rules of God. For the intent of resting on the Sabbath was not to prevent people from acting, but to give them rest. I can only hope that I
will focus on the miracle if I see a man walking naked down the street who tells me that the woman who cured him of his blindness told him to take off all his clothes and walk home.
Zechariah is full of great stuff! Zechariah 7:1-10 is proof that the intent of the law was ALWAYS more important than the letter of the law. It is fairly clear to me that the answer that was given to the people was not intended for them, because they were unwilling to follow it from the start. Their attitude was what brought up the inquiry in the first: Do we really have to fast this month…? Both ears were searching only for one answer.
8:17 mentions God hating plotting evil against one’s neighbors and loving to swear falsely. I notice that it is the action that is singled out, and not those that perform the actions. Still, it is a little strange to me to see the word “hate” come from God. I must change my perspective.
Zechariah 9:9 is the announcement of the Messiah coming on a donkey, on the foal of a donkey. I don’t know why some people claim that some books are more strongly founded in God’s intent than others, but this is pretty god evidence that this book is directly in line with God’s will. How much more proof do you need than the Messiah fulfilling what it says about him?
Luke 2 talks about Jesus in the temple when he’s 12, staying behind as his parents go home. His response to his mother is what strikes me as interesting this time. After the scandal of his
immaculate conception, Jesus was a bastard. His parents must have raised him believing he was the son of Joseph, right? I mean, it would be a public disgrace to go around claiming that this was the
Son of God, tue though it may have been. Yet even so, Jesus, only twelve years old, tells them that God is his father. It is no wonder that Mary treasures this in her heart as she sees the work and
plan of God unfolding.
Acts 10 devotes one sentence to the death of James, the brother of John. He was put to death by the sword at the order of Herod. It makes me think back to their request of Jesus to sit at his right
and left in the Kingdom. For James dies for the sake of the gospel, but Peter is saved by an angel. What then, happens to John the son of thunder? Have I just been reading over it without paying
Hosea 13 ends with a terrible threat of destruction, one that really is appalling to me. “their pregnant women ripped open.” I can think of no worse thing than to brutally murder a mother and child
who are completely defenseless and vulnerable because of each other. It’s such a humbling and beautiful relationship that I’ll never fully understand, and if there are things in the world that are
so, then truly this is sacred. To have men possessed with such evil that they would tear pregnant women apart stirs such powerful emotions in me… it leads into the question; are there justified
reasons for using violence against people performing evil?
Starting to get back into the swing of things. It’s important to have good habits in place so that when I fall out of them I can get back into them easily enough.
Mark 14 is the last supper in which Jesus tells the Disciples that one of them will betray him. To a man, they ask “Surely not I?”. So there is none of them that was so confident in themselves that they KNEW, EVEN WITH GREATER THAN 9/10 ODDS IT WASN’T THEM it could still be them. This is remarkable because these men went on to be martyrs for God, dying to spread the Gospel. Two things I wish for myself: one, that I never look with disdain on those that have doubt, to include myself and two, that I someday may yet be used to earn a crown to throw at the feet of our glorious savior.
Acts 9 is the conversion of Saul. The story progresses pretty quickly, because it’s fairly cut and dry the way Luke tells it. The gravity of one line is immense though; 9:9 “For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.” Saul’s fasting is indicative of the struggles he was facing. Can you imagine the thoughts going through his mind at that time? He’d just done horrible evil thinking he was serving God and got a personal rebuke by God. His sight was taken from him, immobilizing and essentially reducing him to a beggar. After such a clear rebuke, he would not take food or drink, like the severe remorse that causes one to seek penance in any fashion it is available. 72 hours. Sheesh… I hope I never have to get slapped back on course so hard. Yet only as You will, o God, not I.