At some point in my ministry I became more and more fascinated with the person of Jesus. Much of my church life had left me with a view of him as an antheral, otherworldly type, with just enough humanity to keep him on the ground. I think leaving that view in people’s minds is an insult to the man he was.
Therefore, I want to stretch our thinking by looking at what Jesus did know, what he did not know, and what he seems to say he wanted.
What did he not know? We are told in Luke 2 that he “grew in wisdom and stature.” In Matthew, Mark and Luke say when asked about what Jesus warns is coming, he replies that no one knows, including him. Only the Father knows. These warnings, read carefully, refer to the destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in AD 70. Even though Jesus could see the storm clouds forming, even he did not know the exact time. If you insist on extending these verses to the end of time, the result is still the same. In Hebrews it says Jesus “learned by the things he suffered.”
What did he know? He knew the will (reign/kingdom) of God was to come on the earth. He prayed, “May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” He said in Lk. 4, quoting Isaiah, that the spirit of the Lord was on him and had anointed him to preach good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners, sight to the blind, release the oppressed and proclaim it was the year of the Lord’s favor. In Lk.11:20, he said if he cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of god was here. What does it appear he wanted? For God’s will to be done on earth and that he was here to make it happen.
Did he want to overthrow Rome by force? No. He said the kingdom of God was like a mustard seed which grew quietly. He said the kingdom was like yeast, which also worked from the inside. He said the kingdom was inside of us. And yet, he often does things which seem to be forming an army of resistance. When he fed the five thousand men in Mk.6, he had them sit in groups of fifty and a hundred, which was the way troops were divided. When he feeds the multitude in Jn 6, the crowd saw this as sign that he was the to led them as a military king.
When he looked at Jerusalem and said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often have I longed (wanted) to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing”, did he mean it? (Mt.23.37) Did he come to try, or to die trying? Did he know it was hopeless, or did he think he might have a chance?
From where we stand, we have a hard time imagining he believed he could bring about the will of God on earth. But all through his life and teaching, he taught about how the will (kingdom) of God was supposed to be…on earth.
He knew, as all the prophets before him, that God’s will for the earth was not about military force. I haven’t done an exhaustive search, but I can’t find a prophetic book that says war will restore God’s will in Israel. All of them speak of mercy and justice, in one way or another. Jesus know the Messianic goal was as a reformer. Someone to whom the people would listen to and follow. He also knew all prophets suffered for their message, sometimes even dying. Did they hope they would be heard, or did they know they would fail? Why do it if you know it will make no difference. The joke on Jonah is that he wanted to fail at Nineveh, but succeeded. The irony of that story should not be lost on us.
As for me, looking at the man Jesus, I think from what I read, that he hoped the Jews would listen, and that from Jerusalem to the rest of the world, the will of God on earth would be spread, as the prophets like Isaiah and others had said. As his story unfolds, for awhile, thousands believed his message. At some point, however, as was the result of all reforming prophets, he saw the cross as a possibility if he kept on proclaiming the will of God. Should he give up? Should anyone give up because they reach the place they know they may not complete the work to be done? That’s not the way we move forward. Jesus may have come to the place he knew God’s will would not be complete in his lifetime. But he never stopped trying to bring it about. In fact, he realized that it takes the supreme sacrifice to make it happen.
Will the will of God succeed? It’s up to us.
Keith is starting his retirement, but will be working part time during the transition period as the church decides future plans. Therefore, following issues of the bulletin may contain reprints from years past. This will mean some changes in the mailing list.
THOSE TO SERVE IN ARIL
Announcements: Mike Branch
Serve Communion: Connie Crites
Usher: Erma Williams
Communion Care: Blessings
7-Del Bolin Martha Albert
14-Scott Blessing Mark McRoy
21-Karen Branch Debbie McRoy
28-Del Bolin Susan Jordan
7-Abraham Sirgy Susan Phlegar
14-Wayne Flora Susan Jordan
21-Abraham Sirgy Holly Wagner
28-Keith Wagner Connie Crites
If you cannot serve, call Erma Williams
23-Maggie Foy 25-Del Bolin
CONCERNS: Jeff and Sherry Bland have had flu-like symptoms. Debbie McRoy has back surgery in the near future. Those are suffering from cancer and under treatment are Judy Powell and Harold Clark, (Jo Wagner’s sister and cousin), Ray Barns, (pray for his wife, Darnell) Teryn Gaynor’s mother, (Teryn’s step-father has advanced Parkinson’s). Ray and Debbie Reiss’ son-in law, David. Debbie McRoy’s cousin’s husband, Prentice Alsup, and Deanna McRoy. Others with health issues are Jim Hunter, Jamie Cole,(Joni Beach’s niece) Donte McCadden, a CF patient, The parent(s) of Wayne Flora, The Beach’s and Del Bolin. Gary Overstreet, Sheila Jansen and daughter, Amber Weaver. Remember, Amber was paralyzed in an accident years ago and cannot speak. Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
IF A TREE FALLS ON A SWING SET, DOES STATE FARM HEAR IT?
(State Farm is used only as an example) A pine tree from our property fell on a neighbor’s swing set up on Laburnum. They called to see what we could do. As you may know, it’s “An act of God” which means nobody is responsible according to insurance companies. Wayne Flora went to the home and with the owners help, cut up the tree. Thanks Wayne. You were like a good neighbor, you were there..
Our own Bonnie Blessing took home the first prize ribbon for the Viewers Choice Award at the Burgland Center Quilt Show. Each attendee was given material in which a slip of paper was to show the most liked. Bonnie’s won. It was a four year project with about 7,400 hand-stitched pieces. Way to go Bonnie!
JONATHAN DENSBY RETURNING
The Steering Committee has invited Jonathan and his family to return. He will be speaking on Easter Sunday, March, 21.
The steering committee needs feedback from the congregation about Jonathan. If you were not hear when he spoke last time, it can be heard on the church face Book page.
SPRING CLEAN-UP DAY
We are looking at a date this month for a clean-up day at the building. April 20, or some later date is suggested.
Alisa Flora is in Alabama, visiting with her sister, Melanie. She will return this week.
Easter falls on Super Sunday this year. Plan to stay for the fellowship meal following Jonathan’s sermon.