“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 26, NO. 19&20 – WHAT WAS THE WILL OF JESUS?
The question comes from what Jesus said in the garden before his death, “Not my will, but yours.” What was his will that was not done? What would he have preferred to do, and what would it have been like if his will was done?
The easy answer would be he preferred not to die. Of course. However, what was it that he would have done if his will to live would have been granted?
I ask the question because a passage I read in preparation for a sermon around Easter, suddenly took on a new light. It’s the words of Jesus as recorded in both Matthew 23 and Luke 13. From Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” These, and a few other passages are closely tied to his warning about the upcoming destruction of Jerusalem.
What caught my attention as I read the passage was that I never heard anyone ask if Jesus really meant what he said. Did he actually want Jerusalem to listen to him and follow his teaching about God?
Obviously, at some point in his ministry, Jesus realized the cross was inevitable, and he began to talk about it. But most Christians have been taught that Jesus knew the cross was his destiny all along, or at least from some point. Some would think at least at his baptism. And there is certainly scripture written after the fact, which would make an argument for the “foreknowing.” . I also realized the question of what was Jesus’ will takes us into a critical area. The area of his humanity, as well as the divinity we are presented with.
At least we could start with Matthew 34:36 where Jesus says he (the Son) did not know the time for the day and the hour, (in this case, the destruction of Jerusalem) but only the Father. However, what God knew that Jesus didn’t, is a whole different discussion. My question is about if Jesus really wanted Jerusalem to come to his teaching, and did he believe it was possible? Did he really believe his “calling” to them could have been a reality? Did he truly want that? Was that his will? The pain in his voice seems to say he was heartbroken. If he knew it was not the will of God, why “often long” for it? The “longing” would imply that it was Jesus’ will to bring Jerusalem (the nation, and the prophetic idea of the redeemed world) back to God. Of course, that would mean he would have been the Messiah on earth, the “consolation of Israel” as old Simeon said Jesus would be. Luke 2:22-32.
Most of the comments on the Matthew/Luke passage say (and I certainly haven’t read them all) something like “God had sent the prophets and others, but the Jews wouldn’t listen, so God sent his Son, and they rejected him as well, so God loved the world enough to die for it.” That doesn’t match one of Jesus’ parables similar to this, but it’s okey. That’s how we see it. But again, did Jesus want Israel (Jerusalem) to listen to him, or did God send Jesus on an impossible mission? Let that float around in your brain, because I’m not interested in the answer, at least not here and now.
What I’m interested in is what would the world look like if it had listened to Jesus. For a moment, don’t think about redemption from sin because of the cross. What would the world look like if the will of God was done on earth as it is in heaven. Let me restate that. Jesus said to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. So that is a legitimate request. Would it not also be the will of Jesus? Is that what Jesus did while he was alive? Is that what his will was, to bring the will of God into reality on earth? It would seem so to me.
We know how the story goes. Jesus dies and is resurrected. What happens to the will of God on earth, which was also the will of Jesus, as he stated when he lamented that Jerusalem would not do the will of God, which he also was trying to do? Shouldn’t we then continue to do God’s will on earth? Should we not continue to bring the world to the love of God? So I ask again: “What should the world look like if God’s will is done on earth?”
We can start by reading all the parables that Jesus told that start with, “The kingdom of God is like…” and do our best to take that lesson to the world in our attitude and actions.
For many Christians the church has been described as the kingdom of God. Well, the kingdom of God is much more than what might be called “the church.” However, for the sake of discussion, if the church is the kingdom of God, does it look like the kingdom of God as Jesus envisioned the kingdom of God?
The problem with the concept of the church being the kingdom of God is that it can cause the church to become the central focus and not God and Jesus. Therefore, the thing called church can look like a select group of people doing whatever it is that makes them have a particular identity that in and of itself might not be the characterizations Jesus used to describe his followers in God’s kingdom.
One of the positive signs I see in Christianity is more and more young people are interested in serving the less fortunate and getting involved in improving the lives of those who are in need. I see more and more the quote from Jesus, “Insomuch as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to me,”
On the other hand is a letter to the editor of a Recent Christian Chronicle concerning helping the poor. “Baptized followers of Christ who have the promised Holy Spirit living inside them are capable of incredible things–even in the midst of difficult circumstances; God has promised to take care of his children and does not wish them to be dependant on anyone but him.” So that’s what he thinks Jesus view of the kingdom of God is. He might want to read the Sermon on the Mount and the book of James for a start.
CONCERNS: Susan and Wayne Phlegar are dealing with various issues. Susan will have back surgery in July. Rich Crites continues treatment for cancer. Todd Baumgardner, Wayne Flora’s postmaster, is on dialysis due to diabetes. Kim (Hall’s) friend, Mary (Parkinson’s disease). Sue Huels’ the sister of Betty Foy and an aunt to Martha. Martha asks prayers for Sandra Anderson and Gil Richardson. Jan Overstreet is recovering from a fall, and Gary is still having vision and other problems. Hannah, a classmate of Garrett Lee Williams has responded to treatment for leukemia and will be able to return to school next year. Continue to remember Nick Nicklas, Jim Hunter, Walker Slusher, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mary Smith, Mildred Horn, (Marie Barnett’s mother) Marie and her family as they deal with their mother’s declining health. Mrs Matara, (the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter’s) and Brenda, a friend of Milisha Scruggs.
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 19-24
Monday: ! Peter 1:1-11
Tuesday: Luke 2:1-15
Wednesday: Proverbs 2:1-15
Thursday: Romans 15:1-13
Friday: I Thessalonians 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 115:1-18
OUR DAILY BREAD: MAY 26-31
Monday: John 15:12-27
Tuesday: ! Corinthians 13:1-13
Wednesday: John 6:35-51
Thursday: Matthew 17:14-23
Friday: ! Peter 5:1-11
Saturday: Psalm 125:1-5
CONSIDER THE CONVERSATION
a documentary on a taboo subject
The above is the title of the DVD which will be shown in the annex tomorrow evening at 7:00. As stated before, this film deals with facing the end of life and the issues that should
be addressed before that time nears.
Even though the Wednesday evening class previewed the film, it would be worthwhile for others to see as well. Some of you have invited friends and we need to know about how many, because there will be a break after the film and light refreshments served before a question/discussion period.
Today, May 18, is Super Sunday. That means a fellowship meal in the annex following the morning service. Plan to stay.
STEERING COMMITTEE MEETING
The steering committee will meet in the library following the meal
The contractor has been selected and approved for the renovation of the upstairs cry room/rest room. The work is scheduled to start on or about the 26th. There may be some “moving” around we can do to help clear the area, such as taking out one of the pews and the baby crib.
There will be some inconvenience while this is going on, so your patience is appreciated.
The “Spring Cleaning” day will be Saturday, the 23. It will involve trimming the shrubbery, cutting back the ivy from the parking area, as well as what is climbing the building. Inside work will consist of removing the old stucco from the wall in the communion preparation room. If you plan to work in the room, it can be rather dusty when the stucco comes off.