True Power

True Power

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday?

Today is a day of remembrance. A time in which Christians reflect back to a day of torture and torment for one man proclaiming a new way of life; a new life after death.

He began a ministry to the poor, the rejected, the disabled, the ostrasized, and included women in a way society had never allowed. He railed against those religious leaders who misused their position of power (Matthew 23:13-29):

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”

“Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater; the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gift on it, he is bound by his oath. You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or he altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, he who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And he who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwell in it. And he who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law---justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!”
“You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”

Jesus' ministry was a ministry of life, of everyday living. It was not something adorned every morning or displayed in the presence of others; it was who you were day in and day out, a life style.

We say on this day that it was 'good' such a man came, gave his life to show us a better way. But many of us do not choose to live the exampled way of salvation. We pick and choose what we want to do as it fits into our chosen life style. We adjust the ministy of Jesus to parallel our lives instead of adjusting our lives to parallel Jesus' ministry. This is why and how we have so many interpretations of the Bible and so many different denominations.

On this day of the ultimate final blood sacrifice we should reflect on what we. as Christians. have gained through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

1. We have been freed from the excuse, "It is too difficult and impossible to live a Christian life on earth."
2. We have gained the knowledge and joy that true persecution isn't a couple of people talking about you or sneering at you when you pray or worship God, but persecution is the ultimate price of death; which we do not encounter in the United States.
3. We have the assurance that this life does hold its pitfalls and sadness for all who inhabit it, Christian and non-Christian alike, but Christians awake to a brighter day after death of splendor and glory.
4. We have learned that with righteous choices in life, comes great opposition and fear. You can be heralded on one day and dispised by the masses the next day. It is the heart of forgiveness that enables compassion and peace. Jesus and Stephen uttered powerful words as they were murdered by the masses: "Forgive them Father for they know not what they do."
5. Finally, you have a clear purpose for your life above all other purposes. You have been given the task and ability to show others the way to salvation. This is an honor and priveledge which unites all Christians in brotherhood. All other purposes pale in comparison to this purpose.

It was the willingness of Jesus and his followers to choose an unpopular life style, to endure the threat of death, and to say: "no matter what is going on around me, I choose God," this stance allowed Christianity to grow, flourish, and last for centuries. Justice, mercy, and faithfulness in everyday living is more effective than any speech given by today's Christian.

As everyone prepares their Easter finest suit, dress, and hat; as Easter eggs are dyed and meals are prepared, as church building fill to over flowing, it will be the daily life style lived by the individual that will speak to all the on-lookers.

Will their response be:"Woe to you, you blind guides, you hypocrites?"


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