Wednesday, June 25, 2014

BEWARE WHAT IS NEXT

I'm guessing a good number of us have been buttered-up at times in our lives only to be requested to perform some duty or challenge right afterward. It was no different for Jesus.

The first scene is the Baptism of Jesus (Matt. 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21,22; Jn 1:31-34). Whether or not Father God said, "This is my Son..." (Matthew 3:17) or "You are my Son..." (Mark 1:11; Luke 4:21-22), I imagine Jesus felt terrific hearing God The Father speaking these words about Him.
  • And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." (Mk. 1:11)
First, Father God declares familiar ownership. I personally love to hear my own dad say with pride - "There's my boy!"  

Second, God The Father proclaims His love for His Son. I imagine there are a zillion emotions that God could have conveyed to Jesus, but Love trumped them ALL! 

Thirdly, Father God is the only one in the universe that can wear pride the best! He takes pride in His Son and dotes on Him, therefore encouraging Him when He said - "with you I am well pleased."

Beware What Is Next.  In Jesus' case Matthew 4:1 says - Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Mark 1:12-13 describes the timing even more immediate by saying - At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

In this time of trial, Jesus combated the challenges of Satan with the written Word of God - which was really Jesus Himself spoken under the power of inspiration via the Holy Spirit to the writers of those passages He was quoting from (get your head around that one). When Jesus said, "It is written,....", He was basically saying, "I said..." AND THAT SETTLES IT.

The second scene is The Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13). With Peter droning on and on about building three booths (one for Elijah, Moses, and Jesus), Father God interrupts Peter to, in my opinion, set the record straight about who should be worshiped.
  • While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" (Matthew 17:5)
This declaration has the ingredients of the Baptism of Jesus with one extra bit of information that is followed by an exclamation point - "Listen to Him!" In this one sentence I can hear Father God raising His voice and saying, "Of all the people that have been born on earth and followed my will - this one here, my very own Son, whom I love and am well pleased - should be listened to!"

Wow! That would make me feel awesome! To have Father God approve of me and my message to humanity - it doesn't get any better than that! 

Beware What Is Next. Your fortitude and attitude could be challenged quickly. For Jesus, right after The Transfiguration, Matthew 17:14-18 records -
  • When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Wow! What a response to a bad situation. True - His generation was unbelieving and perverse, but to question "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?" delivers an air of/attitude of frustration. But Jesus did not allow the aggravation or frustration to lead Him to sin. Jesus still rebuked the demon and the boy was healed.

I don't know what, if anything, Jesus did before healing the boy in order to calm down and do His Father's will. Did He count to 10? Did He do some breathing techniques? Odds are He prayed. 

So, here is the challenge for us. It is not every time that we are buttered-up that a challenge looms right around the corner. However, should that very situation transpire you know Jesus has gone through it and passed with flying colors - SO THAT - we might go immediately to Him in prayer when we are going through what is next.