Posts Tagged ‘example’

A Strange Expectation

When I look at the lives of our Biblical heros, I realize that most church folk don’t understand what being a Christian is really about (yes, I’m talking about my own practice as much as anyone else’s).

 For example, when the Greek philosophers in Athens heard the Apostle Paul speak, they called him a babbler. When Jesus came teaching, he was criticized by the established teachers for not living according to their code of conduct. What I’m noticing here is that neither Paul nor Jesus acted according to society’s expectations.

This is right in line with what Jesus said in Luke 6:22-26: “Blessed are you, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate from you, and reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for in the same manner did their fathers unto the prophets… Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for in the same manner did their fathers to the false prophets.”

God doesn’t expect the faithful to fit in with the worldly. Check out the Sermon on the Mount, especially Matthew 5:20-48. Note Jesus’s expectation that his followers will never speak ill of anyone else, even when they “deserve it.” He expects us to work hard at living peacefully through trying situations rather than try to get out of them. He expects us to NEVER go back on our word, never retaliate or seek revenge, and treat all people with respect AND compassion. That’s ALL people; even those that have mistreated us!

In other words, being a follower of Christ means being radically different from the people around us who aren’t his disciples. I don’t think many of us have lived that concept.


Still Thankful

I was still thinking of thanksgiving as I read my Bible this morning and today’s schedule happened to include Matthew’s short description of Jesus being baptized by John (Matthew 3:13-17). I am thankful that we have the wonderful example of Jesus’s life. He has laid out the race we should run (Hebrews 12:1-2). We are to have the same mind as he did (Philippians 2:5), to love as he did (Ephesians 5:2) and to act as he did (John 13:15). And his baptism is part of that exemplary life.

In Jesus’s baptism we have a simple but powerful display of how he planned his days. “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus said this in response to John’s protest: “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

It was true–John was baptizing penitent sinners and Jesus certainly was not a sinner. But Jesus had come to earth to follow God’s will in all respects. Since John’s baptizing was God’s will, Jesus would follow the command, even though he had no sins that needed to be remitted.

Often we are moved by a desire to prove that we are right. It matters not how trivial the issue, we demand to be seen as right. Here Jesus relinquishes his claim to rightness–even though he is the only one that could have claimed it. The only thing that mattered to him was God’s will fulfilled.

I’m thankful for this example. I often think that I know better how to do certain religious things, but here is Jesus, who certainly could have come and taken over for John rather than submitting to him, but didn’t. I need to submit to God’s will, not take over. I need to hear his commands for my life and not make excuses for ignoring them. I need to accept the wisdom of God’s instructions even if I can’t understand it right now. I need to practice what the apostles taught even if it doesn’t seem to fit society’s politically correct view of things.

Father, Thank you for Jesus and his wonderful example. And help me be more like him today. Amen.