Thursday, December 18, 2014

The more things change
the more they stay the same.

Luke 23:6-12 tells of when Jesus was brought
before Herod.
Herod Antipas, that is.

Just 33 years earlier 
Herod the Great
had sought to kill Jesus.

Neither guy was effective in 
squelching this "Jesus" thing.
The first guy had a lot
of innocent baby boys killed.
The second one chickened out
and passed the buck. 

Where's the Christmas in this story?
I'm not sure but I'm drawn to the 
concept of 
"squelching" Jesus.

Our society is doing it's best to
take the Christ out of 
There, is a movement of 
"Jesus is the reason for the season."
But even that falls short.

Jesus is bigger than the season.
 He was not sent to fulfill mankind's
need for a celebration. 
Jesus was sent to save the world from it's sins.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The King Comes

"Are you the King of the Jews?" Pilate asks. (Luke 23:3)

Well, there's no denying that!  A star shone above His birthplace guiding other kings to come worship Him.  And if the star wasn't doing a good enough job, angels lit the sky with both their brilliance and their singing, proclaiming "Glory to God in the Highest" (Luke 2:14)  Shepherds came running from the hills to see the new born King.

Just the week before Pilate's question the people made a spectacle of Jesus as He road into town on a donkey.  They placed their coats on the ground in front of Him, waved palm branches before Him and shouted, "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!"  (Luke 19:38)

"Are you the King of the Jews?"  Seems like a silly question, doesn't it?

But just in case someone might miss it, Jesus answers affirmatively.

Heralded King at birth.
Accused of kingship 33 years later.
Guilty as charged.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Luke 22:54-71

Peter went from 
Disciple (follower of)
to Apostle (one sent forth).

Yet his one colossal failing
in life is recorded for all time.
Jesus told him he would deny him
three times and he did.
But what is also recorded for all time is the man
he became. 
Peter went on to be the first to
on the day of Pentecost.
He went on to be one of the 
 apostles of all. 

Shepherds were pretty much the lowest of the low
when it came to the social hierarchy of Jesus' time.
Think homeless people on the street.
God chose them to receive the 
message from the angels
of the babe in the manger.
Luke 2:9
"And the angel of the Lord appeared to them.."
Luke 2:17
.."and when they had seen him they spread the word..."

The shepherds went from
the depths of the social chain
Heralds for our Lord.

I think God is showing me, yet again, 
that he can use the least of these.
My failings are no excuse to 
hold back from proclaiming our Lord.

He used a 
frightened man, 
homeless people,
a baby in a manger.
He can use me. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Christmas Kiss

I have 3 sons and 5 grandboys.  I cannot count the number of times I have kissed each them:  their button noses, their fresh from the bath squirmy toes, their skinned knees, adolescent broken hearts, their celebrations and their fears in the night.  No matter how old they get, I want my kiss to heal whatever ails them.  I've been at it long enough to know it doesn't always work, but I've been at it long enough to know to try.

Jesus was the recipient of just such kisses, too, starting in the manger and continuing though out his life.  I can't imaging it any other way.  Mary loved her son.  I'm sure she said "love" and "support" and "belief" with a kiss for all of her Son's 33 years of earthly life.

But the Christ's only kiss recorded for generations to come is the perverted one from His betrayer.  Even Jesus seems to be incredulous, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" (Luke 22:48).  His friend broke the universal unwritten law against perverting a kiss for something evil.

It started with a kiss on a baby peach fuzzy head.
The end starts again, with same but twisted gesture.

It's in our Christmas Story.
It's our Christ Story.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Luke 22:39-46
This passage brings us to 
The Mount of Olives.
I think this might be the time
Jesus is the most human to me.
"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me..."

Jesus knew what lay ahead of him, 
I think this one verse shows how human he was
and yet how divine, 
"..yet not my will, but yours be done."

Mary and Joseph weren't facing an agonizing
death, few of us are called 
to that level of obedience.
But they were being called out of their comfort zone,
and by all accounts they rose to the occasion. 

Luke 1:38, 
"I am the Lord's servant. 
Let it be with me as you have said."
Was Mary's response.
Joseph meant to divorce Mary quietly
until an angel came to him and told him 
.."do not be afraid.."
Joseph took Mary home as his wife.

Very seldom ,does it seem, that I am 
called out of my comfort zone to 
exercise my obedience.

My prayer is, 
Lord, your will, not mine, be done, 
I am the Lord's servant, 
I will not be afraid.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Too Predictable Prediction

Luke 22:31-38 tell us about Jesus prediction that Simon Peter will betray Him three times.  Pete is incredulous - it won't happen!  He will follow his Lord to prison or death!  Sometimes, for Pete's sake, I wish he was right.  But then, we would have missed a sorely needed illustration of redemption.

I guess I could tie this back to Herod, the ultimate Christmas bad guy.  But he never toppled from his best intentions - his intentions were never that good.  If a Bethlehem shepherd was
at the Crucifixion, maybe.  When they left the manger, "they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child." (Luke 2:17) But that's not really the same thing thirty three years and a lifetime later.

What I really see in my Christmas story, and my Easter one, too.  I see my resolve shattered by fear in the blink of an eye.  I hear the words resounding in my head, the ones I should say but don't.  I feel my feet moved to action as I sit idly by.  And I feel, with grateful shame, the grace of my Savior:  "And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."  (Luke 22:32b)

The gift I really need.
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Jesus teaches us over and over again,
don't get too full of yourself.

Today's verses have a lot
to say,
Luke 22:14-30.
It's a good size chunk. 
But the one piece of a verse that speaks to me,
is in verse 26,
"...the greatest among you should be like the youngest..."
Jesus came to earth a
conquering hero.
Jesus was/is the 
among us.
Jesus was God's 
perfect gift.

Jesus came as 
a baby.