Friday, June 20, 2008

What Jesus Said

Re-reading the words Jesus spoke in Matthew again, I keep coming back to the verses right after “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6. As Christians we are often guilty of lifting verses out of context. And while the Lord’s Prayer is good, and memorized by almost everyone, it is good to read it in context every once in a while. And to be reminded:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal, for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

If therefore the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

At first, it looks like an analogy. Clear eye plus light equals whole body full of light. Bad eye? Why not blindness? If the light that is in you is darkness---is this talking about character?

The very next verse talks about: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

And now comes a lot about being anxious. And how: your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

God knows we need food, water, clothing.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The very next verse is the most quoted verse in all the world. If a person only knows one verse of the whole Bible, especially if that person does not want to dwell on the fact that there is a God with perfect standards, and to God we will all be accountable, then, they know this verse: Do not judge lest you be judged.

The very next verse says: For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (So, it looks like there is some judging going on, but do it fairly, knowing that you are not perfect either?)

And the whole next section confirms this in context. It does not say be apathetic about others and their problems. It does say, don’t be a hypocrite. First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. (it is not just a waste, but the danger of violent reaction---I had not noticed that part in a few readings through.)




Jesus reminds us. If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

And this is where we get the golden rule. Do unto others… however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Jesus warns us to beware the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

(and unless you observe and “judge” others fruits…)

Jesus tells us in Matt 8:11 that many shall come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven,…

So don’t let anyone say there will not be eating in heaven.

What will we say to Abraham and Isaac and Jacob? I read your stories in the Bible. I heard your stories preached. But, what was it like? And what do you think now as you see God fulfill all those promises He made to you?

Won’t heaven be fun? We will sit and learn and marvel.

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