Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mining Treasure from what Jesus Said

Abel was a prophet !! See Luke 11:49, 52

Jesus was talking to the religious authorities of the day, and pointed out how they were guilty of neglecting justice and the love of God, and they were guilty of showing partiality, and when one them protested that Jesus’ words were offensive and insulting, Jesus continued pointing out their evil:

“Woe to you lawyers as well ! For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. Woe to you ! For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. Consequently, you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers, because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs. For this reason also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them will they will kill and some they will persecute, in order that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’ Woe to you lawyers ! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”

I just love it when Jesus clicks and drags Abel into history. Abel was murdered by his brother merely because Abel obeyed God’s command and did things God’s Way, and that made his brother mad, and jealous. Abel’s brother decided to be angry, and jealous. God even warned Abel’s brother about his crouching sin. And that is one of the first stories in Genesis. A thousand years or more before God invented the Jewish people, so we cannot claim that Jesus was just talking to the Jews. We are witnesses. We are either prophets or the ones who persecute the prophets. We are either those who help further the good news about Jesus, or we are the ones blocking the door and hiding the key. Take your pick. What are you??

When I read the Abel story in Genesis, it looks like Abel gets an unfair place. He did not ask for a brother with problems. Abel is probably not even his own mother’s favorite child. Abel’s job was with the stinky sheep. (Well, maybe sheep did not stink yet.)

And yet, God honors Abel with honorable mentions throughout the Bible. And God avenges Abel. God judges the murderer, and puts the world on notice that murder is wrong and that God is The Judge.

Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Hebrews 12:24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

Abel is pre-Mosaic Law. Abel is someone we will meet in heaven. What fun it will be to interview him, and ask what the world was like and how long he lived, and whatall did his parents teach him?

Will Jesus call me a prophet? Or a stumbling stone?

Will Jesus call me a prophet? His witness? Or a hindrance?

Will Jesus call me friend? Or foe?

And Abel, whatall have you been doing and seeing and learning for six thousand years of human history?

Abel was never a husband, never a dad. But, call him uncle, and mentor, and the first shepherd.

We serve an Awesome God who sees everything. Nothing is hidden from Him. He is our Righteous Judge. There is such Comfort with our God. He loves us and cares for us, and does not take kindly to those who think they are getting away with anything.

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