Go Home

a great many people… got together and asked Jesus to leave – too much change, too fast, and they were scared. So Jesus got back in the boat and set off. The man whom he had delivered from the demons asked to go with him, but he sent him back, saying, “Go home and tell everything God did in you.” So he went back and preached all over town everything Jesus had done in him.

Luke. 8:38-39 (The Message)

A Twinkle in His Eye?

‘They came again to Jerusalem, and as [Jesus] was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders came to him, and they began saying to him, “By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?”

Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John—was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me.”

They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we should say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’ If we should say, ‘From men’”—they feared the people, for all held John to really be a prophet. They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”’

Mark 11:27-33 (WEB)

These people kept on and on and on bugging Jesus, trying to trip Him up so they could find something to knock Him down with (a bit like the tabloids nowadays?). They never did find anything. Jesus always, always responded with truth, mercy, compassion, wisdom, knowledge and, I like to think, a little bit of humour. Take the above, for example, I like to imagine a twinkle in the eye with that final sentence, not quite a wink, but a definite glimmer of humour, perhaps a raised eyebrow and a wry smile; kindly, funny, stern, honest, authoritative – all at once.

I’m continuing listening to the Librivox free (public domain) recording of the New Testament, read by ordinary volunteers. I’ve listened all the way through the Gospel of Matthew, and am now in the middle of Mark. Listening has brought about whole new levels of awareness of the oh-so-familiar text. I’m particularly struck by the way Jesus is described during His time of ministry (if that is what one can call it): He was relentless.

Dear Lord

Make me more like You.

Amen

Lent: Solid Food

We have been to a few churches locally and, while each has had its positives and its negatives, the biggest common detractor is the quality of teaching. It is clear that there are many people who would consider themselves as Christians for many years whose spiritual growth and wisdom is, frankly, stunted.

I don’t seek to judge. I seek… a Church that strives and thrives and lives and loves with enthusiasm for every aspect of belief. Why is it so common in English churches to find spiritual baby food served up every single week? Imagine what we could do for Christ if only we were willing to go deeper.

‘There is a great deal that we should like to say… but it is not easy to explain to you since you seem so slow to grasp spiritual truth. At a time when you should be teaching others, you need teachers yourselves to repeat to you the ABC of God’s Revelation to men. You have become people who need a milk diet and cannot face solid food! For anyone who continues to live on “milk” is obviously immature—he simply has not grown up. “Solid food” is only for the adult, that is, for the man who has developed by experience his power to discriminate between what is good and bad for him.’

Hebrews 5:11-14 (Phillips)