February 13, 2019- Trust Him. Jesus Heals-John 4:46-54

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So he (Jesus) came again to Cana in Galilee, where he had made the water wine. And at Capernaum there was an official whose son was ill.  When this man heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went to him and asked him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death.  So Jesus said to him, “Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official said to him, “Sir, come down before my child dies.”  Jesus said to him, “Go; your son will live.” The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went on his way.  As he was going down, his servants met him and told him that his son was recovering. So he asked them the hour when he began to get better, and they said to him, “Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.”  The father knew that was the hour when Jesus had said to him, “Your son will live.” And he himself believed, and all his household.  This was now the second sign that Jesus did when he had come from Judea to Galilee. John 4:46-54 (ESV)

Jesus performed many miracles when He was here on earth. The important thing to remember in this case of miraculous healing that Jesus didn’t heal to give signs and wonders so people would believe in Him.  The official already believed in Jesus, as did the centurion we hear of in Matthew 8.  Jesus’ miracles only served to prove to those who already believed that their faith in Him was well-founded.

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.” (Matthew 8:5-13)

Today we see still see miracles, but they are almost always performed through means- through the knowledge and hands of doctors or craftsmen or technicians. We believe that God works in and through means.  Physical healing is most often worked through surgical procedures or medications. Technological and scientific advances are the result of years of study and trial and error.  God’s work here on earth is almost always done through human minds and hands.

Even though forms of the miraculous go on today, the curse of the first death is still in effect. No matter what kind of physical healing a person may receive on earth, that healing is not permanent. The centurion’s servant in Matthew 8 eventually would have died, as would the official’s son in John 4.  Lazarus, who Jesus raised from the dead after he had been in the grave for days, already reeking of decomposition, eventually died as well.  Our physical bodies will die no matter what kind of effort and toil we put into preserving them. We will suffer disease and decay for which ultimately there is no cure. Every single one of our hearts will lose that tiny electrical signal that keeps them beating. We will lose our loved ones for a time to temporal death, and we will grieve them.

We believe Jesus for far more than temporary bodily healing. God does not always grant bodily healing in this life. Our ultimate healing is going to happen in the life to come, when we pass from death into eternal life.  We can believe Jesus that in the life to come our bodies will be healed and made perfect, without decay or aging or fault.  We share in His resurrection.  Jesus, who made the blind see, who raised Lazarus from the dead, is faithful.  Our trust in Him is sure.

July 24, 2017- Fools Are Everywhere, Talk Is Cheap, but God Has the Power- Proverbs 14:7, 1 Corinthians 4:20, 2 Corinthians 4:6-8

ship of foolsLeave the presence of a fool, for there you do not find words of knowledge. Proverbs 14:7 (NRSV)

For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.- 1 Corinthians 4:20 (NRSV)

For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.- 2 Corinthians 4:6-8 (NRSV)

Anyone who follows any kind of TV drama, or even who watches the news, will learn that talk is cheap. It’s easy to learn how to talk a good game.  Politicians attempt to color themselves as the best thing out there since sliced bread.  Athletes put on the swagger- and the smack talk- before key sports events.  However, in the end, only actions and results stand the test of time.

We live in an era of instant information and instant gratification, but how much “information” is really just foolish babbling? How do we know what information is edifying (things we need to know) and what information we should just let pass by?

Much of what we know to be good science and history are backed up in Scripture, even though Scripture was never intended to be a science or a history textbook. Many things science once thought to be “fact” have later been proven to be completely wrong- based on erroneous assumptions or conclusions drawn before all of the evidence was considered.  We now know the world is round, not flat.  We know that germs cause disease, not “miasmas” or “bad air.” We are slowly discovering that the archeological record backs up many of the events portrayed in the Bible.  Humans don’t always do the greatest job figuring out things, or getting to the truth.

Pontius Pilate remarked, when Jesus was brought to him for judgment, “What is truth?-“(John 18:38) as if truth were something that is arbitrary and subjective as we humans can be.  Many times we can be fools.  Many times we just go with society’s flow, or go dancing around to whatever tune sounds good today.  We aren’t always noted for the words of knowledge that leave our lips, or come forth from our pens or keyboards.

The apostle Paul was very aware that God’s kingdom is built on God’s power- not on the power of weak and fallible humans, but real power. Power that transforms and makes things-and people-new.  Even in spite of our fragility and weakness, God finds a way to shine through us.

Are we living in and trusting in God’s power today? Even when we seem to be sailing on a ship of fools, and the words and so called wisdom of the prevailing culture tell us to do otherwise?

 

 

May 12, 2017 -What Difference Does It Make? Psalm 19:1-4

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The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.  Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard;  Yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.- Psalm 19:1-4 (NRSV)

My son was never much for learning about anything he couldn’t see, feel and most importantly, apply. It was difficult to convince him of the importance of learning history, for instance, because he didn’t see events in the past as being relevant to his life.  To him it didn’t matter in the slightest who started World War I, or who was president in 1983- except that those events and those people in history really do affect his life.  We all live with the decisions and the consequences of the actions of others in the past.

Now that he is older and has taken much interest in engineering and physics (things one can generally see, feel and apply) he has learned that in some way, even though it might not be readily noticeable or even perceptible, everything affects everything else in some way. One of the major quests in theoretical physics today is something physicists refer to as the “Theory of Everything.”  Supposedly there is a magic equation that explains the birth, evolution and interaction of all time and space and matter, and so forth.  Perhaps it should be possible to prove in an equation that all creation is interrelated, but as people of faith we trust that it all comes forth from the same all powerful God.

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It is curious how science and religion are not so far apart, and how in so many ways they complement rather than contradict each other.

This is the reason why we study Scripture- so that we can connect to God’s story and carry it on. The lives of the people in the Biblical narrative are still touching and changing lives today, through us.  God moves and works in and through His people.  This is part of the Good News of the Gospel, that because Jesus has risen and defeated death and the grave, we are free to live too.

For good or for ill, we are all part of the same creation. What we do and who we are matters.  God created us for a distinct purpose.  God the Creator is clearly revealed in His creation.

How is God being revealed in our lives today?