John 7 – Who Are We Looking For?

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In the time of Jesus, there was a considerable amount of unrest within the Jewish community; they were on the hunt for a Savior.  In fact, between the time of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament (mid 500s B.C.), and the time that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans (70 A.D.), several people rose up as prospective messianic figures and whose rebellions were summarily snuffed out.  Suffice it to say, the people were on the lookout for a Savior.

When Jesus comes on the scene, He works miraculous signs, fulfilling Scripture left and right, and teaching with an authority much greater and more pronounced than the other religious leaders.  We see that something sets Jesus apart by the comments that the people make about Him.  Many are impressed by His teachings while others are extremely threatened by Him.

One of the reasons that the Jews were looking for a Messiah was because of the cultural and political climate that was present in that time.  Roman rule and oppression had been going on for years but the Jewish people had a vision of a “restored kingdom,” like that of King David, and thought that the prophesied Messiah was going to rise up to overthrow the oppressive regime and restore Israel to its former glory.

Sound familiar?  The current state of the U.S. and the political climate of the 2016 presidential election seems to have taken on some of the same themes.  No matter the political affiliation that you hold, many are angrily looking for someone to be America’s “savior.”  We seem to be willing to listen to just about anything that offers some semblance of hope.

Sadly, doing this relates us more closely to the Pharisees, those who doubt Jesus’ identity, than to His disciples, those who follow Him.



Matthew 20 – Equality

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This could arguably be the least popular text in Matthew, at least in the U.S.A.  We are the land of the “American Dream,” where anyone can work hard and be rewarded accordingly.  The harder one works, the more wealth, authority, and power one can acquire.  Writing this during the 2016 election cycle, no clearer picture could be painted of this reality.  Candidates tout their “desires” to help all people, that all would benefit from their leadership, and yet their actions and drive for more wealth and power show no real concern for they seek to lead.

Jesus illustrates the paradigm of true equality in the parable of the vineyard, a story that almost everyone who heard it in that day would have had an aversion to.  How is it possible for someone who worked an hour to get paid the same as one who works 12?

Once again Jesus takes on our notions of what is fair and equal, notions that are usually self-interested, and redefining them in light of God’s immeasurable grace and mercy.  As is always true, God’s ways are not our ways, and are often in direct opposition to human norms, the ways we tend to opperate.

In a culture and time when cries for freedom and equality ring louder than ever, we all most recognize that God’s definition of equality far surpasses those of any social movement.  Indeed true equality has nothing to do with money, status, or even race, but in the reconition of where we stand before God as sinners saved by grace alone.  This understanding of God’s indescriminate love for everyone, and His call to love as He loves, must be the basis and the imputus for our desires of equality and justice for all… in the truest sense of what that means.