Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Bethany Bullet - March 6, 2012

Most of us dislike ‘know-it-alls.’ The person, who has perfect knowledge of any topic, wants to explain in detail what it is they understand, and what it is you lack in understanding tends to drive us crazy. That is what makes it interesting – that most of God’s people, at some point or another (perhaps daily); tend to be ‘know-it-alls’…with God Himself.

Adam was the first, “The woman that YOU gave me…” but he was not the last. Practically every prophet at some point asked God to justify Himself. To explain why He allowed, didn’t prevent, or wasn’t around...the list is legion but the source ultimately was the same. The prophet’s opinion: that he knew what God should have done, how He should have done it, or how He failed to carry out His duties.

In the Gospel reading from Mark 8 for the second Sunday in Lent, we find the prophets joined by an apostle. Peter concludes that God, Jesus Christ, doesn’t understand His role and has not correctly calculated His course of action.

Whether Jesus’ ministry lasted 3 years, as John’s Gospel seems to indicate, or 1 year as Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s seem to indicate doesn’t really matter. The only reason I even mention it, is simply to point out that however long Peter has been with Jesus by the time of our text they are nearing the end of it. We are counting down to the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry in the flesh.

How long has Peter known and believed Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the Living God? I don’t know but I’m willing to bet for quite some time. Peter saw Jesus heal the paralytic in chapter 2 and heard the demons call Jesus the Son of God in chapter 3. He was with Jesus in chapter 4 when with 3 words spoken in 2 sentences “Quiet! Be Still! Jesus ended a squall. Peter was 1 of 3 others in chapter 5 who saw Jesus bring a dead girl back to life. He was 1 of 12 in chapter 6 that picked up basketfuls of leftovers after Jesus fed 5000. I don’t know how long Peter has believed Jesus to be the Christ but by the time of our text, I bet it has been for at least 80 verses if not many more. While Peter possessed the miraculous gift of faith that led him to confess Jesus as the Christ of God, he obviously lacked comprehension, understanding, and acceptance of God’s plan and purpose.

Immediately after his confession that Jesus is the Christ, Peter proceeds to excoriate Jesus for not acting Christ-like; at least not what Peter thinks the Christ would act like? Upon hearing Jesus say, “I will suffer much; I will be rejected; I will be killed!” Peter pulled the Lord aside to give Him an ear full. The one who knew who He (Jesus) was thought He (the Christ) didn’t know what He (God in human flesh) was doing so he took Jesus aside and rebuked Him, “Never Lord, that isn’t going to happen. That’s not the plan. There must be a different path and purpose.”

This text is for you. It is because we share a trait common with the first of us (Adam and Eve) and the best of us (prophets and apostles alike), that trait that leads us on occasion to rebuke God because we think He hasn’t the foggiest clue as to what to do.

In these words we learn that in Jesus we have a God who grants ‘know-it-alls’ (like us) the freedom to know Him. To know Him as WHO (Lord and Christ) even when we don’t fully comprehend or understand WHY it is He does what He does.

Being righteous is the key to Christianity. Jesus is a refuge for the righteous, the self-righteous that is. Self-righteousness can be described as believing that one needs no grace, that one is good enough through their own behavior so God owes it to them to grant them heaven. It can be described as believing that one needs grace, just not total grace. That one is better than others, less sinful, and therefore more deserving of God’s love (and at least have earned love of Jesus that’s needed and the treatment God grants).

That is, however, not the way faith speaks. “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to Thy cross I cling.” That is faith talk. Faith is that which trusts Jesus’ righteousness in all we have, ours is but filthy rags, that though unworthy we are declared holy in Christ.

However, there is another definition and description of self-righteousness; that of one who has faith that trusts in Jesus as the Christ of God and yet thinks that God is the One who will take directions from us not give them to us. The goal of discipleship is to find a refuge from such self-righteousness and seek to accept God’s purposes and plans rather than dictate ours to Him.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer


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