Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Student Devotions -Warning To The Privileged

Good morning students,

I hope you are enjoying the warm weather in the South. For a little while yesterday our temperature up here was actually 3 degrees warmer tahn it was in Montreal. The streets became rivers. There is a lot of snow up here to melt, although winter hasn't lost its grip yet. It will be a high of -12 tomorrow and they are having a snow storm next week. Fun.

We are considering a passage from Luke 9 this morning. The first six verses tell us how Jesus prepared and then sent his disciples out to minister to various towns. This was a mission of faith as they were not allowed to take anything with them. But that is not what I want us to consider this morning. What I want us to consider is found in verses 7 to 9.

Jesus was many things to many people. Let me qualify. Jesus appeared to be many things to many people according to their perspective of the man. To the common folk he was a man of great wisdom and tremendous power. To his followers he was the Son of Yahweh, the messiah from prophecy. To the religious authorities he was a dangerous heretic and a powerful enemy. Yet others could not make up their mind who or what he was. King Herod was one of those people.

Herod had been raised on scripture like everyone else but he chose to bend it to suit his purposes. Yet he respected it enough to fear certain things. One of those things had been John. He had John arrested for preaching against him but he would not kill him. Only through his wife's scheming was the king tricked into beheading John. Now he was tormented by guilt and fear, yet truth illuded him. This is why the stories of Jesus bothered him and threw him into confusion.

He tried to see Jesus but never managed to, until the end. Why did he fail in this desire? It is not like Jesus was hard to find. The pharisees found him. The people found him. Why not Herord? Could it be that Jesus did not want to waste his time on people like Herord and the Pharisees? Remember what he had said to them? "The healthy do not need a doctor." Perhaps we would not consider Herod healthy but the fact of the matter is that Herord was privileged. So were the Pharisees. They had access to the best teachers and the scriptures. They had the intelligence and the wealth to study and learn. They were spoiled and twisted but that did not take away the fact that they had privileges that the common person did not have.

The common folk, the ones Jesus came to be with, were too busy trying to live from day to day to be concerned about prophecies and scripture. They were lost in the busyness of survival. Their parents had not had the money to send them to the synagogue to learn. Most could not read or write. They did whatever it is they had to do to survive. It is to these people that Jesus came, casting out demons and preaching the Good News. It is because of their suffering that Jesus was moved by compassion to begin healing.

Now here is the thing; we often identify ourselves with the second group, the underpriviliged but we are not part of this group. We belong to the Pharisees and the Herods of life. We are privileged, we go to school, we are surrounded by people who love us, we are being educated and trained for great jobs with lots of money. But it's more than that. We have gone to Sunday School and learned the Word of Yahweh. We have been taught by preachers of the Word. We have been taught spiritual truths from our parents. We own at least one Bible. We have no excuses.

The fact is that if Jesus came today instead of 2000 years ago he would not have chosen to hang out with us. We are without excuse. Still, many of us are found in the same condition as the Pharisees and Herod. We know the Word enough to bend it to suit our own wants and desires. Or, we ignore it and do what we want anyway. At least Herod felt perplexed by all of this; he felt some guilt and confusion. What about us? Do we at least acknowledge when we come against the Word, the will of Yahweh?

I want this to be a good day for you. Consider what you have been taught. Consider what you know. Consider the fact that Jesus loves you and has no desire to condemn you. Consider it is an easy matter to step back into the will of Yahweh. And consider that the peace you so desire, the peace that will wash away the emptiness, the loneliness is freely yours. Just walk in the privilege that is ours as children of the light, the children of privilege. Do not waste it. Seek forgiveness, receive his pardon and walk in the freedom he has freely given to us.

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