Danger only He can see

Apr 02, 12 Danger only He can see

The danger only He can see

 

To those of you who have experienced it, you know that there is a strange & wonderful phenomenon, which occurs when you become a Grandparent and neither my husband nor I expected it to happen so powerfully.  Sure, we knew we’d love our grandbaby but something supernatural happened when we saw him.  I wish I could describe it but I think it must be a taste of the way our God feels as He dotes over each of us, his created: absolutely amour-ed and infatuated. 

 

Three of the four gospel writers in the New Testament (NT): Matthew, Luke and Mark share this example of Jesus’ love through his object lesson involving children: “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples (Jesus’ students) rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.” (Matthew 19: 13, 14)  The NT was written in Greek and the Greek word used for children in this passage included young children, still in arms.

 

Most of us assume that the proper Exegesis (www.dictionary definition: critical explanation or interpretation of a text … especially of the Bible) of this passage is that we need to be as innocent as children in order to enter and belong to God’s kingdom.  Another Exegesis, though, takes into account the 1st century cultural view (when and where Jesus lived): though loved, in an agricultural society such as that was, children were actually a drain on their family and on the society’s resources until they grew older and could basically contribute and “pull their own weight”.  So the implication is not on a child’s innocence but on their worthlessness.  This makes sense in the context of Jesus’ response to his disciple’s initial reaction, when they are in essence saying to people bringing their children to Jesus, “Why are you bothering our Messiah (Savior) with THESE?!?”

As writer Simon Tugwell states in his “The Beatitudes: Soundings in Christian Traditions, “It is not because they [children] are innocent but because they are incompetent.”  Ouch, it is much easier on our pride to think Jesus was referring to innocence.  But I remember being a child and really, innocent wouldn’t be a word I could use to describe myself, ever.  A more apt description would be that when I was a child, I was more obvious & uncomplicated in my selfish approach.

 

One of my favorite bands, Downhere’s lead singer, Marc Martel (an incredible “Freddy Mercury” sound alike– find him on YouTube, but I digress!) cleverly states in their song “The Problem (with the world is me)”: “And no one ever taught me how to put myself first; it came so very naturally.  But I’m not a prodigy.”  Anywho, I am not a prodigy either.  As a child, I had selfish down pat (still do but I am much more subtle).

 

I am agreeing then that the proper Exegesis of what Jesus was lesson-teaching to his audience was that we have to recognize we bring nothing to the table.  Whatever we think we are bringing to God, He does not need it.  He doesn’t need our “lessons well done”, our “good works”, which are those notches on our belt of the good things we’ve done, our self-salvation, our strivings to become perfect.  Neither the will of the flesh nor the will of man is going to save us in order for us to become worthy to come into His life-giving presence.  We actually first need to lay our delusions aside and properly understand what Jesus’ apostle, Paul, taught & wrote to fellow Christians: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 and Romans 11:6 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (“Grace” definition: undeserved clemency.)  There are loads more bible passages explaining that it is not our good works, which will save us; we are only saved by God’s grace through Jesus Christ, God incarnate.

 

Okay, now let’s jump to another bible passage in which Jesus states about salvation (in Gospels Luke and in Matthew): “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

 

The Exegesis I’ve studied on this passage is that the way to enter into the Wide gate is by our uncontrite & selfish, misplaced self-pride (that thing which comes really naturally to all of us), and the way to be able to enter through the narrow gate is by our humility in believing only in Jesus’ capabilities to save us as in when Jesus states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  “Poor in spirit” means humility as we realize we have nothing we can offer and that nothing we have is worthy of His Kingdom.  In the 1st century context, we come to Him as the most worthless of citizens: children.

 

Then we can partake as described by Jesus’ apostle John, But to all who did receive him (Jesus Christ), who believed in his name (this means Jesus’ authority), he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.”  John 1:12, 13

 

Does God need our humility? Is He a God so arrogant that He enjoys grovelers at His feet in order to feed his divine ego?  Not at all! Like a Grandparent hovering over His grandbabies when they are in a dangerous place, He sees clearly the dangers all around us that we, through our arrogance, are blind to. 

 

It is those dangers Jesus sees as He laments over his people, stated in Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

 

It is in times of danger that a Hen gathers her chicks under her wings.

 

Our blinding self-pride has caused us to place our selves in His rightful place: the throne of this universe. WE have placed everything else there BUT Him.  Our “good works” in order to save ourselves are proof that we think we are more capable than our Holy God. (Good works are in no way a bad thing but they need to be placed in proper context, which is as James, Jesus’ half brother, wrote as evidence of our faith in Him that lives in us and in response to the love we have for Him who saves us.)

 

Why did Jesus instruct his students to pray to God: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”?  It’s because God’s Kingdom is NOT on this earth, He does NOT reign as King.  So, next question: If His Kingdom is not yet on this earth, whose “Kingdom”, whose world is it & who is reigning?  The answer is in Jesus’ and his apostle’s words:

 

(Jesus states to them) “The thief (Jesus is referring to satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10

 

The reason the Son of God (this is Jesus Christ’s favorite title for himself) appeared was to destroy the works of the devil (another name for satan). 1 John 3:8b

 

(Jesus is talking to the people who put their trust in their “Good works” instead of in God: the Pharisees and the Sadducees) “You are of your father the devil (satan), and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

 

“In their case the god of this world (this is referring to satan) has blinded the minds of the unbelievers (non-Christians), to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4

 

And because this earth is not yet God’s Kingdom, Jesus states to Jesus-believers what the result will be to them: “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:22 And, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18,19

 

John was Jesus’ last surviving disciple, and he wrote in a letter to his fellow Christians in the late 1st century (he was a very old man by this time): “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him (Jesus Christ).” 1 John 3:1

 

To reiterate these bible passages, Jesus is stating that the “earth” kingdom we are now experiencing belongs to satan, who is currently its king, and because of satan’s influence in the world, the “world” culture hates Jesus.  It is the danger God sees and wants to save us from.  It explains God’s urgency in each of our lives as He tries to gather us to Himself from a danger only He, as a Holy God, has the clarity & wisdom to see, by showing us that our pride in our own ability to save ourselves is actually killing us.  It is a trick of satan, the liar in the garden, who told mankind that we will be like God, judging good and evil (but he didn’t disclose that it would be distorted by our finite, unwise minds).  The only way out of this current kingdom & into the safety of our loving God’s arms (under His wings  😀 ) is through the Father’s son, Jesus Christ: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.   Thankfully, this “chatty” God will NOT leave us alone.  It is His hope that through our free-will choice, we will accept Jesus’ offer: we, the created, through Jesus can become God’s actual children. 🙂

 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 and in John 12: 35, 36: “Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

 

May God bless you and yours abundantly. 

 

 

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