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Further Thoughts

A couple days ago, I spent some time reflecting on those passages I posted...and as promised, here are my journaled thoughts.

Luke 18:35-43 "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!"

I've heard this story hundreds of times. I've been taught it, had this beggar's humility pointed out & held up as an example to follow. But this time, he actually connected with me. The whole progression: he asks what's going on. They say that it is Jesus. He calls out. They tell him to be quiet. He ignores them. He calls out again. Regardless of the response, determined to be heard. And Jesus responds. He stops & makes the crowd bring the beggar. The crowd that had refused to pass on his message. And then it happened: Jesus asks what he wants, the beggar tells him, and Jesus does it. Simple as that - but for whatever reason, I think I finally get a little glimpse of how amazing this moment was - the intensity of the beggar's cries, the shock of the crowd, even though we know they shouldn't be surprised, Jesus' clarity & compassion, and a life-altering moment. This is huge. I wonder, if I were blind, would I have the same desperation of spirit? And if so, what holds me back right now?

Acts 20:26-27 "Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God."

Paul was innocent, not responsible for the church any longer. Why? Because he had declared "the whole counsel of God." Which is what, exactly, And if that makes him innocent, are those who declare only a partial counsel responsible for the blood of those they teach? The whole counsel of God. The big picture: creation, separation, struggle, sacrifice, reconciliation, restoration. And all of it is intended to lift Jesus high. The story is much bigger than me, than my "personal salvation" and experience of freedom. I make God smaller when I maximize the personal benefits of giving your life to Jesus. I make God a Band-Aid or Gatorade, a power-enhancer for those moments of being down. This - is it a false gospel? Was declaring Jesus as highly exalted, resurrected & returning to judge really less offensive or nonsensical to first-century pagan Greeks than it is twenty-first century pagan Canadians? Or do I shrink back from declaring the whole counsel of God under a guise of relevance/cultural sensitivity? Look at Acts. How is the gospel declared there? How does the early church talk about Jesus?

2 Corinthians 5:14-16 "From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh."

God, this is my prayer! That I would no longer see anyone according to the flesh, that because of Your love, because I am convinced that You died for all, I would see the world differently - that I would see Christ differently. And I can't help but wonder if this is something that just happened, or if Paul made a deliberate choice to view things in a renewed spiritual light. God, change my eyes to see like You do.

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