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The Conversation That Never Happened

On resurrection morning, the three women who discovered an angel instead of Jesus’s body didn’t go away saying this…

“They will all think we’re weird you know, if we tell them that we saw an angel.” Walking away from the tomb, Mary Magdalene confessed her concerns to Salome and Mary the mother of James.

“Yeah, I’ve been thinking that too, but he told us to tell the disciples…and Peter.  It’s a matter of obedience now.” Salome said.

“I know, I know, we’re under an obligation…so who wants to be the first to say that Jesus is alive? Not me. Why don’t you tell them, Mary?” Mary Magdalene urged.

“Uh, uh, not me. I’ve got an idea. Let’s draw straws. Whoever gets the short one has to pass on the news about the resurrection.” James’ mother suggested.

“Well, okay.” said Mary Magdalene.

“Alright…I guess. I just hope I don’t have to be the weirdo.” said Salome.

Right…I don’t think so.  Of course the above conversation never happened…so what did happen? I’ll tell you what…the women found the disciples and couldn’t wait to get the news out. Of course, Mark tells us that they said nothing to anyone, but surely he means anyone other than the disciples. When they found the disciples, I’m guessing they were like three sisters in grade school who made some discovery in their backyard and couldn’t wait to tell their parents:

“I get to tell!”  “No, I get to tell!”  “No, me!”

You get the idea.

Yes, these women were astonished and trembling…and bursting with joy.

I imagined this conversation because of a quote I heard recently. And so I will close with the following insightful word from Lesslie Newbigin…

“There has been a long tradition which sees the mission of the Church primarily as obedience to a command.  It has been customary to speak of ‘the missionary mandate.’  This way of putting the matter is certainly not without justification, and yet it seems to me that it misses the point.  It tends to make mission a burden rather than a joy, to make it part of the law rather than part of the gospel.  If one looks at the New Testament evidence one gets another impression.  Mission begins with a kind of explosion of joy.  The news that the rejected and crucified Jesus is alive is something that cannot possibly be suppressed.  It must be told.  Who could be silent about such a fact?  The mission of the Church in the pages of the New Testament is more like the fallout from a vast explosion, a radioactive fallout which is not lethal but life-giving.”

Lesslie Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Grand Rapids, 1989), page 116

 

Tuesday, May 5: 1 Corinthians 1

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Ultimate Motivation to Live for God

There are many ways we try to motivate ourselves and others to be holy. Most of them begin with something like this: “You ought…” Paul uses a different carrot, and it is the most powerful motivation we can offer anyone.

When the Apostle turns the corner in Romans 12 from the doctrinal section of Romans 1-11 to the “practical” (as if the first eleven chapters weren’t the most practical teaching ever – they explain how to go to heaven) section of chapters 12 – 16, he makes an “appeal” and take note of how he does it…

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 (ESV)

In the next 5 chapters (12 – 16) he’s going to tell us how to live. He’s about to say things like…

* Use your spiritual gifts.

* Bless those who persecute you.

* Love one another.

* Submit to the government.

But you see, he certainly doesn’t tell us to do these things to earn favor with God, for in Christ, God is already favorably disposed to us…and he doesn’t say we must do these things “to be good Christians.”

Instead, he says, “by the mercies of God.” In other words, why should you and I be motivated to live our lives for Christ and His Kingdom? Answer: because he has been merciful to us, as demonstrated so clearly in the first eleven chapters. Because He has loved us by sending His one and only Son. This motivation – far more than the pointing and accusing finger or the “you ought” words of pressure – this is the truth that moves our hearts and feet to love and serve Him.

After all, as John said…

“We love…because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

Tomorrow, April 7: Romans 13

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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