Elisha prays that his servant’s eyes are “opened.” A moment later Elisha prays that the eyes of the enemy soldiers are closed. Later, he prays again for the soldiers’ eyes to be open. Each time eyes were opened or closed; it was for the good of the people involved. God opens and closes eyes for our good.
God in His mercy does not show us everything. Yes, there are times we wish we knew more, but God loves us enough to show us only what we need. Much like a parent does not tell their 6-year-old child everything about life (for their good). What God does show us are the things we need to see. We see His power and majesty in creation, his love of life in the faces of people, the consequences of our sin, and best of all Jesus! God opens our eyes to see our Savior the crucified and risen Jesus! Someday we will see it all, but for now we get to see what we need – A Savior!
Our summer sermon series continued this week with Jonah. Have you ever noticed what a jerk Jonah was? He didn’t obey God and proclaim the Word to the people of Nineveh for two terrible reasons. First, he didn’t like the people of Nineveh because they were evil. Second, he knew God was rich in mercy and abounding in love (In other words Jonah knew that if they repented God might actually spare them). Therefore, Jonah ran away from God.
You know how the story goes. Jonah gets tossed overboard, is swallowed up by a fish, and is sent once again to Nineveh. As Jonah suspected the people repent and God forgives. Most people would consider this a good ending, but not Jonah. Jonah continues to complain and has a bitter heart. Two things to take from this portion of Scripture. First, God’s Word is powerful and changes hearts – So get out there and share it. Second, if God can use a jerk like Jonah – Then he can for sure use dirty rotten sinners like you and me.
The account of Jesus and Zacchaeus is one of my favorite events in the Scriptures, and it’s not just because Zacchaeus was short like me. Instead, it’s because Zacchaeus was a sinner – just like me. This event answers the question, “Who gets Jesus?” in a powerful way. Sinners get Jesus. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Jesus came to save only one kind/group of people – The Sinful Kind! That’s a group that every person in the world fits into. That means everyone gets Jesus!
Zacchaeus responded to the call of Jesus. He welcomed Jesus into his home and his life. There was repentance, faith, and salvation. If you are stuck in a life of brokenness and sin today, then know this: Jesus is for you! Who gets Jesus? You get Jesus! He brings life, forgiveness, strength and joy!
Our summer sermon series continued with the account of Jesus and Nicodemus. Jesus tells Nicodemus that, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” John 3:14-15
What kind of Jesus are we lifting up to the world? Sometimes God’s people lift up a Jesus that looks and sounds like a coach, a boss, or a school principal. Other times we lift up a Jesus that looks and sounds like a successful suburbanite. Sometimes we lift up Jesus as a genie in a bottle who grants your every wish.
Instead, why don’t we lift up the real Jesus: The One who was lifted up on the cross and then up out of the grave by His Father. Let’s lift up a crucified and risen Jesus to the world. That’s the Jesus that changes lives. Here’s the Good News – God does all the heavy lifting. The Son of Man MUST be lifted up. Thanks be to God He was!
Happy Pentecost! God sent the Holy Spirit to the disciples on this Old Testament festival day when Jerusalem was full of people. But small flames, rushing winds, and people talking in different languages sounds a little scary to me. I don’t know why God sent the Holy Spirit the way He did on that day. But I do know that He still sends the Spirit to us today (Thankful not with wind and fire). Today the Spirit works through the Word. The Word spoken and read. The Word attached to water in Baptism. The Word attached to bread and wine in the Eucharist. The Word working through people as they share the name of Jesus.
The Spirit is still at work today too. It points us toward other people that are in need of love and care, and fills us with Gospel words to speak. But most importantly the Spirit points us to Jesus. The Spirit creates faith and sustains faith in the hearts of people. May the Spirit continue to work in your life and in the world.
God told Moses that He (God) was going to deliver His (God’s) people out of slavery in Egypt. God would lead them through the wilderness and God would bring them into the Promised Land. God told Moses what He (God) was going to do. God also told Moses that He (God) was going to let him (Moses) be part of the fun. God would use Moses to do His (God’s) work. At first Moses saw this as a burden instead of a gift because he (Moses) was more focused on what he (Moses) had to do instead of being focused on what He (God) would do.
God is still doing things in the world today and He (God) still uses people like you and me to do that work. God has called us to love others, care for creation, proclaim Jesus, and to do the work He has given us to do in life. He (God) didn’t need Moses to deliver Israel out of Egypt, and yet used him (Moses) anyway. Rejoice that God desires to use you too.