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doubted…

Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20, NRSV)

This is the passage of text most of us know as the great commission. This is where Jesus sends the disciples into the world to make more disciples.

Jesus sends the 11 into the world to share what they have learned. And through the sending of the 11, He also sends us into the world.

And many of us doubt that we are called to go and be a part of God’s plan in the world. We would say we were part of the some who doubted here on the mountain with Jesus. But what if I told you that the part of the verse “but some doubted.” maybe a bad translation? The Greek here is οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν.

οἱ is a masculine plural article or they.

δὲ is a conjunction meaning but or and.

ἐδίστασαν is the third person plural aorist active indicative for to doubt.

So the part of the sentence all together is but they doubted. Of course, some say that the οἱ is redundant and unneeded because the they is implied in the form of the word for doubt and therefore should be translated some. But the other side of this is this is not done in any other part of the New Testament. This is the only time this particular construction is found. And we have to explain why the 11 disciples would have walked with Jesus and witnessed everything He did and when they finally see Him resurrected they doubt what they are seeing.

So how is it possible they worshiped and they doubted? Well, we have to get beyond that doubt is the opposite of faith. Doubt is the opposite of certainty. And wouldn’t you be uncertain about what was going on in front of you at that moment on the mountain? It doesn’t mean you don’t believe, it doesn’t mean you can’t worship, it just means you don’t get it and you have questions. Questions are not bad, they lead us to discover and to investigate.

So don’t fall away from doubting and questioning, lean into the call God has on your life, knowing you are in good company when you wonder about it and question it.

 

Here is a wonderful cartoon about this:

 

 

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martyred…

But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died. (Acts 7:55-60, NRSV)

Stephen gives a beautiful understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures and how Jesus is the messiah promised by God.

He lays it out and those gathered can’t stand to hear it because it goes against what they were taught and believed. So they rushed him and dragged him out of the city and stoned him to death.

In this scene, we have Stephen taking after our Lord and asking God not to hold the sin of those killing him against them, and we see Saul, who will become Paul and the greatest witness to Jesus in the Greek world.

I wonder how many of us would have stuck to our faith and beliefs if we faced what Stephen did?

Would we be martyred?

 
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Posted by on 2017/05/18 in Biblical, Devotional, Easter

 

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all in all

161103Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!  As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:5-17, NRSV)

No matter what you were, once you have been brought into the body, you are one in the same with all other members of the body. And thus we should work together in harmony.

We need to have compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience with all. And bear each other in love, because in Christ we are made one.

Christ is all in all and all of us are one in Him.

 

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no longer I

We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners;  yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.  But if, in our effort to be justified in Christ, we ourselves have been found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!  But if I build up again the very things that I once tore down, then I demonstrate that I am a transgressor.  For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God; for if justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing. (Galatians 2:15-21, NRSV)

We know that we are not justified by the law.

We can not work our way to heaven, or earn salvation. It is a gift of God.

Apart from the Law, so that no one may boast they are better than any other.

So then why do we act like we are better than other people?

The Jews of Jesus day were saying the Greeks were out because they were not Jews, and they were outsiders.

Are we really any different today? Now some of us are, but we all have moments where we fall into an elitist state, and think we are better than others. We shut outsiders out.

We are called to love as Christ loved us, which means we see no separation between us and others. Christ came to bridge the gap for all of us with God.

So there is no Jew or Greek, Slave or Free, Male and Female, Christian and non-Christian, we are all united and need to look on the other as we look upon ourselves.

 

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leveled…

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:23-29, NRSV)

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female;

There is no distinction between any of us any more. All of the major separators of Jesus day are here/

All of us are equal in the eyes of God.

We have all sinned and fallen short and held up by the same faith.

Therefore we need to treat each other as God treats us. And not how society wants us to.

For we are all the same in the eyes of God!

 
 

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stumble..

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31 ESV)

What happens when you trip over something? There you are walking down the street and your foot catches on something… Do you keep walking or do you stop and look back to see what you tripped on?

Most people will look back to see what they tripped over.

And those who think themselves wise and learned think that anything they do not understand is foolishness… We want to think that we have it all together and know all we need to…

What we need to do is let go of our knowledge and our pride and let God have control. Only when we let Him have control will we not stumble and be a beacon of hope for the world!

 

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