‘My hero’

Selwyn is right to emphasise that ‘glory goes not to the ones who are saved but to the one who saves’. Later, in today’s study he writes: “People who don’t know Christ often wonder why we make so much of Jesus. If only they could know the joy of abundant living, of sins forgiven, …

The most important aspect of Jesus is that He is God, because if He was not – then He could have never saved us — sometimes, we can lose sight of the fact that Jesus was/is both fully God and fully man.

The verses from Luke 10:1-10 (NLT) are worth repeating here – it gives, all of ‘us’ sinners – those He calls by name, reassurance of eternal life:

‘Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. [Notice: Jesus calls us by name; and we, respond to His call.] “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.  Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”’

The last sentence is just too beautiful – almost, impossible to believe – what do you think?

The central character

Today, Selwyn looks at the central character in God’s big story – Jesus.

He raises an important point when he writes: “Ancestry gave people their identity and status. And Jesus’ very mission necessitated Him belonging to the people who were to bring blessing to the earth; He was the fulfilment of all the Old Testament promises that related to the Messiah. Jesus has to be seen in the light of a bigger story that goes back many centuries.” (Actually, goes back to before time began.)

The prayer for today brings our history and Jesus (from all of history) into the one scene: “Lord Jesus Christ, while I rejoice that You are the central character of Scripture, I am more thankful still that You are the central character in my life. Without You life would not be worth living. Amen.

What are your thoughts on today’s study?

A divine intimation?

I liked the quote from Dr Cynddylan Jones: “What happened in the first few pages of the Bible is a dress rehearsal for what takes place in the last few pages of the Bible, when the Church, the Bride of Christ, who was in Him and came out of Him, will be joined to Him in a marriage that will last for eternity.’

The following verses give us a good outline as to how, as members of His Church, we should live our lives – (a challenge for many of us, especially me); Ephesians 5:1-14a (NLT):  “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.

Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.

Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.

Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible.”

What’s your view on these points?

The big story of God

The verses set for reading and meditation contain one very important verse – as highlighted by Selwyn.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 5:22-33 (NLT): “For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.’

This is the mystery; the way Jesus and His people are one. Think about the parallels Paul draws from marriage (in the above verses) and our relationship with God.

The other great aspect from today’s study is Selwyn’s prayer: “O Father what a prospect – what a story! We who were deep-dyed sinners but are now washed and made clean through the blood of Your Son, are to be joined with You for ever. I still can’t get over it, dear Lord. Blessed be your name for ever. Amen.”

How are you finding this study?

Invitation to a wedding

I agree with Selwyn’s statement: “The greatest event in the eternity to come will be the wedding supper of the Lamb.”Likewise, these words also capture the nature of God’s involvement with us: “So the big story of God – His universal epic – is essentially a romantic one.”

Jesus so loves us – to such an extent that we cannot ever comprehend the full measure of His love.

How can our God, become one of us to suffer terribly and die, is an unanswerable question – only His love can explain such an action!

Taking the long look

I think Selwyn’s study speaks for itself – you, either believe that mankind’s history is being directed by God or you believe that history is just a meaningless succession of random events. One view recognises God as the author of our life’s journey; the other as almost a cold, disinterested spectator. Clearly, we have evidence in Scripture for one view and not the other.

As Selwyn says: “The God revealed in the Bible is working to a plan and is accomplishing all things according to the purpose of His will (Ephesians 1:11).”

I also liked verses 16-20 from Chapter 6 of Hebrews (NLT): “Now when people take an oath, they call on someone greater than themselves to hold them to it. And without any question that oath is binding. God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.”

If we could not trust the meaning behind Jesus’ death, as explained by the Scriptures, we would have no hope – at all.  Do you agree?

Salvation history

I agree with Selwyn when he says “The Almighty, who calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 3:6), chose Israel out of many nations to be His covenant people, and came to us in the Person of His Son at a recorded moment in history. The history the Bible recounts is ‘salvation history’, and the salvation it proclaims was achieved by historical events.”

That last sentence is so important – it tells us that nothing in history, is a random event without meaning – all that happens the big and the small is being recorded, has already been written, and all His people will enjoy the ending of His amazing story. We have an Almighty God who is timeless, and created time for our benefit, like a train stop in space, where we wait for a few moments for Him to save us from becoming nothing – so He can give to us: security, value and significance – all we need to do, is to believe the reason why He wrote the timetable. We need to keep watch – and our lamps burning – because the time of His second arrival is not known by us. 

Listen to the words of Luke as recorded in Acts 3:17-23 (NLT) [some of the verses set for reading and meditation]:“Friends, I realize that what you and your leaders did to Jesus was done in ignorance. But God was fulfilling what all the prophets had foretold about the Messiah—that he must suffer these things. Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away. Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah. For he must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through his holy prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’

Notice, what I highlighted – that God will remain in heaven until the time for the FINAL restoration of all things; and the second critical point, is this – those who do not listen to Jesus will be cut off from God’s people – there is no second chance!