To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
March/April 2014 Issue – ‘The Great Legacy’
Today’s text for reading and meditation is:
Ephesians 4:1-16 (NIV): “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: ‘When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.’
(What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”
An impressive set of verses – you can identify the parts I liked – one important point, which can’t be emphasised enough – is, that when we, through our words and actions act as witnesses for Jesus – we should always speak the truth in love. Sometimes, you hear people quote Scripture in a cold, intellectual manner, as if they were delivering a lecture.
Selwyn makes a number of good points in his conclusion: “Each of these ministries – that of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher – represents facets of Jesus’ own ministry. He Himself was every one of these. But no one person can truly represent Jesus.
So He divides up His unique and full ministry and distributes grace to different members of His body. Together, working as one, united as a team, these different ministries are designed to bring the fullness of Christ to the Church, and the fullness of the Church to Christ.”
The other minor point, I thought was interesting, was how Paul changed (albeit in a minor way) the words of Psalm 68:18. It shows that sometimes the original words of the Bible can be modified to demonstrate a spiritual truth; but it requires someone of Paul’s spiritual maturity to undertake such a task.
Any views on this?