Monday, November 29, 2010

Son of Man

Ask the Pastor Question;

In the Book of Mark, Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man, yet forbids the evil spirits to refer to Him as the Son of God. At that time, I understand why He didn't want people to know that He was the Son of God but why was the Son of Man a more acceptable or applicable title, if you will?

Here is a sticky question but, simply put, Son of Man is used by Jesus of himself in describing his humanity. The term is used 90 some times in Ezekiel as a reference to the humanity of the prophet. I believe that this was used by Jesus to reference his incarnation. As Phil 2 says, "He humbled himself and became a man..."

You are right in recognizing that (especially in Mark) Jesus was trying to keep his identity as the Son of God a secret lest there be some form of political uprising and the gospel of the kingdom would be turned into some shallow short-lived political thing.

What makes this tricky is that the term was used in Daniel as a messianic term (7:13-14). Yet because of the number of times that Ezekiel is called son of man it is more likely that the reference would be understood by Mark's audience as a term of humility. This then makes the title in Daniel a possible reference to the incarnation.

Reasons the Devil wants you to be Ungrateful

1) Ungrateful people are sour and miserable to be around. They are completely self centered in the worst sense of the word. They are, therefore, horrible witnesses for Christ and his selfless act of saving a lost and broken world.

2) Ungrateful people are susceptable to the self loathing and mental fragility that leads to all manner of internal turmoil. There really is something to that "stop and smell the roses" thing! If the enemy of your soul can confuse you, you will lose the vision that your life has purpose for God's kingdom.

3) Ungrateful people are so completely self absorbed that they are not pleasant to be around. If we fall prey to ingratitude we find ourselves alone- and in that place we can do little damage to the kingdoms of Hell and much damage to self.

4) Ungrateful people are easy prey to doubt and unbelief. They spend little time examining their own life (if they did they would realize the mercy that God has given them). Someone has once remarked that the unexamined life is not worth living. Certainly that is doubly so for the ungrateful.

5) Ungrateful people have poisoned souls. They are toxic in their poisonous negativity. Grinding down even the most cheery person and offending those that are looking for spirituality. Most people run from their malevolent poison, and those that don't, wish they did.

So refuse ingratitude and embrace a lifestyle of thanksgiving. 1 Thess 5.16b " every circumstance give thanks, for this is the will of God."

Choose 5 things to be grateful for this day. And tell someone how thankful you are!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The Transfiguration

This question came from "Ask the Pastor". The transfiguration scene from Matthew 17:1, a couple of questions:

How did Peter, James, and John recognize that it was Moses and Elijah that appeared before them? I'm quite certain they never met but perhaps God opened their eyes and revealed it to them?

What was the purpose of the transfiguration? Was it to give Peter, James, and John a taste of what heaven would be like? Was it to meant to commission them as God spoke saying "This is my Son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased. Listen to him" Please explain.

Well, of course there was no way to know who these two apparitions were unless there was something in their dress or they were carrying some clue. For instance, the white bearded figure with the two tablets or the camel hair outfit on Elijah (see John the Baptist description). I assume that to be the case, that there was some clue in the manner of presentation. The purpose of the transfiguration was to demonstrate that the prophets (represented by Elijah) and the Law (represented by Moses) bear testimony to Jesus. This was a great revelation to the three in the inner circle of the disciples. Two of those three wrote in the New Testament (as opposed to,say, Bartholomew or Thaddeus), the other was the first martyr. So it would be important revelation to the writers of the NT and the first martyr of the Apostles (Acts 12.1). All of them clearly got the message as is witnessed by quotations from the OT Law and prophets in their books and one needs to only look at the speech of Stephen in Acts 7to see how this all plays into the attempts to reach the first century Jewish audience by quoting from their scriptures.

There doesn't seem to be anything here that is intended to relate what heaven is like. The purpose is revelation of Jesus. Peter actually quotes this moment (2 Peter 2.16ff) so we see it's intent is christology not eschatology. Without a clear, accurate, and articulate vision of Christ we cannot attempt to bear witness to Him. May God give us the revelation of the Son!