Saturday, April 03, 2010

Hanging On to His Words

"It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two." (Luke 23:44-45)
Main Thought: When tough times come, what can we hang on to? On the day before Resurrection Sunday, think about how the early disciples, especially the women hang on to hope.

A) Stormy Night Outside, Gloomy Mood Inside

It was a stormy night last night. Throughout the lower mainland and in several parts of British Columbia, Canada, strong winds raged throughout the night. Many smaller boats were damaged. Some marinas were destroyed. Boats were kept at bay. Even large vessels like ferries had to have their sailings canceled. Many areas were without electricity, many because the cables supplying power to them were damaged by fallen trees. I heard howling winds even though my windows in the house remain shuttered through the night. This morning, I saw a tree branch lying in my backyard. Inside my house, our kitchen tap failed to function properly. It was a day of strange events. For anyone who is feeling down, these things can be crushing to the soul.


[Photo Credit: The Province, April 3rd, 2010]

Normally I would not read too much into these natural events. Things do break. Weather does turn for the worse occasionally. There is no predictable pattern. However yesterday was Good Friday. It was a day to remember the death of Jesus on the Cross. It was a day to remember that it is because we who are sinners refuse to repent, and to lay aside our idols, that Jesus has to come to die for us. God loves us that He sent Jesus, a perfect man, to bear the sins of the whole world, that all who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

I am still grappling with the demise of a loved one, since hearing about his death two days ago. He is one of my favourite uncles, and the only medical doctor in my paternal side of the family. He was the pride of my grandparents. Now he is gone. What is more baffling is that no one knows how, where and why he died. Police are still investigating. He left nothing for any of the family members to hang on to, except for memories from long ago. Memories of pride in him being admitted to medical school and opening his own medical practice. Memories of how he asserted himself. Memories of how he enjoyed eating and having a good time. Memories of long conversations through the night. Memories of him teaching me how to apply for a job, and memories of how he advised me not to take religion too seriously. Other than that, he left nothing else behind.

B) Hanging on to His Words
As I ponder on Jesus's death, I cannot help but be comforted by the words He left behind. He did not leave this world without first supplying us a baton of Hope. He did so many things, performed so many acts, and taught so many people about the kingdom of God. He gave us words to hang on, words that give us hope, not despair.

  • "Then Jesus told them, “This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” "(Matthew 26:31-32)
  • I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Mark 14:62)
  • "... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (Luke 10:10b)
  • "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
This is the heart of our Lord Jesus. He knows that we are frail outside and fragile inside. He understands our design. He is our Creator in the first place! Like a loving Father, he gives us words to give us hope. Like a gentle Shepherd, his words are like Moses's rod and staff to guide us in our journey. Jesus goes to the Cross without leaving us helpless and hopeless. He fills our cup with hope, so that we will be filled. He gives us His words to eat, so that we can be satisfied. He did not leave us without anything. He has given us a rich reserviour of teachings and truths to keep and to cherish.

C) Hanging on to the Counselor: Holy Spirit
Amazingly, Jesus did not simply leave us with words. There is something else far more personal: The Holy Spirit.

“Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (John 16:5-7)
The human race has been blessed to be able to see God in three persons. Beginning with the Old Testament, God showed Himself as the LORD God, the Loving Father. In New Testament times, people get to see Jesus the Son, in person. In our contemporary world, we get to commune and be personally guided by the Holy Spirit. God is Trinity. The Triune Godhead is Father, Son, Holy Spirit, eternally one God, but in three persons.Here is an excerpt of the Athanasian Creed which is written to state the doctrine of the Trinity clearly for the Church at large.
...
The Father was neither made nor created nor begotten; the Son was neither made nor created, but was alone begotten of the Father; the Spirit was neither made nor created, but is proceeding from the Father and the Son.


Thus there is one Father, not three fathers; one Son, not three sons; one Holy Spirit, not three spirits.


And in this Trinity, no one is before or after, greater or less than the other; but all three persons are in themselves, coeternal and coequal; and so we must worship the Trinity in unity and the one God in three persons.

... [excerpted from the ELCA website of belief.]
D) Hanging on to Hope
Even in dark days, or tumultuous periods of life, it is necessary to hang on to hope. We hang on to the words of Jesus, as we remember the dark days and stormy nights of depression, repression or suppression by external forces. We hang on to the guidance of the Holy Spirit even as we struggle with understanding our calling, our purpose in life, and the meaning of our existence on this earth. We hang on to the hope that the kingdom will come soon, that Jesus will come again.

Let us prepare ourselves. Let us work faithfully. Pray steadfastly. Hope constantly that the day will come, where we will see God, fully in all His glory, Father, Son, Holy Spirit. When that time comes, all the saints of the past, the present and the future will stand together and shout: Holy Holy Holy! LORD God Almighty!

Where there is doubt, remember Jesus' words. Where there is despair, remember the presence of the Counselor with us. Where there is desperation, remember the sayings of the wise man in Ecclesiastes that there is a time for everything. Above all, remember that the time will come, where we can all say that death has no sting, and that the new world will come in God's glory. Maranatha!

conrade

1 comment:

Adam Pastor said...

Greetings

On the subject of the Trinity,
I recommend this video:
The Human Jesus

Take a couple of hours to watch it; and prayerfully it will aid you in your quest for truth.

Yours In Messiah
Adam Pastor

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