Seeing Clearly For the Second Time

Seeing Clearly for the Second time

The Passover in Jerusalem was over.   People had come from many countries to participate in the annual event.   But something about the Passover was different; this year those despicable Romans were at it again, they had crucified three men on the eve of Passover, the High Holy Day of the Jewish nation!

The priests were dressed and ready for the procession of sacrifices to be offered.   The vendors in the Temple courtyard were doing a brisk business exchanging money and selling animals to be sacrificed to the guests coming from out of town.   All the rooms at the inns were full and more people kept pouring into the city.   This Passover had both an air of excitement, and a sense of foreboding.

The Passover came and went.

Three days after the Passover, two men were leaving the city of Jerusalem.   They were traveling on the road to Emmaus, when they were joined by a third man.   Together the three men discussed what had happened in Jerusalem.   The third man explained that everything that happened had been foretold by the prophets.   When they reached the town of Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, they sat down to eat.  The third man revealed himself to the other two.  It was Jesus!   Then the two men recognized Jesus and they rushed back to Jerusalem.   Finding the eleven Apostles, they told of meeting Jesus and how they saw clearly, prophecy fulfilled before their eyes!

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“When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.   Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.   They asked each other “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”    Luke 24:30-32

Indeed their hearts were being fed.

Nest Building–For the Birds?

Do you know who teaches the bird to build a nest?  I mean, after all, that baby bird wasn’t around when mom and dad built the nest to cradle those fragile eggs; where did the know-how come from?  How did that baby bird know how things got done?  You’ve read that fish travel in schools, but where do birds go to get instructions on nest-building?  Where is this “higher” education we’ve all heard about?  Do you know any college professor who specializes in teaching construction techniques on building nests in trees, barns, on gutters, beneath deck rafters, in bushes?  Who teaches a bird about engineering dynamics and statics?  Will a bird hatched in an incubator, who has never seen a nest, be able to build a perfectly good nest by its kind?  Can mature adult birds be assured that their offspring will be able to follow in their footsteps?  The answer is—yes!  No wonder Job’s pride was humbled when God said to him, “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south?  Does the eagle soar at your command and make her nest on high”?  Job 39:26-27  The tiny bird learns from a mighty God!  How marvelous are thy works, O God!

Chicks in a nest

Bottom Line

In Matthew chapter 10 Jesus said that God is aware of everything that happens even to the sparrows, and you are far more valuable to him than they are.  You are so valuable that God gave his only Son to die for you.  John 3:16

Leadership Courage and Hope

leadershipIn his first statement as Prime Minister to the House of Commons (13 May 1940) Sir Winston S. Churchill said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.  Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”  In a speech on Dunkirk before the House of Commons (4 June 1940) he said; “We shall not flag or fail.  We shall go on to the end.  We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, and we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength.  We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be.  We will never surrender.”  In a separate speech, he said:  “If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: ‘This was their finest hour.’”  He visited the barracks of his soldiers to give support and courage.  Those brave and inspiring words were said only 70 years ago.   Churchill lived in violent times.  Great words from great men never go out of style.  There was another who inspired Leadership, Courage and Hope: a man…from Nazareth.

the cross

Jesus was also a historical figure who lived in violent times.  He made compassionate speeches and motivated people to do well.  He sacrificed blood, toil, tears, and sweat for his people.  He offered a bit more:  grace, mercy, miracles, messages and gave his life to not just his people, but, to all people.  He offered a way to The Father and heaven.  He had no country boundaries.  Jesus was at war, too, with the Jewish leaders, Pontius Pilot, Roman politicians, and Rome.  In the soldiers barracks in Rome they called Jesus’ walk to Golgotha the “Dance of Death.”  On his way to the cross, “for you”, he was scourged, spat upon, beaten, mocked and many other adjectives.  The bystanders hurled insults, the crowds yelled “Crucify him”, the Jewish leaders screamed “blasphemer”, the soldiers shouted “Let your God save you now”.  Most do not realize it, but Jesus was practically beaten to death before the cross.  The Bible says, pieces of flesh were ripped away, obviously where bones and organs were exposed.  This was much more than scourged.  Then, after all that, they nailed him on a cross which cut off his breathing, speared him so the rest of life poured out, killed him, stripped him of his clothing, and then laughed at him.  Oh yes, did I forget to mention that before he died that he ask The Father, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”?

By contrast, the criminal on the other side of Jesus looked at him and said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  By all appearances, the kingdom was finished. How awe-inspiring is the faith of this man who alone saw beyond the present shame to the coming glory!  Jesus forgave his murderers.  Could you?