Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Crowds are everywhere we turn.  Traffic, supermarkets, ball games, hospital rooms...people...venues lined with people.  And within each of these collections of friends, neighbors, and strangers are sweet souls taking their turns at a very bad day.  It is here at this juncture of deep need that we religious people must be on high alert.

When walking through the Gospels there is one consistent thread: Jesus saw the one(s) in need while religious leaders simultaneously cried foul in pointing out how Jesus was doing ministry all wrong.  Today, we the church continue to be captured by these tender reaching stories of Christ's labors.  We love the compassionate Rescuer.  Yet, in practice, we continue to very much struggle to be like him. Rather it remains our tendency to wear the mantle like those of his constant opponents.

When we observe that the church knows Jesus we see the congregation being different than when it knows Bible.  Can that be?  Aren't these two one in the same?  Hardly. Jesus said as much.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life. I do not receive glory from men; but I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves.

Hear him be very pointed toward the situations that we may face today.

We are to remain led by Jesus.  This is very different than parading the knowing of our Bibles if such information does not make him (Jesus) our ultimate destination.  It is in Jesus that the world finds authentic hope; not if congregations know their Bibles.  This can sound contradictory; yet, the legitimate concern is in our possibly being able to reference Bible proof-texts while being fundamentally disinterested as to whether we have close relationship with the Son of God.

This concern isn't a moot point.  Jesus brought it up.  The reason is off-the-charts astounding.  If we were to become a people who know Bible verses without developing an intimate knowledge of Jesus, we will not/cannot have the love of God in ourselves. The latter statement is far too representative of the congregations peppered across our landscape.  This isn't a take-it or leave-it doctrine.  This is essential.  This is the nuclear power of the dynamic and effective church....the knowing of Jesus.

The religious leaders of Jesus' day were engaged in constant claims of foul.  They could not stand the Son.  He bugged them.  He got under their very thick skin.  He did religion the wrong way.  They bravely cried foul and many chose them over him.  These doctors of doctrine were gravely mistaken; yet caught up in the driving fever of their legalistic hotbed topics.  I find myself subject to this identical negative thread if I neglect knowing the man by obsessively knowing the plan...without the man.

It just seems to be a worthy reminder that to know Jesus does not bring about peace in the religious setting.  Rather it may be found to be of stressful challenge as his style is framed from the rugged cross and not the table of negotiation with a coffee pot awaiting.

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