#5 – Questions that Jesus Asked

22 10 2008

Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them?” Luke 5:34

This question comes with the Pharisees already complaining. They asked why Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners. Then, they are now asking why Jesus’ disciples do no fast pray like John’s or their own disciples.

In my Bible, it gives the note “Jesus knew his death was coming and at that time, it would be in order to fast and pray.” I have a different take on it. Simply, I love the fact that Jesus isn’t giving a “formula” or a “recipe” to honor God. In fact, the common ingredients of that day are still true today. Reading God’s Word, prayer, attending church, worship, fasting, serving, etc are all parts of the culture of growing in God. However, I find that many people are looking for a formula. The take the parts they like and they let that define their view on how to approach and serve God.

Instead, Jesus example is quite different. He reintroduces the concept of relationship with the bridegroom. In the Bible times, it was about obeying God’s laws. Jesus continues to introduce the idea of having a relationship with God. He validates that fasting is important, but not more important than spending time with him. I am the type of person who likes formulas but have found that they make it easy on me. If I follow the formula, it should work. It is much harder to continue to ask God what parts do I need to include today to keep our relationship fresh and strong. I used to read and pray every day. Now, I really try to seek God on what I need to do today to bring myself closest to Him and make myself ready for His use. Sometimes I just worship or meditate on a certain verse. Sometimes I walk and pray. I have even been know to sit and watch the world go by. It has been an amazing transformation in my walk with God. I find the variety in the ways that I approach him very invigorating and fun. Since it changes everyday, I find my relationship like a diamond with many facets and looks.

Fundamentals are good and important. If you want predictable results, follow the formula. If you choose to go from scratch, who knows what God will do?


#3 – Questions that Jesus Asked

16 10 2008

“Why are you thinking these things in your heart?” Luke 5:22

In one of the most popular stories in the Bible, a paralytic is lowered through the roof for Jesus to heal. Instead of saying that he is healed, he tells him “that his sins are forgiven.” (that is for another time) But what precedes it is a question that takes the reader to the root of the Pharisees and teacher’s hearts. They were the biblical leaders of the time, the ones people looked to for spiritual guidance and strength. Instead, they developed into a legalistic, rule citing group that focused on what is “right” versus what the intent of God’s laws and rules really was. Wasn’t the focus on God really supposed to be a focus on…God.

We do this. Namely, I do this. I can so easily get into doing what is “right” in God’s eyes. Obey his rules, go to church, read my bible, etc. You get it. If our relationship with God was all about doing the right thing, we would be robotic and sterile in our approach to Him. Jesus exposes the leader’s hypocrisy and insecurity by challenging their heart. Try it sometime and you will be amazed at the journey it will take you on. I have been doing this and I have found that I do things more for being right, than for doing them because of a heart that longs to be in communion with his Heavenly Father. I have been working on this area for a while and it is amazing how much growth you can see in it. It actually makes serving God fun again because it is relationship based and not rules based.

Try it today…c’mon, you can do it!

Questions that Jesus Asked – #2

14 10 2008

Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house. Luke 2:49

This is known in my house as an “absolute statement.” Having three young adults, we have talked quite a lot about statements that are like this. “I have to have that,” “You always say this,” “We never do that,” – statements that usually revolve around someone’s world feeling pain and discomfort. You don’t get that sense from Jesus in this passage. In fact, he seems comfortable. It is almost as if he is saying, “this is what I was created for and this is one of the many steps I will take to complete my mission.”

But there is something else in these words that strikes me. “I had” jumps off the page to me. It doesn’t give the impression that he is going down a list of options and picking the one that will bother Mary and Joseph the most. No, he is starting to feel the rumblings inside that it is time to look at things a different way. He is found listening and questioning the leaders and found out that he can hold his own with them. The fire just got stoked! Let me ask you – what do you have an urgency for? What has God put on your heart that you can’t wait to begin moving toward? What stokes your fire? In finding this, put yourself in a position to fan the flame. Let the dreaming and “what if” questions begin to flow. Now, is your time to grow forward.

Questions that Jesus Asked – #1

13 10 2008

“Why were you searching for me?” – Luke 2 : 41

In starting down the road of questions that Jesus asked, it seems almost sensible that the first question would not be a thunderous, spiritual axiom. Instead, he is a child who cannot fathom why his parents were frantic concerning his whereabouts. No distress, no fear, no concern for his safety or well being. Almost to say, there is no other place I am meant to be.

The question is by itself is a great challenge. Why did you go searching for Jesus in the first place? Were you in a deep need for a friend to unpack all your thoughts and feelings to? Was there a situation in which you hoped someone or something could bail you out? Maybe someone convinced you to yield to a higher power that you could not see or touch but know the that he is there? Were you a sinner and didn’t want to face eternity in Hell? These are just a few of the thousands of reasons why people seek Jesus.

But you searched for him. For your own reason, you went on a journey to find the one they call Jesus. It might have been short, long, analytical, emotional, relational, academic, sweet, challenging, or even child like. But you searched. Why? Without sounding like I got it all figured out, let me give you a thought. You wanted to see if he was who he said he was. You wanted to see if he was truly the son of God. You wanted to see if he could save you from your sins. You thought could this guy really know what I am going through. Is he really able to free me from the prision I have put myself in? If I build a relationship with him, I can have a peace and be free from fear?

So for all the reasons we search for Jesus, it comes down to this – Is he really who he says he is? The answer is “yes.” And he is the only person to bank his life, death and resurrection on it to prove it. Keep seeking him – he isn’t done yet!