Devotional Thought of the Day:
37 The Israelites set out on foot from Rameses for Sukkoth. There were about 600,000 men, not counting women and children. 38 A large number of other people and many sheep, goats, and cattle also went with them. Ex. 12:37-38 TEV
If a foreigner has settled among you and wants to celebrate Passover to honor the LORD, you must first circumcise all the males of his household. He is then to be treated like a native-born Israelite and may join in the festival. Ex 12:48 TEV
342 The salt of the earth. Our Lord said that his disciples—you and I also—are the salt of the earth: to render immune to infection, to prevent corruption, to season the world. But he also added: Quod si sal evanuerit…—if the salt itself becomes tasteless, it will be cast out and trampled underfoot by men. On seeing the many things happening which we lament, are you now beginning to find an explanation for what you could not explain before?
As I was reading the account of the Exodus again, I saw them, almost hiding in the background. And I realized they have long been forgotten in the histories, they have long been forgotten in the stories of the Jewish people.
“A large number of other people,” these people that were not Israel, yet left Egypt with them. Not related to Abraham, Issac or Jacob, this large crowd went with them anyway. We don’t for sure know all the reasons for this, could it be they were impressed by the miracles of Moses, could it be that they were in fear of Pharoah, could it be they actually believed in the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob?
And yet ten verses later, they are mentioned again, and the transformation that takes place when these foreigners become people of the covenant. They become as one with the people of God as if they genetics did tie back to the Jewish Patriarchs.
I would think, that without thinking about it, that Moses and his kinsmen were salt in the midst of Egypt. That they had such an impact on their neighbors, because of the simple faith in God, the “I AM”. Their lives brought hope and healing to the people that couldn’t stay behind! That helped them deal with the brokennes of Egypt!
So I would ask you, who would go with you if you were to move? Who would want to stay close? Who lives would you have wanted to touch in such a way that they would want to follow you?
It is something to think about, for you are salt and light, and your work in this world is to point to the amazing love of God and demonstrate that love to those around you…
Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 1589-1594). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
The sermon from Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos Ca.
The subtitle could be The Kingdom of God is Like the Beverly Hillbillies
The Mission: To Reveal Jesus Lifted Up
† In Jesus Name †
May you realize the gifts of God that are yours, the mercy, the peace, the love of the Father, which is yours because Jesus was glorified on the Cross.
Why didn’t they recognize the Father’s voice?
That’s His mission and ours…
When I sit down to study a Bible passage to preach on it, I usually read the passage a few times – and wait for questions to develop before I start looking at the original languages, or at what people have said in the nearly 2000 years since the Bible was completed.
The questions are usually simple observations, the odd things I notice that make me wonder about our relationships. First our relationship with each other, then our relationship with God.
Some of those questions stick with me a while, and so it was this week. The question this week that bugged me.. that creates the basis for this sermon is this,
“Why didn’t the crowd recognize the Voice speaking through the clouds?” Why didn’t they recognize the voice of our Heavenly Father?
After all, how many times have voices spoken from the heavens? Who else could it be?
On this day, as we dedicate our preschool staff, as we start a series looking at God’s mission in this world, the answer to that question is critical. For His mission becomes our mission.
“Why didn’t the crowd recognize the Voice speaking through the clouds” Why didn’t they recognize God’s voice?”
When we realize the answer – we will realize what we are asking our staff to do. Really what we are asking all that are part of this community of faith to do….
Simply put – God’s mission, our mission is to reveal Christ lifted up, entering His glory… that He can draw all to Him.
The Greeks and the Jews… same problem?
Which Jesus would they see?
Today’s gospel reading starts out with the Greeks, the non-Jewish people looking for Jesus. They had come up for the Passover feast, and whether they were simply curious about Judaism or they were in the process of conversion, we do not know. It would be an uncomfortable place to be, for many Jews resented their presence. Which is why they looked for one of the apostles, to ask permission to see Jesus.
Compare that to the Jewish leaders and people themselves who saw Jesus, but did not really see Him. They could grasp that He was, and is the Son of God. It seems ironic – those who desired to see Jesus could not but those that could didn’t really see Him either.
I think we have the same problem today, when we “look” for Jesus, and especially when we want to see Jesus in all of His glory.
Some of us look for the cute Jesus, like in a movie where the star prays to the “sweet 6 pound 8oz baby Lord Jesus”. A Jesus who is not threatening, one we can’t see judging our actions as sinful and self-destructive, but is precious, cute, and cuddly. Like the Greek pilgrims, this is a romanticized version of Jesus to look at, to wonder about, to ooh and ahh about, to expect blessings from when we adore Him.
Others look for the risen and reigning Jesus, the One who will return in all glory, and then everything will be put into its place! Everything will be perfect! Like the Pharisees, we expect God to fulfil that promise – now and here, and according to our plan. When we do not see that happening, we look other places. When we expect God to do things our way and He doesn’t – we give up. When we expect Him to applaud our pride, our self-righteousness, our sin. Instead, He calls us on it and as we ignore Him we cannot recognize His voice, His authority, or His glory.
Like those in the days when Jesus walked and taught in Galilee – too often in our time people want to Jesus on their terms, or they are incapable of seeing Him at all.
What we need to do is see Jesus in all of His glory, when He was glorified.
Then the virgin birth and the 2nd coming can be seen properly… but when was He seen in all His glory?
When was He glorified?
That is the key. It is the reality behind Jesus statement about loving life means losing it – and caring nothing for it in this life…means everything for eternity. He demonstrated that truth on the cross.
You see, when Jesus spoke of it being time for Him to enter into His glory, it is the same as when he talked about being lifted up from the earth… for He is glorified, He is to be praised and honored and exalted, for what happened on the cross.
For like the serpent on Moses’ pole it is when we look to Jesus on the cross, that we know we will be okay. God is here! God is aware of what we are going through! We realize that He will deal with all that burdens us, and all that challenges us, all that sin that would poison our lives and quench the life He gives us.
You see, the greatest thing, the most praiseworthy thing Christ does, was on that cross. When we look there, it is not about the sin that we have committed, it is not about whether we were a Pharisee or a prostitute, a pastor or a tax collector.
It is about realizing that it was because God loves us that he was there, that is was the away God deals with our rebellion, our pride, our sin, with love that only we can only see when we look to Christ. That is why we worship Him, which is why we praise Him, which is why, according to Paul; our Father in heaven glorified His name above every other name. We do not have to do anything to deserve His love – He poured it all out on the cross, when He was lifted up.
That is what our church and our preschool are about – that is what we are all called to do. Simply to reveal the love of Jesus, that love that drove Him to the cross. One of my favorite verses is found in the book of Hebrews – which talks about the joy that was set before Him, the reason He went and did that for which we praise Him.
For the joy that was before Him, Christ endures the cross.
The joy of knowing that we would be drawn to Him, that we would be able to hear the see Jesus, that we would be able to hear the Father. We do not need to lift him up on the cross again, but our praises need to remind us of the love He showed, of the work He has done, of the very claim He has on our life, because of that cross.
For it is there the difference is made, He was lifted up, and we are drawn to Him and praise His name for what He has done in love for us. This is why we will be in heaven. This is why we can forgive others and live free of resentment and guilt, why we don’t have to hate,
Then we know why he was born, and why He will come back again….
For we see Him in all of His glory…in all of His love.
And knowing we are loved, we live in the Father’s peace, a peace that passes all understanding, and guards our hearts and minds which are secure in Jesus. AMEN!