If Jesus is the Answer, What’s the Question?

If we present a “good news” that is two dimensional rather than wholistic we run the risk of giving answers to questions that no one is asking.

“If Jesus is the answer then what is the question?”   Jesus Saves.  “From what?”  From sin, from hell. “What sin?”  “Are you judging me?”

Jesus adapted the Gospel of the Kingdom differently to different people.  He only told one person, “You must be born again”. To another he said, “Sell all you have”. To another he offered the water of life. To many he just told stories and demonstrated the heart of his Father by healing, forgiving, raising the dead and delivering from spiritual bondage.

If we listen to the longings in the hearts of “men of peace” in any culture or community, we will find that the answers to those longings are present in the wonderful news of great joy which is for all people.

The Hebrew scriptures are filled with the idea that God is our yeshuwa, which is most often translated salvation; but also can mean deliverance, aid, help, victory, prosperity, health, welfare).  This usage of the word does not require a “sacramental” salvation for the soul.  Jesus (whose name means Savior) re-enforces what the Hebrew scriptures reveal about God as our helper in the midst of all kinds of human suffering such as sickness, demonic bondage, poverty, oppression from our enemies, and the burdens of guilt and shame. There are many problems that face the human race. To know that God is our helper and deliverer in these, and from these, is Great News  for all people. This is certainly not foreign to Hebrew thought.The wonderful news of both Hebrew and Christian thought alike is that God has not abandoned us, does not hold our sins against us, but is with us. “Immanuel”
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Ownership of the Earth

Most wars are fought over ownership of the land.  In most cases right of ownership is determined by whoever gets there first, or has the most strength (either military or monetary).

Consider some principals relating to rights of ownership:

1. The earth and everything in it, belongs to the Creator who divides the Land according to inheritance rights.  (Psalm 24:1)  Can we just take it and say it’s  ours because we are living on it or using it?  In any case it is only “ours” in “trust” to care for and manage according to the Creator’s Family values.

2.  Inheritance rights are based upon Family relationship.  Discovering our identity as sons and daughters of the Creator is essential to discovering our inheritance and passing it on to our children.  “You are my son…Ask me and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, and the ends of the earth as your possession” (Psalm 2)

3. Inheritance rights are rooted in our spiritual ancestry.  Our right to the land is not simply a matter of our genetic or ethnic ancestry. Here is where things get messy.

For example, the ancient arguments over sovereignty in the Middle East still hinge upon inheritance rights. Who are the true heirs of Father Abraham? Who inherits the Land of Canaan?
a. Ethnic or genetic descendants (Jew or Arab),
b. Religious descendants (Islam or Judaism),
c. National descendants (Israeli or Palestinian),
d. Those who were there first,
e. Those who claim rights of conquest.
f. None of the above

Abraham’s inheritance rights came from his identity as a spiritual son of the Creator. Those who inherit his promise are those who share the same spiritual relationship (not the same religion, not the same genetic code, and not the same ethnic or national origin).

“People (from any nation) who have the faith of Abraham, are his true children and heirs of the promise”  (Paul).

“Don’t say, Abraham is our father and think your genetic descent from Abraham gives you inheritance rights”.  (Jesus, my paraphrase).

The earth herself is wired to recognize its rightful heirs.   She suffers under the burden of violence and injustice. Murdered blood cries out from the ground. Land that is defiled or polluted will actually eject her inhabitants. “Creation groans in frustration and waits eagerly for the unveiling of the children of the Creator.” (Roman 8:19-22)

4.  Inheritance of the earth requires meekness.  “Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).   What does it mean to be meek?

The original word in the Greek language is “praus”.  It’s a tough word to translate.  The closest is an archaic usage of the English word “gentle” meaning “one who is disciplined, not wild or unrestrained”.

For example, a wild horse becomes “gentle” when it is trained and has learned to bring its will into cooperation with its owner, trainer or rider.  A man was considered a “gentle-man” because he was refined, courteous, educated or honorable.

Imagine a mighty war horse joining the battle with his own cry of challenge, sharing his master’s passion and zeal with all his heart.  Imagine him charging into the fight with fire in his eyes, nostrils flaring, teeth bared listening to no other command or distraction, sensitive to the slightest shift of weight or pressure from the warrior on his back, who must keep both hands free to wield weapons. (These great horses would often listen to only one master.)  Can we think of such a horse as meek or gentle?

In modern usage both words (meek and gentle) have lost some of their original meaning.  We think of a meek person negatively.  He’s a lightweight, mild mannered, weak, even spineless and wishy-washy.  A gentle person fares better.  “He’s a nice guy, thoughtful, kind and sensitive.  She’s nice too, a sweet person, good to children and kind to animals.”

The Master isn’t saying, “Blessed are all the nice gentle people, for they will inherit the earth”.  He described Moses as the meekest man that ever lived.  Moses was no lightweight.  It takes more than being kind or nice to walk into Pharaoh’s court and demand the release of Egypt’s labor pool, millions of slaves.  How was this great “meekness” helpful to a nation of slaves searching for their inheritance?

Jesus described himself as meek.  “Learn of me for I am meek…” (Matthew 12:29).  When he cleared the temple court with a whip and zeal for his Father’s House, he was not being nice, but he was being meek.  When he called the religious leaders “hypocrites” and whitewashed tombs, he was operating in meekness.

Biblical meekness means “authority under authority”.  It means a son or daughter of the Creator’s Family operating on earth in joyful cooperation and agreement with the Government of heaven.  Jesus said, “If I am doing my own thing, then you have a right to say that my message and works are not from the Creator (paraphrase mine).   “The fruit of the spirit is…meekness (gentleness).”  It’s the way Family business is done.  It is how we possess what our Creator Father  has planned for us to inherit.

Foolishness

It does seem pretty foolish to tackle the really big questions like the Meaning of Life, World Peace and the future of planet earth, but I can’t seem to help myself. Besides, I haven’t got anything better to do

I’m not trying to compete or even debate with the great philosophers or religions.  Certainly, better people than me have beaten their heads against these questions and left us with their wisdom and foolishness.

A guy they used to call the wisest man came up with this conclusion:

“Meaningless, Meaningless!” says the preacher… “Everything is meaningless.”

“Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and foolishness, but I learned that this too is chasing after the wind.  For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;  the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:2,17-18 NIV

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  But, if your anything like me,  there’s something that keeps driving you down this road. Your welcome to join me and comment as the spirit moves.  If by some miracle you find any of this helpful, please let me know.