God provides the way
When God sets forth his plan for the Israelite community, God provides for them a way forward for reconciliation. The entire book of Leviticus is on the theme of reconciliation and God setting apart the Priests for the Holy work of offering sacrifices for atonement and worship.. God knows this community will need forgiveness, and he provides a way for them to do it.
Jesus provides a similar plan for the community of believers that he is forming, the Church.. In Matthew 18, Jesus provides a way for reconciliation, the plan includes: endless forgiveness and approaching a lost brother or sister and righting differences between each other in community.
Jesus sets forth a community that is all about restoring a lost brother or sister, or as he puts it, finding the lost sheep.. Part of what makes the Church a special community is its willingness to forgive one another and its care for the least.
I am encouraged that Jesus knows we are going to sin. He recognizes the need and provides a way for us to enjoy community together. The key to it: Forgiveness.
We as the church are called to forgive one another, and God has set forth his plan in Matthew 18.
Who needs forgiveness today? Is there a lost sheep you need to reach out to?
Where do you read the bible?
Wendy and I are in the midst of debate concerning where you read the Bible. I recently was convicted that my Bible reading shouldn't be in the bathroom. If you consider how we have had the Bible read throughout the generations, it seems awfully irreverent and disrespectful to read the Bible while having a bowel movement.
I know it's the few quiet places in the world, but if it's quiet that you need, wake up earlier. That's what I say.
Anyways, Wendy and I are on a Bible reading adventure, where we need all the time we can get. It's the season of Lent, give up on something and devote your life ever more fervently to God.
Remember, we do not live on bread alone, but the very word of God! Deuteronomy 8:3
The True Shepherd
The true sense of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is rooted in Psalm 23. He is the good and beautiful shepherd who leads his people to renewal, provision and protection. The true and loving shepherd guides his people to a life rid from the fear of evil and towards the place of peace. This shepherd take so serious his role, at the sight of evil, at the very presence of evil, he gives of his life for his sheep. This friends is the compelling love of God. Greater love is this Jesus who gave of his life for us.
John 10:1-18 & Psalm 23.
In John 10, we learn about Jesus as the Good Shepherd. NT Wright brings up how the word “Good” doesn’t do justice to the compelling power of Jesus’ love. He says,
All this should make it clear why Jesus refers to himself as the ‘good’ shepherd (verses 11 and 14). But our word ‘good’ doesn’t quite catch the full meaning of the word John has written here. For us, ‘good’ can sound a bit cold or hard, merely moralistic. The word John uses can also mean ‘beautiful’. This doesn’t refer to what Jesus looked like. It’s about the sheer attractiveness of what, as the shepherd, he was doing. When he calls, people want to come. When they realize he has died for them, they want to even more. The point of calling Jesus ‘the good shepherd’ is to emphasize the strange, compelling power of his love.
[Tom Wright, John for Everyone, Part 1: Chapters 1-10, 153-54 (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004).]
Quick thoughts, meant to encourage. That's what the blog will be about. I will do my best to write a quick and encouraging thought. That's what the blog should be about, and that's what it will be about. Subscribe if you would like.
First thought will come later today...hopefully :)
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.