Archive for September 4th, 2009
Long, long ago: before there were microwave ovens and laptop computers, before there were 401K’s, Junk Bonds, or money market accounts, before there were cars and houses, there was nothing. Now when I say nothing I mean nothing. When most people hear “nothing” they think if a desert or wilderness. But that would be something. I mean there was nothing but dirt and a mist rising from the ground. And God reached down and grabbed up a handful of red clay. Then God threw the clay on a potter’s wheel and began shaping something. Finally when God finished shaping it he looked at it and sighed a deep sigh and breathed on it and it came to life. And God clapped his hands and said, “Ha Adam” which roughly translated is “Rusty, my man!”
God realized that Rusty needed a place to live. So God planted a garden on the earth. The garden included every kind of plant that God could create: mosses and herb, fruits and vegetables, and flowers of every sort and color. There was even a tree of forbidden fruit but that is the subject of another story.
Then God said, “Rusty needs something to do. A way to make a living for himself.” So God handed Rusty a rake and said, “You are my chief gardener. You will tend my garden and care for all the plants I have created. And you may eat of the fruits and the vegetables except for that one I told you not to.” And the world was perfect and life was wonderful – at least for a while.
All of Christian doctrine has its roots in the book of Genesis. That is why when I wanted to talk about stewardship, I started with the second chapter of Genesis. We talk about “Stewardship” in the church but most Christians don’t know what we mean. When people hear the word “Stewardship” they think about giving money or more specifically tithing. And that is part of stewardship, but stewardship is much more. In a sense tithing is a symptom of good stewardship not stewardship itself.
Put simply stewardship is the belief that all we have belongs to God and we are merely caretakers or stewards of things. Rusty, better known to us as Adam, didn’t own the Garden of Eden. It was created by God for him, but it was still God’s. Adam was merely its caretaker. He was supposed to tend the garden, but he was also free to take whatever he needed from it.
Stewardship is more than just a concept. It is more like a state of mind. Good stewardship is a discipline. It is not achieved over night but one grows to it by steps.
The first step toward good stewardship is to acknowledge that everything belongs to God. In other words we have to surrender all claims of ownership. For instance most of you came from homes this morning and drove to church in cars. That house and that car don’t belong to you. You might say, “Yup preacher they belong to the bank, I just make the payments.” But even when you have that loan paid, it’s still not yours. You might have some cash in you wallet or pocketbook. It’s not yours either. You might have a checkbook. The money in that account isn’t yours.
This is a hard step to take. The concept of “MINE” is one of the first concepts we learn. In a young child’s mind everything I want is mine. If I see another child playing with a toy I want I holler “Mine” and grab it. As we grow concepts of “Who had it first” or “Who has the deed” limit our concept of “mine” but it still remains. I mean we throw people in jail for violating our concepts of “mine.”
This step means throwing the concept of “mine” away. There is no “mine.” There is only God’s. Once you have surmounted that obstacle good stewardship is only one step away.
The second step is to recognize that we have been given the privilege of using and caring for God’s things. If we stop before this step, then we would all have to take a vow of poverty. But God has all this stuff. We look around and there are neighborhoods full of houses. Look out the window. A lot full of cars! Feel in your pockets. Change! God can’t just leave us all homeless and penniless. So God let us use His stuff. We drive His cars and use His money to feed our families and live in His houses.
They are ours to use but they really belong to God. We are merely caretakers of these things. So we are not free to do whatever we like with them. If your friend leaves town as says you can drive his car while he is gone, you are supposed to take care of it. If you don’t and wreak the car because of carelessness, then you are a bad caretaker.
So good or bad stewardship is a function of how we use and care for all the thing God lets us use. How do we use our cars and houses and money and time? If we use it in ways that honors God: meaning if we support God’s work and do God’s will, then we are Good Stewards.
FARM TOWN: facebook. Some of you have invited me to join you in playing this game.
Premise: You have a plot of land, and you rely on one another to care for the farm..
i don’t have time every day… i don’t rely on my friends and neighbors..
I have not learned the balance of spending, sharing, helping, and waiting…
so my farm is dead more often than not.
God’s Garden is not a game, it is the real farm, entrusted to us for its care… God’s accounting….
But let’s not forget Rusty, uh Adam. He is a model for God’s plan for our place in this world. God placed us on this earth to enjoy his gifts and give him glory. The problem is that we begin seeing it as our earth not his. As long as we view ourselves as caretakers placed in this garden, then we can get off the concept of MINE and move on to “God’s.”
We are the creation of God. He made each of us from the dust of the earth and breathed into us the breath of life. Then God placed us in a garden so we could live and grow. Sure our garden is different:, we have some of the same things: flowers and fruits and vegetables. Even some forbidden fruit. But we also have microwaves and laptops and cars and houses.
And God lets us use these things. But the bottom line is that it’s all God’s. We are only the caretakers of God’s possessions. And the earlier we acknowledge that then the easier tithing and stewardship and all of life will be.
As a way of helping to plan, especially in these times of lean and the unexpected, we are asking each other to make/renew commitments to tend the Garden together.
…..to do so, we are drawing on the tradition of the pony express. that once delivered the mail, to be an inter-dependent way of gathering our commitment cards:
Bag: Start Wed. PM at fellowship Dinner, bags due back Sun 5/10/09
Cards: Indicating your commitment.. (even if it is to check, I don’t do cards)
Envelops: Sign on the outside, seal it
Bag: Deliver it to the next person on the bag…
Team that gets the bag back first, completed, get’s lunch for the whole
team, (disclaimer, not on Mothers Day)
First John Chapter 3 verses 16-24
I John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19 This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20 whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
23 And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Children don’t like to share toys. Mine, Mine, Mine.
The concern of the child is self-absorbed.
There is a healthy development process that all human beings have a stage to learn to feed, defend, protect the self or we are someone else’s lunch.
Sacrificial Living: is not simply self denial
Sacrificing for the good of the other person.
Give up sugar and butter because the exchange is better health.
Children’s words vs Children’s actions
The tone of voice, the shape of an eye lid or brow
Tell a child the truth…
It’s not in the words that we say, it is in the love that we share.
Children’s have eager hearts, willing to run, trust, taste, dance, and more, but no matter how open, Christ has SACRIFICED MORE FOR US than we can EVERY HOLD.
He has given away more than we can ever grab…
Children have confidence in the heavenly parent who knows best for them.. You can do anything, you’re my dad.
Children obey the Father’s commandments, because they are what is best for us, like the rules or not.
Our commandment is to BELIEVE in the Jesus
love each other in the way God commands us to love.
A life, evident of God’s spirit. Is not proud, Is not bossy
a witness of God within is not judgement, doesnt pit sides
A life, that reveals God’s spirit, is giving without cost counting
a witness of God with what we have, doesnt hold grudges
A life, like ours is commanded to sacrifice, not for the sake of sacrifice, but because we genuinely know God’s love is worth all.
19 When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22 When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” 26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.
How strong is the power of fear? Fear says: you shouldn’t, you couldn’t, you will be in trouble if you. Others will laugh AT you. Others will reject you. You will be alone, forgotten, unloved. You will be a failure, ..again.
Fear of letting someone down?
Fear of letting our weaknesses show?
Fear of not succeeding Fear of attention?
Fear of silence Fear of death Fear of pain
Fear of no-feeling Fear of rejection Fear of loss
Fear of having too much Fear of Fear itself.
Let not your heart be afraid…come to me all who labor and are heaven laden.
Fear Not, I bring you tiding of good news, a great joy.
Peace, be still
When we are not afraid, when our guard is down.
When our stealth coating of protect is penetrated.
Are we capable of more or less?
If I were not afraid, what would I do?
I can do all things in Christ who gives me strength.
If I were afraid, what would I do for God? write them down, read them aloud.
With Each congregation responds…
Peace be with you, God is sending you.
452: My Faith Looks Up2the 203:Hail to the Lord’s Anointed 436: Lord, Speak to Me 700: Abide with Me 251: Go Tell it on the Mountain
Elijah and Moses: Signs of the Times. How did the disciples recognize them?
Was it there clothes? the Mantle of Elijah?
The stone Tablets with Moses?
Hello My Name is… badges?
In the clouds, God work is revealed. All the law and the prophets are summed up in Jesus.
Peter is correct in saying: ” it is good to be here where Jesus is revealed.”
His response to the GOOD opportunity, goes sour when he wants to make it history rather than reality or future.
opportunity know God, but don’t take it.
good news shared, but not heard with ears of faith
The identity of Jesus is not final part of the story, but it bring information to empower the actions that follow.
Jesus and the others go to a place, apart, to be alone
Jesus is fully revealed to them, and again
They were alone, they saw no one, except Jesus.
Wait until THE ultimate work of healing, power, grace, & love is shown through the resurrection…
We live now, knowing the news, knowing the truth…
The disciples discussion was focused on RESURRECTION. What does it mean, this “rising from the dead?”
Jesus Christ is revealed to me, and you.
in the light bulb, in the healing, in the answered prayer
in the music, in the peace, in the furry, in this moment-here
The life I live is more than my own.
It is rather arrogant for us to think of ourselves as self-made
And to think that our lives are independent of God knowing
Elijah/Moses/Jesus show up for the REVEALING PARTY
The actions of this life, effect my spiritual life, eternally
The prophets prepared us for this moment
The laws lead us up as far as they could
WHAT JESUS IS ABOUT TO DO, is for us all, even NOW
DISCIPLES, know Jesus is truth, know the witness is great, but the RESURRECTION is the power, greater than his self or our self
That reveals, proves, and gives God’s love to us ALL
And he said to them, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power.” 2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them.3 His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4 And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 6 (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) 7 Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” 8 Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10 They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what “rising from the dead” meant.
9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
The Relationship God desires with you is a Friend.
God does not want rule followers
God does not want puppets
God does not want slaves
God does not want individual strangers in a foreign land.
God does not want you to mind your own business, on the contrary (mind God’s business, together)
The completed circle of Joy is that we obey out of love, not legal requirement.
Couples come to be married, many want pretty wedding pictures or to please Momma, but marriage
is a model,
We are a fellowship of Friends.
It is an interdependent and mutual relationship of FRIENDSHIP
Friends, know and are entrusted with the Master’s business
Not only know the business, but it becomes our business
Friends, the fruit of God’s vine
The product of God entrusting people with his work, the produce is FRIENDSHIP
Not the friendship that is a one-up
Not business networking
Not for MY advantage, but for God’s
SO WHAT IS FRIENDSHIP
Friendship involves the choice of sharing, trusting, loving.
SO evangelism is bringing your friends to know Christ.
SO worship is blossoming into the people and relationship God has hoped for us
Are you my friend?
Who is not your friend? How is the Kingdom bless by you deciding not to allow forgiveness..
Our heritage is friendship…
it is what has brought us where we are and it is where God’s course is set to take us
Friends don’t let friends, off the hook
Friends don’t let friends, have their own way, rather God’s way
Friends turn the other cheek, not a blind eye
Friends ask in Jesus name
Friends remember the love and forget the past
Friends are friends for ever, if the lord’s the lord of them… let it be, with you and me, friend.
Psalm 1:1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 1:2 but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. 1:3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper. 1:4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 1:5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 1:6 for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
John 17:6 “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 17:7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 17:8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 17:9 I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 17:11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 17:12 While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 17:13 But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. 17:14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17:15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 17:16 They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 17:18 As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
Water the garden.— toopsy turvy
fruit in due season — fruit is love, mercy grace
leaves do not wither — signs to measure too wet..
As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
It would be nice to stay near the buffet.
It would be nice to stay near the oak tree base.
Is that where Christ calls us?
It would be comfortable to stay in the bed.
It would be comfortable to be served instead of serving.
Is that where Christ needs us?
It would be safe to mind your own business
It would be safe to keep to your self.
Is that what Christ tells us?
It would be polite to leave people alone
It would be polite to never bother anyone
Is that what Christ showed us?
It would be understandable to hide our fears
It would be understandable to wait for safer conditions
Is that how Christ leads us?
It would be politically correct to tolerate all things
It would be politically correct to look the other way
Is that how Christ stands for us?
It would be acceptable to the world to only look after our own.
It would be acceptable to the world to justify our own will is divine right.
Is that why Christ died for us?
It would be easy to live Jesus back in history or up in heaven.
It would be easy to say it does matter what I do or do not do.
Is that why Christ rose from the dead, for us
Jesus came, as God Almighty & Al-gracious, to show us how to live and love both God and all people…
We live in a SERVE-me environment
We live in the midst of War, Famine, Fear & Greed
WHAT ARE WE TO DO?
26 He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, 27 and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. 28 The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come.” 30 He also said, “With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable will we use for it? 31 It is like a mustard seed, which, when sown upon the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth; 32 yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.” 33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it; 34 he did not speak to them except in parables, but he explained everything in private to his disciples.
How many kernels of corn come from one ear? 600
How many ears grow on one stalk? conservative (1)
How many stalks can you plant in one acre? (13000)
conservatively 5000 commercially 35000 (Avg 22K)
How many kernels can you produce on one acre?
a)An acre of land is 43,560 sq. ft. √43,460 = 208.71 ft per side.
b)If the rows are 2.5 ft. apart, # rows 208.71 ÷ 2.5 = 83.48
c)corn plants will be in each row if there are 22,000 plants in a square acre? 22,000 ÷ 83.48 = 263.54 22,000 x 600 + 13,200,000 kernels
Here is the ease math problem for the summer student:
2.3 acres, 200 members, 365 days, 24 hours
and NO one plants the first kernel,
WHAT IS THE ESTIMATED YEILD in Number of Ears?
What is the possibility of forgiving one person in Jesus?
What is the possibility of love one who is unloved?
What is the possibility of serving one who is not our own?
What is the possibility of witnessing faith to 1 searching?
What is the possibility if we DO NOT?
The earth produces of itself… the farmer can improve the lot, with water, fertilizer, herbicides, crop rotation, etc. But the Good Lord, has the earth does the work
Do you have to tell or teach a seed how to grow?
Do you have to understand how it works to plant it?
Do you have to have experience for the ground to host?
Do you need to think someone else will do the planting?
CAN YOU WORK FOR SOMEONE OTHER THAN SELF
3) purpose is to bear fruit, if the fruit is all for the farmer to eat and be fed and filled, then neither the farmer nor the butch, baker, or candle stick maker will have things to eat next season.
a)CERTAINTY of harvest in the call to plant
Q: b) If all we are called to do is scatter the Good News
with out responsibility on where it lands or roots…
c) why not try and see what God will do.
Ezk 37: 1 The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2 He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3 He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” 4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6 I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.” 7 So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8 I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. 9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” 10 I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude. 11 Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, “Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ 12 Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13 And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14 I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord.”.
Rom8: 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ
Acts2: 1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
Hope for the Dead..
–those who are dead, but walk among us..
The prophet Ezekiel is taken to a place of observation: a new perspective…
Looking at the people of God: seeing their hearts
The Spirit has the power to take us off our feet
John Hayes: OT professor, pulled the rug.
2 see where you’d stand when u got back up
What gives you hope, when you have no hope??
Most folks just give up.
Most folks live with fear and doubt
Most folks live with regret and blame
If you had a chance to reclaim hope,
What would you do to take it?
Been burned too many times to try?
God’s eternal presences, the Holy Spirit, is our promise of Hope.
WRITE THAT ON YOUR HEART..
if not for you, for someone
Ezk 37:4 Old Dry Bones, HEAR the Lord’s promise
The body parts are visible, they are empty of life.
vs 9 Prophesy to the breath…
The breath that moved in chaos
moved over the face of the deep
moved into the clay and sticks 2 ribs
Don’t just make some NOISE, don’t just rattle the bones ….Tell them about the spirit..
We are people of the Holy Spirit
God’s Spirit is my Spirit, God in me
Rom 8… the spirit that is the very spirit of God in us
our kinship link… Christ in us
nfhnhdntweActs 2:7 … the spirit gives the ability to hear what our ear will not hear.
Cochlear Implant: Can’t hear without it.
Ezekiel 37:12 I will bring U back 2 relationship..your own soil.
… the spirit comes to restore us
… to comfort – quench our hunger/thrist
… to guild – to show us what is dead
… to teach – in progress of children 2 heirs
… to live – hope for the dead, beats
Call 127: Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah – 382: Have Thine Own Way, Lord – 427: Where Cross the Crowded Ways of Life – 479: Jesus, Lover of My Soul – 301: Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross
40 A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” 41 Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. 43 After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, 44 saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.
You just found gas for $1.49/gal. don’t tell us where it is.
You are having a baby, but don’t tell anyone.
You just won a brand new car, don’t show it to anyone.
Your mortgage has just been forgiven, keep quiet the news.
Your scans came back Cancer free, don’t celebrate
Jesus heals a man from the disease of leprosy and gives him a stern warning to tell no one, but go to the priest, to be declared restored.
Why might Jesus warn this man so sternly to say nothing..?
For years I have heard others say: it was reverse psychology that if you tell someone to keep a secrete you can count on them telling anyone and everyone..
Especially when it is such a transformational healing and restoring into the community.
To have leprosy is to have a painful, contagious and lonely condition as you would be forced to leave your family and possessions and beg outside the city gates until you died or got better.
When you learn to swim, I will let you go to the pool.
Study of the traditions, it was important to the faith community since the time of Moses to allow the priest to be the guardian of the community to open or close the doors of inclusion or exclusion for the safety and strength of the community.
Cleanliness laws keep infectious diseases from infesting
Cleanliness food laws keep bodies healthier
Cleanliness rituals were for safety and identity.
Jesus wants to insure that this man is included in the community, restored not only in health, but to his family, work, part in the community.
What does it mean to come back home from the far country for the prodigal son? Signet ring, Coat of Arms, and Reception Celebration… What did he have to do to be restored?
The man, filled with Joy, lost his social filter and blurted it out! so that Jesus could no long go from town to town openly..
SO WHAT: Don’t miss the plot for the special effect.
2 Kings 5:1-14
5:1 Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man and in high favor with his master, because by him the LORD had given victory to Aram. The man, though a mighty warrior, suffered from leprosy.
5:2 Now the Arameans on one of their raids had taken a young girl captive from the land of Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. 5:3 She said to her mistress, “If only my lord were with the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”
5:4 So Naaman went in and told his lord just what the girl from the land of Israel had said. 5:5 And the king of Aram said, “Go then, and I will send along a letter to the king of Israel.” He went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten sets of garments.
5:6 He brought the letter to the king of Israel, which read, “When this letter reaches you, know that I have sent to you my servant Naaman, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” 5:7 When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to give death or life, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Just look and see how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me.”
5:8 But when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, he sent a message to the king, “Why have you torn your clothes? Let him come to me, that he may learn that there is a prophet in Israel.”
5:9 So Naaman came with his horses and chariots, and halted at the entrance of Elisha’s house. 5:10 Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go, wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored and you shall be clean.”
5:11 But Naaman became angry and went away, saying, “I thought that for me he would surely come out, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and would wave his hand over the spot, and cure the leprosy!
5:12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them, and be clean?” He turned and went away in a rage.
5:13 But his servants approached and said to him, “Father, if the prophet had commanded you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? How much more, when all he said to you was, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
5:14 So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; his flesh was restored like the flesh of a young boy, and he was clean.