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Monday, April 19, 2010

4/19/10- Will the Real Jesus Please Stand up? Mark 6:14-16

14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him." 15 Others said, "He is Elijah." And still others claimed, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago." 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!" (Mark 6:14-16)

(Herod's tomb- not far from- and overlooking- Bethlehem)
What does the world say about Jesus?  Some thought he was a religious leader.  This wasn't reincarnation- but resurrection.  They thought John had been raised from the dead.  But John the Baptist was not the messiah- and to his credit, never claimed to be.  Some thought he was Elijah- for Elijah had ascended into heaven in a chariot (we get that song, "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" from that story).  Perhaps, they thought, the chariot has returned?  Moses prophesied that God would raise up "a prophet like me" (Deut. 18:15). 

Some say he was a magician, a miracle worker.  It seems that in the end, that is how Herod saw Jesus.  "Jesus Christ Superstar" has Herod saying, "Walk across my swimming pool" (Lk. 23:8).
(See link below to youtube of this song).

But sin and guilt often guide what we see and how we see.  Some, loving their sin, and refusing to admit their guilt, will not see Jesus as Lord.  Others, know that Jesus is great, and his presence- or even thinking about him- make them feel guilty.  So Herod thought about his evil imprisonment and killing of John the Baptist.  John was arrested because he told Herod the truth- that he was an adulterer, stealing his own brother's wife, who also was closely related to him (a bit incestuous).   Herod's wicked wife had Herod kill John (more about this later this week).  In his guilt, Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist, raised from the dead in order to haunt him. 
     How do we see Jesus?  It is no secret that we see Jesus partially as one of us.  White folk often paint him as a caucasian, and some blacks paint him as African.  Chinese see Jesus looking like them.  Amer-Indians seem him like them.  I once thought we should try really hard to remove our culture from Jesus (like Albert Schweitzer's vain search for "the true Jesus").  But that is impossible. We see Jesus through the eyes that God has given us in His providence to use.  We cannot (nor should not) escape the eyes and minds God has given us.  We should challenge ourselves to see him in many-faceted, broadened ways, but even that is providential and limited by our information and mind.  Jesus is meant to be seen through the life, mind, and eyes that God has given us.  He is not meant to be only intellectually identified (like reading a biographical credential).  Rather, He is meant to be loved, and followed. 

Prayer: Lord, help me to not just know about you, but to know you, love you, and follow you.  (YouTube of "King Herod's Song")

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