In Dull Disciples we notice how much Jesus' disciples missed and how little they understood of his teaching and who he was. We also look at how much we are like them.
The Bible describes the church as a building made up not of bricks and stone, but of living Christians. Ephesians 2:20 explains that the foundation for this temple being built for the glory of God is the teaching and examples of the apostles and prophets and that Jesus is the Cornerstone. That makes him the most important of course.
We don’t use Cornerstones in many of our buildings today. Everything is wood frames or steel beams and we don’t really build the way they did. The cornerstone is the most important, usually largest and always the first stone laid and with good reason. That large stone will affect everything that comes after it. The orientation of the corner stone will affect which direction the building is facing. If it is not level you could easily wind up with the leaning tower of Piza when you are finished.
Jesus is our cornerstone so that as we are built around and on top of him we will face the right direction as well as being stable and upright. The image of Christ the cornerstone was prophesied all the way back in Psalm 118. In verse 22 of that Psalm he is pictured as a stone that the builders rejected, but that became the cornerstone. This verse is quoted 5 times in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts, and 1 Peter. The builders are the religious leaders of Jesus’ day and they rejected him. They wanted to build according to their own plan and not God’s.
What about you and me? Will we be like them and reject Jesus? Or will we accept him as the cornerstone God made him and allow God to build us on Christ as he sees fit? Peter says this cornerstone is chosen and precious and if we will believe in him we will not be put to shame. Let’s trust the master builder and build our lives and be built in his church the way he wants us to be.
There is a story about a boy who saw a man parking his brand new expensive car. The boy asked about it and found out it had been a gift from the man’s brother. The boy said, “I wish...” (You know what came next don’t you? Or do you?) “I wish I could be a brother like that.” Read the rest of the story at http://www.chickensoup.com/book-story/36169/a-brother-like-that. Of course we have a brother like that, Jesus has done far more than give us a car.
And Jesus left us an example so we could be brothers (and sisters) like that as well. Jesus gave us so much, and all he expects in return is for us to do God’s will. Mark 3:34-35 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
Younger children usually either are jealous of an older sibling, or want to be just like them in every way possible. What a great older brother we have in Jesus. The question is which will we do? Are we jealous of him because he is perfect? Do we envy him because he is better known? Do we want to be just like him? I hope that we all want to be like him. He always did what the Father wanted him to do (John 8:29). He gave until there was nothing more he could give us.
We can be siblings like Jesus. We can give ourselves to our brothers and sisters and devote ourselves to doing God’s will. We will not always live up to the standards our big brother did, but we can keep trying.
Think about the things our brother, Christ, has done for us. How have we responded to him? Won’t you decide today that you want to be a brother like that and make whatever changes you need to make to love Christ and love your brethren like he loves you?
John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
We have all heard of someone being a boss’s right-hand man. There is no more important position for an employee to be in than that. Joseph was Pharaoh’s right-hand man, Aaron was for Moses, and Moses was for God. But what if you weren’t just next in line? What if you could be more than a hand?
Jesus is pictured at the right hand of God more than once (Ps. 110:1; Mt. 26:64; Mk 12:36; Acts 2:33), but he is more than just God’s right-hand man like Moses had been, he actually is part of the Godhead. He is “the Arm of the Lord” as John says in 12:37-38 quoting Isaiah 53:1. How much do we use our arms? How much has God used His Arm? Psalm 98:1-2 says, “His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.” Isaiah 51:9 begs God to use his arm in his day as he had in the past. Then in 52:10 he says the Lord’s holy arm is bare and the salvation of God will be seen to the furthest extent of the earth. Surely Jesus’ coming is being considered here.
The passage John quotes; however, asks “who has believed our report?” and “to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Jesus had done so many powerful miracles revealing himself as the arm of the Lord, but many people still wouldn’t believe. He claimed this fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy.
If we continued reading Isaiah 53 we would find it familiar. The Christ would be rejected by men and despised and ultimately suffer and die bearing the iniquity(sin and wickedness) of us all. Yes, God put his arm on display for all to see and then cut that arm off and allowed his arm to die separated from him(Mt. 27:46) How impressive that his arm lives and reaches out to save us even now. At the end of that arm is the hand that is not shortened or unable to save (Isa 59:1).
Christ, the Arm of the Lord, reaches out to save us. Will you reach out and allow him to take your hand in his and keep it there so that you can be saved? It you will there is no power that can remove it.
jp - The Arm of the Lord
Articles from our bulletin. Mostly written by James Pasley, our preacher and Sunday's Sermons.