Here are four common responses to Jesus’ basic message (“Repent. Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”).
1. By far the most common is, “I don’t want to think about it.”
2. Then we have the demented scholar’s point of view: “Today’s best scholarship has concluded Jesus is definitely not what he’s cracked up to be. The Bungadunga scrolls from the third century clearly state that Jesus never said anything the Bible claims he said and never did anything the Bible says he did. He was not born of a virgin. He humped all his disciples. After he died on the cross his disciples stole his body and claimed that he rose from the dead but the fact is he’s dead so he’s obviously not coming back. The billions who put their faith in him are all sick, stupid people who have been duped by the religious establishment for profit. The countless miracles credited to his name every day are all lies. He never had a kingdom so there’s nothing to see.”
To this I say,
I can either live in him
and reign in life by my decree
or live in bondage, parroting
the chatter of society.
3. Then we have, like the bumper sticker I once saw:
“Jesus is coming back and man, is he pissed.”
To this Jesus says,
“You’re mine before the world began;
mine beyond the very end.
You’re with me here in heaven, now,
and with me when I come again.”
4. Many people firmly believe that when Jesus comes he will take them somewhere else to experience his kingdom, like the bumper sticker, “This car will be abandoned in case of rapture.”
“If Jesus told us, “Pray like this,
‘Your kingdom come to earth, today,’”
Who would pray the opposite,
“Jesus, come take us away.”?
For those living in any of these four camps the idea of the kingdom being at hand is irrelevant, but next week I want to talk about three things that even people who would like to see the kingdom do all the time. These are more subtle than the four stupidities I just mentioned, but just as effective at blocking our view of the kingdom. To make matters worse, society as a whole considers these perfectly normal and acceptable things to do, even necessary for the common good (it’s not the usual list of sins).
Tune in next week.
Spirit of Fire news
Well, I didn’t get the bookmaking underway (but I did manage to get my son Nick’s house in Charlottesville wrapped up and ready to sell). I’m excited about hand-making some sample books of Spirit of Fire this week, next week’s subject the anointing of Jesus.
Launch is June 21 — just a month away!