Jan 13, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
I hope you will join us every week and be sure to let us know how you enjoy the podcast and let others know about it, too. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
Last week I talked about John's description of Jesus as the Word. We are bombarded by words every day that attempt to sway us to the world's way of thinking, but Jesus gives us truth because he is truth. I want to go back to John's description again, but in a different light.
Imagine yourself living in Jesus' day. You live in a small village outside Jerusalem and see Roman soldiers pass through your town almost every day. When you see them coming, you do your best to make yourself invisible because the Roman soldiers have a reputation for cruelty. You hate the very fact they occupy your nation and live among you. You detest the abuse they inflict on innocent villagers who happen to be in their way or hesitate to do what they ask or look at them with anything other than honor and respect.
You've witnessed the verbal abuse, the floggings, and the crucifixions these beasts made an art form in their heinous subjugation of others. You'll do anything to keep your family and yourself out of their sight as they pass through.
The Pharisees that rule the synagogues and temple are not much better. The rules they pile on you to appease God create such a burden it seems impossible to please the God Moses told us to serve. Is he any different than the pantheon of Roman and Greek gods who demand so much? The Pharisees have added so many laws, things we must and must not do to please God, it seems easier to satisfy Zeus than Jehovah.
But you've heard of a prophet named John, who has said the Messiah has come. He says we should repent, and he has called the Pharisees vipers because they tell us to do things they do not do themselves. He calls them hypocrites to their faces. So you go out to see this prophet. And you happen to be there when the writer of the gospel of Matthew describes an incredible event: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.
And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:13-17 NIV)
God arrived. The Kingdom of heaven came to earth. The Messiah, the Redeemer, lives with us. There is hope for peace and relief from the struggle you've faced all your life. Something good is about to happen. This man you saw come up from the water will change everything. You can feel the excitement in the air as all around you experience the beginning of his ministry today.
Someone beside you reminds you of the power of the voice of God as they sing out one of David's Psalms:
Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory of his name; worship the LORD in holy splendor.
The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over mighty waters.
The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the LORD causes the oaks to whirl, and strips the forest bare; and in his temple all say, "Glory!"
The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace! (Psalms 29 NIV)
This man is the one. His voice carries the strength and power of the Almighty because he is the Son of Jehovah. His voice separated the waters at creation. His voice has the power of the whirlwind and shakes the earth. His voice rings across the water and through the valley where you stand, and you feel the majesty in it. As he speaks, you know he fears nothing.
The Romans from whom you cower are nothing to him. The Pharisees standing on the shore quiver at his gaze. The poor and outcast feel his compassion. The mood of those around him changes as his eyes make contact with theirs. It seems no one can encounter him without being affected. It's like he can see into your soul.
The crowd would follow him anywhere right now. But he left as soon as he came out of the water. No one really knows where he went. Some think he went to Jerusalem, but the road is too busy for someone not to notice him. Some say he went back to Gallilee, but again the road is too heavily traveled for him just to disappear. Some say he was led into the wilderness by an angel. But who is to say how an angel looks?
Whoever this man is, you know you want to see him and hear his voice again. Wherever this man has gone, you know you want to follow him. There is something about him that draws you to him like a moth to a flame. You know he will satisfy the hunger in your heart as nothing else can. If only you can find him once more, you will never let him get away from you...ever.
Perhaps a few thought like the man described in this story. Most did not. The same is true today. We have 2,000 years of evidence that Jesus is who he said he was. We can trace with our technology, all the cross-references between Old Testament prophecy and Jesus' fulfillment of those prophecies, almost 500 of them. The odds that Jesus is not the Messiah based on prophecy fulfillment statistical analysis alone is so great as to be irrefutable, better than our best criminal DNA matches to a single individual.
So, if that's true, why do we resist him so much? He never told us to do anything that would hurt anyone, or that would hurt us. His commands are simple: Love God; and love others. Those two commands are not always easy to carry out, but they are simple to remember. So, why do we not listen? Why do we push him away? Why are we so insistent on having our way and not his? A single word answers the question and it's the same word that caused Adam and Eve's expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Selfish. I want what I want. Period. Even at the expense of eternal separation from the God who made me and gave his all for my redemption.
This year, put yourself in the place of the man in the story just outside Jerusalem. Long for the one John baptized. Seek the voice of the one who can give peace and joy in a world filled with war and anger. He is here. He wants us to find him. It doesn't take much effort, but we do have to walk away from the world to him. I guarantee it is worth the effort.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NIV are taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (NIV): Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™. Used by permission of Zondervan