Each Monday, we share quotes we found encouraging, convicting, thought-provoking, or all of the above.
The fact that Jesus was both man and God is a crucial aspect of our faith. As Christians, with 2,000 years of teaching behind us, we take it for granted. Set in its own time, the claim that Jesus was God was a difficult truth to grasp. It was truly an earth shattering reality. In the book How God Became Jesus, Michael Bird comments on how scandalous it was for Jesus to be considered God and to be worshipped:
To Jewish audiences, worshiping a crucified man was blasphemy; it was about as kosher as pork sausages wrapped in bacon served to Jews for a jihad fundraiser. To Greeks, worshiping a man recently raised from the dead was like doing obeisance to the first zombie you met in a zombie apocalypse. If Christian ideas about God were so snug and down within the ancient world, then why was Paul flogged by Jewish communities (2 Cor 11:24) and laughed out of the Athenian Areopagus by Greek philosophers (Acts 17:32)? Could it be that the Christian idea of God was startling, odd, and even offensive to the Jews and pagans, who had trouble swallowing its claims about Jesus? Perhaps the reason why New Testament authors like Paul, Luke, and John spent so much time talking about Jesus and God is because they meant something very different by "God" than what their Jewish and Pagans neighbors thought, and it took some effort to get the redefinition of God across.
Something to ponder from Francis Schaeffer's essay, The Weakness of God's Servants.
Utopianism is cruel for it expects of men and women what they are not and will not be until Christ comes. Such utopianism, forgetting what the Bible says about human sinfulness, is hard-hearted; it is as monstrous a thing as we can imagine...
Utopianism is terribly cruel because it expects the impossible from people. These expectations are not based on reality. They stand in opposition to the genuine human possibilities afforded by the realism of the Scriptures...
If we demand, in any of our relationships, either perfection or nothing, we will get the nothing. Only when we have learned this will we be Bible-believing Christians, and only then will we understand something of life. Only then can we be more understanding toward men and show real compassion. Consequently, I would repeat, if in any of our relationships of life we demand perfection or nothing, we will have nothing.
I’m using Doug Moo’s NIV Application Commentary on 2 Peter, Jude to help me study Jude for a Bible Study I’m participating in. We’re at the end of the study, and right now we’re working on Jude 24-25, the last verses in the book. You are probably familiar with them because they are commonly used as a benediction for worship services.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. (Jude 24–25 ESV)Moo warns that there is a real risk that we will hear these words so often that we no longer really hear them.
What is most important is that we be careful that these words do not become on our lips a thoughtless and even hypocritical recitation of words. Here, of course, lies the danger in using Jude’s doxology in worship. We hear the words so often that they cease to have any meaning for us; they are all jumbled together in our heads (“To-him-who-is-able-to-keep-you”; “to-the-only-wise-God”). Thus, we need to pause and reflect on what these words really mean—and be prepared to live as if we meant them!Here are some of his words of reflection on verse 24:
Think of the marvelous security promised to us in verse 24. God is able to preserve us so that we can stand before him on the last day spotless, forgiven, assured of an eternal “home in the heavens.” Doubt and anxiety are constant companions on our earthly pilgrimage. We worry about our health, about money, about our children, about our jobs. In sober moments we perhaps become anxious about death. God does not promise to take away these worries, but he does take away from us our greatest worry: where we will spend eternity. Do we reflect this confidence in the way we live? Do we truly value heaven enough so that our earthly worries, while sometimes pressing, fade in importance in light of our eternal destiny?This not a dry or boring commentary! I am often moved to worship or prompted to act as I read it. If you need a readable commentary on Jude, one suitable for a lay person, this one is excellent.