“. . . That I may know Him and the power of His Resurrection. . . “ (Philippians 3:10)
Truth is not seasonal. We should pay attention to it at all times. However, days of special emphasis provide opportunity to pause, and just think about things that really matter. Just meditate. No pre-conceived conclusions. Just think.
Thus it is, that at Christmas, Good Friday, and Easter most of us take time to at least briefly, even if superficially, think about these events.
During this season, my own spiritual quest is focused on a statement the Apostle Paul made in one of his letters to a young fellowship of believers.
Paul was as influential as anyone who ever spoke or wrote a word about the life of Christ. His courage and faith have been inspirational to millions, for centuries, around the world. The writers of the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life introduce the Messiah and tell many of the things He said and did. But it was Paul who drew the implications of that single Life and put it into a cohesive theology. His words and work have been a major influence on Christian theology, evangelism, missions, art, etc.
To say he is an important figure in Christianity is to merely state the obvious. It is one of those hilariously ridiculous understatements. He held us to a high standard of excellence. His work continues to influence Christ’s followers to this day. He is certainly an admirable example of faith. A giant who stands head and shoulders taller than most of the “giants” of the Christian faith.
As he stated his priorities, I felt they were clear and that I should consider making them my own. If someone is that successful and influential, I believe he’s worth hearing. Paul’s courage, his faith, and his achievements and contributions certainly confirm that his example is one worth following.
Considering what was the most important goal of his life, Paul said it was simply: “That I may know Him (Jesus.). . .” That was Paul’s priority. It was his laser focus. Nothing. Absolutely no one and nothing ever distracted his attention or diverted his pressing toward that mark.
So, that is one of the things on which I’m concentrating during this Easter season: “That I may know Christ.” How then may I know Him? What must I do? The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not just knit together closely in time. They are two of the crucial elements of the Christian faith. Knowing Christ is going to carry with it an understanding of both the Death and Resurrection of Christ. On the other hand, when we grasp some of the significance of those two events, we also come to know Jesus Christ.
Let’s talk about that and think about it a bit. How may I KNOW Christ? No fancy language or impractical, unobtainable objectives, please. Let’s talk plain and real.
The Lord’s son and servant, your friend and fellow student ~donkimrey
On Palm Sunday, the Priest challenged us to ask ourselves, “What kind of Christian will we be, this coming week?”
As I squirmed and began to think about that question, my answer was; to spend more time in meditation and prayer and that perhaps the answer would be provided by the Holy Spirit…….or not……
While in a fit of such fervor, a question came to my mind, “What is it going to take in order for me to achieve eternal life?”
The below are clues from Scripture about this subject…..to paraphrase, the old lefthander, Joe Nuxhall, who used to say at the end of every Cincinnati Reds broadcast, “rounding third and heading for home”……to life, ever after….
Is it as simple as by our belief in God? In John 3:30 it reads,”Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life.” Does that mean that because we believe, we will receive God’s Grace and thus we will live the eternal life? If we try to follow God’s commandments, are we in, with the in crowd?
Or does it take more than mere faith?
Here is one to ponder in Matthew 7:13. Jesus speaks that “the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard, and there are few people who will find it.” Jesus continues in Matthew 7:21 this same theme …… and Luke 13:24 covers the “narrow gate” concept in similar detail.
Then there is the unsettling (to me) passage in Matthew 19:16 / Luke 18:18 / Mark 10:17: “it will be very hard for rich people to be to enter the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus continued “I repeat: it is much harder for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle”…. Gulp! After all, we Americans are in the upper 5 -10 % of the wealthiest children of God, living on his blue earth. How many of us have succumbed to the hedonistic life style that is America……
The parable of the three servants in Luke 19:11 and Matthew 25:14 is a rather blunt assessment of those who do not multiply one’s talents, by doing the work of the Lord. In the passage, the third Servant, who only protected the talents that the Master gave, ended up with this outcome at the hand of his Master” Throw him outside into the darkness: there he will cry and gnash his teeth”….OUCH!
If you are not familiar, I would suggest you read Matthew 25:31, the Final Judgment passage……Jesus for emphasis, repeated his litany, three times, lest we not misunderstand, how we will be judged….
I hope to start a thoughtful dialog about what you think it will take for you to make to the big house in the sky…..I ask for your individual thoughts; for this question there may not be a universal answer, or maybe there is…
Peace and love,