God is God, and I am not.

Recently, I looked further into the Israeli & Palestinian conflict. A friend’s post prompted me to do some research into this issue, and it helped me to learn a few things that I didn’t know. For example, I learned there does appear to be a difference between the Nation of Israel (the chosen people of God) and the State of Israel (the nation & government). I could go on, but this post is not really about the all of that.

So, what’s it about?

In reflecting on the Nation of Israel, the Jews, and God’s Chosen People I started asking myself, “Why have the Jews been so heavily afflicted throughout time?” Obviously, there are many biblical references in the Old Testament to point out the relationship between God, and the Jewish people that help us better understand. But, fast forward to more recent times, and look at the Holocaust for example. Also, consider the Jewish State of Israel. Since its inception the surrounding nations & Arab people have sought to attack and destroy it. Look at the people, and groups that hate Israel, and attack it. It makes one really wonder. Why God would allow this continued treatment of them?

My question has more to do with the affliction & suffering of a people that God singled out from the rest of humanity with exceptional favor. And after thinking about it seems that God has responded! I read this passage in Romans.

20 On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? 21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

Romans 9: 20-22

And I was wrecked! I wept.

In that moment I am humbled. I am reminded of my proper place in relation to God our Creator.

And yes, this is a tough passage! But we need to hear it. We need to be reminded of truth. We need to be reminded of who we are in relation & comparison to God Almighty. There is a tendency today in the American church both physically & corporately is elevate people, and diminish God. No, I don’t recommend that we go back to the hell & damnation preaching days of the past. However, because “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” we need to make sure all of it is read, studied, communicated, and preached.

So, I may not understand these hard truths fully, but I believe God’s character. That helps me trust Him. To obey Him. Jesus demonstrates God’s goodness, and love in ways that my finite mind cannot fully understand. And that is enough to point me in the right direction. We are created by God for the glory of God! We are the creation, and He is the Creator! God is God, and I am not.

 

 

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“But who do you say that I am?”

PicDuring His ministry Jesus asked a very key question to His disciples. It is a question that all of humanity needs to ask themselves. However, for followers of Jesus Christ it is a critical one. A question you may need to sit in before you answer. You may need to challenge yourself and press deeper into your beliefs before answering. Why? Because your answer can have an eternal impact.

In Mark 8 we read, 2Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?”

Obviously, people have seen Jesus, seen Him perform miracles, and have heard His teachings. As Jesus enters humanity and begins His ministry a radical shift is taking place in God’s narrative. This has people talking about Him, and the people are confronted with a challenging decision to make.

Who is this Jesus? 

The Apostles responded, 28 They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets.” But Jesus does what He does best and presses deeper into the hearts of the Apostles. He knows the answers but wants to bring what is hidden to the surface.

29 And He continued by questioning them, “But who do you say that I am?”

In an instant, tension has been brought into their relationship. The question has become very personal, and decisive for them. Why? Because it confronts them to determine Jesus’ claims about Himself. The claim that He was God in the flesh, and the Messiah spoken of in the Scriptures.

In one of his finer moments Peter answers, “You are the Christ.” As we know Peter didn’t have it all together. He would later fail miserably but in this moment he declares with boldness this truth. Why is this so important to the world, and His followers today? Because we have heard about Jesus, His miracles, His teachings, and His claims. And He stands before us today. He stands before you. And He is asking you….

“But who do you say that I am?”

He knows the answer. Do you?

The answer is really quite simple. You either know Jesus as the Messiah, Lord of your life, and God Son in the flesh or you do not. And before you are ready do declare like Peter that He is I would advise a word of caution.

Is the Jesus you worship the Jesus of the Bible as spoken of in the Holy Scriptures?

Have you accepted and placed yourself under the inerrant authority of Scripture?

If you have not, then it is quite possible that you have created your own Jesus. Further more if you blatantly disregard the truths of Scripture then it is also a possibility that you truly do not know Jesus. This is not about having doubts and struggles because we all have them at some level when it comes to who Jesus claims to be. Let’s be honest in saying that He made some bold claims about Himself! Claims that much of the world struggles with today.

But the good news, the Gospel, is that Jesus wants to be known. He wants to have a genuine relationship with you! You can turn to Him, repent from your sin, and by grace through faith you can place your trust in Him. You can say without a doubt “You are the Christ!” You can truly know and follow Christ as Lord & King. When we have an authentic relationship with Christ He will guide you through your doubts and struggles. He will grow you to be true a representative of Christ here on Earth to help others come to know and follow Him.