Hello Church Family,
I have been praying for you this week from Psalm 90: “O Lord, satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.”
This is a unique time in the life of our country. This is political “crunch time,” so to speak, when presidential hopefuls do their best to win states and gain their party’s official nomination. And what has struck me most, as I have watched pundits proffer poorly rehearsed critiques, is just how polarizing the candidates are. It seems that, without exception, each man and woman engenders an intense love-hate relationship among the people he or she hopes to persuade.
Even so, it’s fair to say that no one has ever been more polarizing than Jesus Christ.
Jesus made just about everyone uncomfortable. And when we read the accounts in the gospels, we can’t help but feel a level of uneasiness ourselves. Like when we read about the time that Jesus chastises his disciples repeatedly for their lack of understanding. Or when he talks about a sin that’s impossible to find forgiveness from. Or the time Jesus turns away potential followers because of their shallow faith and materialism. Or the time when Jesus realizes that everyone needs to see him and he immediately goes somewhere else. Those descriptions are unnerving. And there are others.
Many people tend to think that Jesus was always patient; that he would never laugh (he was too serious for that); that he certainly never get angry; that he was always genteel and soft-spoken, that he would never be offensive, and that, above all, he was always polite.
But this “Gumbylike” Jesus—to borrow a phrase from Mark Galli—is nothing like the Jesus we see in the gospels, and certainly not in the Gospel of Matthew. In Matthew we find a Jesus who is, without question, loving and gracious and compassionate, who cares for children and feeds the poor, but also one who gets angry and is not afraid to show it; a Jesus who turned countless people away; a Jesus who is radical with his demands; and a Jesus, who, by all accounts, hangs with the wrong crowd.
This is the Jesus on display in the first book of the New Testament. And this is the Jesus we will be considering this Sunday, as we begin a new expositional series, through Matthew, called Thy Kingdom Come.
I can’t wait to worship God with you. Plus, the thought of learning more about Jesus excites me. Even though, to be candid, it makes me a bit nervous.
See you on the Lord’s Day,