Which is worse?

Our church met for Zoom Bible study last night. I vary what we study and even how. Sometimes we’ll make use of a curriculum. Other times I’ll go verse by verse.

Most times, though, we take time to study the sermon text from the previous Sunday worship.

I’m not a Bible verse-by-verse preacher. So, the set-apart time is helpful because I get to share what I learned and hear from others as well.

At this week’s study, we looked at Mark 8:27-38.

This is when Jesus asks the disciples two questions: 1) Who do people say that I am? and 2) Who do you say that I am?

That’s a preacher’s dream text. It almost preaches itself.

I asked our group to reflect on a question of my own. Some people thought of Jesus as John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets. But they did not think of him as Messiah, apparently. Peter professed that Jesus was the Messiah, but rebuked Jesus because of the kind of messiah he would be.

So, which was worse: thinking Jesus was as powerful as other biblical figures, but not Messiah or calling him Messiah, but not believing he was the “right” kind?

Stay blessed…john

Locked doors

As we read from Song of Solomon 5 today, it’s hard not to have in mind the words of Jesus. Depending on your translation, Revelation 3:20 begins with LookListen or Here I am! It’s Jesus at the door of the lukewarm church.

He comes bearing an invitation.

The church’s works are neither hot nor cold. As a result of their insular attitudes, their ministry is worthless. But there’s a chance to repent. That’s when Jesus affirms his presence just outside their door: Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me.

To eat with someone is a sign of friendship and affirmation. What love Christ has for his church that he does not wish to be apart from it!

So, what keeps his church from wanting to be with him?

Oh, we don’t say that, of course. We say everything is about Jesus. As long as we say his name a few times and meet in his building, what more would we need to do?

There is a dream told of in Song of Solomon 5; it is the fair maiden’s vision. In her dream, she hears her beloved at the door knocking. It is late, but he has made every effort to be with her.

It’s her first response that I’m reflecting on today.

She had already turned in for the night. Bathed and tucked comfortably in bed, it’d be too much trouble to open the door, even for someone she loved so dearly. When she finally decided to get up, it was too late.

It seems to me God’s church today stands to learn something from her. My church is currently reading through Ephesians. One of the themes we have seen is the need for the church to turn from its old life. There is new, abundant life in Christ!

Sometimes, though, it feels like we haven’t been willing to make the full turn.

We sing love songs and prayers behind the locked doors of our hearts. How do we know this? When the church isn’t enraptured by the love of God, it’s pretty obvious. When attitudes don’t change we’ve added another lock to the door. When we remain steadfast in our bickering, gossiping and prideful ways, it’s like we’ve moved every piece of furniture in front of the door, keeping Christ away.

But there is always hope.

Christ hasn’t turned away from his church. He loves her so much. All the church needs to do is seek Christ with every ounce of being it has.

Stay blessed…john