Little voices make a world of difference.
O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1 ESV)
The Psalms proclaim heaven’s sovereignty over the earth. In effusive joy and struggling lament, they declare the reality of God’s reign over us all.
The more we recognize God’s regal authority, the more it develops us. Witness the word of praise expanding as ripples on a pond:
Continue reading “How majestic! (Psalm 8)”
Jesus’ answer for what’s wrong is not exclusion: it’s the radical inclusion that comes from restoring our brokenness to wholeness.
What does the son of David do for his people as he enters the capital? Matthew alone reports this:
Matthew 21:14-16 (my translation, compare NIV)
14 Blind and lame people came up to him in the temple complex, and he healed them. 15 But as the chief priests and Bible scholars saw the marvellous things he did, and the children calling out in the temple, “Hosanna to the son of David,” they were outraged 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what they’re saying?”
Jesus replies, “Oh, yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouth of tiny tots and babies you orchestrated acclamation?’”
Jesus had healed the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others in Galilee, where the crowds recognized the God of Israel working through him (15:30-31). The reaction in Jerusalem is polarized.
The crowds ascribe salvation (Hosanna) to the Davidic descendant who saves his people, but those who hold the reigns of the city are put out. They feel threatened, just as Saul did when God’s anointing had moved to David and the people sang his praises as the one who would save them (1 Samuel 18:7-8; 21:11; 29:5).
This descendant of David is the saviour/king in the story of his regal ancestor.
Continue reading “Defective and immature people in God’s house? (Matthew 21:14-16)”
What do you see when you look at people?
When you look at people, what do you see? Original sin, or original kingdom?
Since at least the fourth century, theologians have described the essential human state as original sin. Adam and Eve lost their pure identity and become corrupt, so the children they produced received their corrupted nature. Their children passed on this corrupted nature, so every human is already corrupted at birth. On this view, the whole of humanity is corrupt: conceived in sin, sinful by nature at birth, forever doomed, unless God does a work of grace to change an individual’s status.
But that doesn’t match what Jesus saw in people. The disciples thought people were pestering Jesus, so they stepped in to triage and divert the less significant ones: the children. Jesus said they were seeing the children the wrong way. Literally translated, Jesus described the children like this: The kingdom of heaven is such (Matthew 19:14).
That’s a very different view of what it means to be human.
Continue reading “Original kingdom, or original sin? (Matthew 19:14)”
Jesus genuinely enjoyed children with their wide-eyed wonder. Do you see as Jesus saw?
In church, people often worry about how to get our children saved. Some who baptize babies fear the infant will die in original sin if they don’t. Others who think faith means making a personal decision wrestle with how old a child must be to recognize her lostness and ask for salvation so she doesn’t die unsaved.
Jesus didn’t see children like that. He wasn’t anxious about whether they’d go to heaven when they died. He saw heaven coming to earth in them, the kingdom of heaven in the children:
Continue reading “How Jesus saw children (Matthew 19:13-15)”
How do we receive Christ? For Catholics, it happens at the mass: eating Christ’s body is receiving him. For Baptists, it’s the moment of personal decision: inviting Christ into my heart is receiving him. For Jesus:
Matthew 18 5 Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me. (ESV)
Okay, that’ll mess up our theology. 🙂 What was Jesus saying? Continue reading “How to receive Christ (Matthew 18:1-5)”