Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THE BOWL OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

After the Lord’s Table, Jesus is found at another table. This time there is a man who chooses to follow his caution instead of a Saviour. Pilate’s table has a washbasin called ‘the bowl of political correctness’. At the end of the day, Pilate is a politician whose security depends on the will of the people more than the will of God.


Matthew 27:
21The governor asked, "Which of the two do you want me to pardon?"
   They said, "Barabbas!"
22"Then what do I do with Jesus, the so-called Christ?"
   They all shouted, "Nail him to a cross!"
23He objected, "But for what crime?"
   But they yelled all the louder, "Nail him to a cross!"
24When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, "I'm washing my hands of responsibility for this man's death. From now on, it's in your hands. You're judge and jury."


Pilate could not dip in the bowl of humility. As a governor there was too much at stake.  One wrong move could spell the end of his career.  A wrong move could start a revolt against Caesar.  Pilate was too self-important to exonerate Jesus and set him free from the crowd of betrayers. 

On the other hand, Pilate could not dip his hand in the bowl of betrayal.  That would put him on the same level as the angry mob who had no principle.  So Pilate took another bowl, poured water and washed his hands in it. 

He washed his hands of responsibility for Jesus’ death.  He could not personally vote in favor of the mob politics, but gave them a concession.  He used his power to pardon one criminal from death row.  And being a good politician, he put it to the constituency to vote on.  Barabbas or Jesus?  Who should be given the mercy of the court?

What about us?  Are there times when we dip in the bowl of political correctness?  We are confronted with popular opinion on a matter and think there’s too much at stake to really follow what we know to be true or truer.

If you are in a tough spot, try politics.  There’s always a way to justify anything!

When you have to choose your attitude and response in dealing with someone who causes you trouble, do you wash their feet or do you wash your hands of them?  Politics can be a smaller bowl than betrayal. At least with betrayal, you now who your enemy is.  With political spin you can avoid the inconvenient truth.

Sometimes we get caught up in some political assassination of another’s character.  Maybe you have taken part in bringing injury to another.  Can a bad situation be turned around after so much injury and accusation has taken place?  The only way back is a return to the bowl of humility. 
  
So… what can wash away our sin?

What bowl will you dip in? What will make you right again? The only bowl that can wash us clean is in Jesus’ hands.

If this is what brings our forgiveness then let’s carry that bowl to wash one another with.



Sunday, October 26, 2014

THE BOWL OF BETRAYAL


There is a bowl on the Lord’s Table. It is a smaller bowl than the one used to wash feet. This one is full of pain and darkness. It is the bowl of betrayal.






John 13:
21 After he said these things, Jesus became visibly upset, and then he told them why. "One of you is going to betray me."
22-25 The disciples looked around at one another, wondering who on earth he was talking about. One of the disciples, the one Jesus loved dearly, was reclining against him, his head on his shoulder. Peter motioned to him to ask who Jesus might be talking about. So, being the closest, he said, "Master, who?"
26-27 Jesus said, "The one to whom I give this crust of bread after I've dipped it." Then he dipped the crust and gave it to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot. As soon as the bread was in his hand, Satan entered him.
   "What you must do," said Jesus, "do. Do it and get it over with."
28-29 No one around the supper table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that since Judas was their treasurer, Jesus was telling him to buy what they needed for the Feast, or that he should give something to the poor.
30 Judas, with the piece of bread, left. It was night.


Judas Iscariot – one of the chosen twelve.  He was trusted to take care of their money. This disciple was chosen and sent out with the other disciples. There was no mistaking that he had seen miracles and healings happen even without the Master present.  They had all been sent with Jesus’ blessing and came back reporting about the powerful things they had been part of.

Just moments before Jesus had bent low and washed Judas’ feet.  Judas did not protest like Peter.  He did not suddenly open up and tell Jesus the awful truth about what he was going to do.  No, Judas blended in and went along with one more round of Jesus’ strange behaviour.

Here’s a new bowl.  It contains the wine of Jesus’ blood.  And the bread of Jesus’ broken body goes in to the bowl and is given to Judas. Jesus was giving himself to his betrayer.  He was giving sacrifice and an offer of restitution to a man who was too far gone to care. 

Why did Judas allow for this bowl of betrayal?  Was he too self-important to accept the humility God offered?  Was Judas’ too focused on money to see what was going on in his heart?  Was he too afraid of the Jews and the Romans?  Judas dipped in the bowl of betrayal and it cost the Lord everything.  Betrayers do not go free, though.  He left bound by the Devil.

What did a demon-possessed Judas look like?  Did he froth at the mouth and utter curses in strange voices?  In fact, he looked as if he were going to buy bread or to do charity work.

How do you handle the bowl of betrayal when someone you have loved and cared for sells you out?  How do you handle the one who blended in so well that most did not see any problem? When a betrayer leaves you, they leave in darkness.  Judas took the piece of bread with him, but I do not think he ate it.

Jesus was straightforward with Judas.  He told him to go do what he had to do.  He did not sound the alarm or publicly make a show of Judas.  Originally, it was only John and Peter who knew.  Jesus let Judas go without turning it into a spectacle.

When we are betrayed by others, let’s learn from Jesus’ response.  Love your betrayers even as they go about their dark deeds against you.  In the long run, truth and love will shine like the stars.  Betrayal and darkness will all be brought into the light where justice will be served.  God forgets nothing and will eventually deal with this bowl of betrayal.

So we have this bowl of humility.  It takes a strong man or woman to serve from this dish. And, we have the bowl of betrayal.  It takes a weak man or woman to dish it out and betray the ones who love them.  But if your starting point is the bowl of humility, you can keep your dignity when someone dips in the bowl of betrayal with you.

If you have betrayed someone or they have betrayed you, there is forgiveness in the blood of Christ.  Jesus died to replace all that has been lost. We need the cross to help us leave the past behind. 

When we are betrayed, let’s learn to wash the feet of our betrayers.  Let the love of God empower you to be humble.  Serve them and offer peace as long as they are with you.  When they leave you, leave them to God.



Thursday, October 23, 2014

THE BOWL OF HUMILITY


There is a bowl at the last supper and it is not on the table, but on the floor. It is the bowl Jesus used to wash the disciples feet.





John 13:
Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”


Jesus was the epitome of humility. 

The story tells us that he knew who he was.  He knew his responsibility, where he came from and where he was going.  True humility comes from a place of great strength, not weakness.  It comes from knowing your security in God.

How important are you?  How much more important do you sometimes think you are than those around?  Does your identity depend on the flashy robe you cloak yourself in?

  • The Pastor, The Board member, The Ministry leader
  • The Advocate, The Listener, The Fixer
  • The neighbourhood mom, The father figure, The Big Brother, Big Sister

All of us have a personae or role we assume.  Some are given their role and others just assume it. What about Jesus?  He was truly important and yet puts that aside.  He took off the important man outfit and assumed a lower role. 

Humility is not for the weak-stomached.  Humility is not for insecure people who are jostling for importance.  The disciples argued over who was most important and should sit next to the boss in his Kingdom.

When we encounter difficulty and need in others, we are faced with the choice of humbly bowing to wash their feet.

Jesus told them, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but it will become clear to you later.” When we love and serve others with humility, they may not understand.  But later, it makes sense.  If the one greater shows humility, then I can show it to those who challenge my sense of self-importance.





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