Blessed… Hoping in the World

 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the Twelve aside by themselves on the road. He told them, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Human One will be handed over to the chief priests and legal experts. They will condemn him to death.  They will hand him over to the Gentiles to be ridiculed, tortured, and crucified. But he will be raised on the third day” (Matthew 20:187-19, Common English Bible).

This is the third time Jesus predicts his death and resurrection in Matthew’s gospel. I have thought some about this particular passage. I found it puzzling that Jesus found it necessary to tell the disciples three times that he would be arrested, tried and executed and then on the third day he would rise again.

I have reached a couple of conclusions. First, as New Testament era Jews, the disciples were continually focused on the world of the present. They anticipated Jesus to be a Messiah of their present day, not a Messiah of a world to come. Even when they spoke of, “When you come into your kingdom,” their thinking was for a kingdom of their day, not a kingdom they wouldn’t be seeing for years to come.

The second reason was, these guys needed reminders. Jesus first started talking about this several chapters back and Peter chose to chastise Jesus. For his trouble he, at least on the surface, seemed to have Jesus call him Satan. Additionally, because the disciples were so focused on the present, Jesus had to say, in essence, now is the time. The first two times were more about, “the day is coming…” Jesus’ words now were about, “We are headed into Jerusalem and this is what is going to happen….”

It seems to me that we are a lot like the disciples. We too are focused on the present rather than the life that is to come. Sure, a good bit of who we are and what we do should be focused on the here and now but our focus should be on making the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. What we tend to be more focused on is having a good time now because that is what life is all about. Or, at least that is what we think.

It’s not about us. We need the reminder too. We don’t need the reminder that Jesus was about to suffer and die and would rise on the third day. The reminder we need is that Jesus not only did suffer and die, he suffered and died for you and I. Further he did rise on the third day and because he lives we can have life too. But, we should always remember, that isn’t because of us, because it isn’t about us. We are offered the gift of grace because Jesus did suffer, die and rose again. Thanks be to God.

Where do you find your reminders that Jesus died and rose again for you and me?

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.

 

Author:

"The Pastor Ponders" is my attempt to share some of my thoughts. I often share what I am thinking with my dog "Bishop," but he keeps his thoughts to himself. He will even go to sleep sometimes while I am sharing my thoughts with him. The truth is, if it doesn't involve getting his ears scratched, his belly rubbed or some kind of treat, he really doesn't care. I will say this for him, he never argues with me or tells me I am wrong. So, I decided to share some of my thoughts with whoever might come across this blog in their ramblings around the Internet. Bishop and I live in Sweeny, Texas where I am the pastor of First United Methodist Church. I have served here for the past two years. For the past 27 years I have served United Methodist congregations throughout East Texas including rural Madison County (Elwood UMC), Lovelady (First UMC) and Kennard (Center Hill UMC), Canton (First UMC), rural Smith County (Mt. Sylvan UMC and Union Chapel UMC), Grapeland (First UMC), Tyler (Pleasant Retreat UMC), Santa Fe (Aldersgate UMC), Freeport (First UMC) and Oyster Creek (Oyster Creek UMC), Diboll (First UMC), and now Sweeny (First UMC). My wife Cindy and I have been married for over 40 years. We have two grown sons. Wayne and his wife Nikki and all our grandsons (Kaleb, Noah, and Jaxon) live in Southern California. Christopher and his wife Morgan and both our granddaughters (Jenna and Natalie) live in Tyler Texas. I enjoy preaching and all aspects of preaching from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading, playing the guitar as well as a bit of drawing. I have spent quite a bit of time over the past two years working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I sing bass with a local barbershop chorus called The Coastalaires. I have also recently begun doing a little wood carving. I also enjoy playing with Bishop, something he likes a great deal better than listening to my thoughts. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, specializing in Microcomputers from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, Texas, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. When I was a student at Carolina, the school was in Iron Station North Carolina. They have since relocated to Manassas Virginia (Yeah, go figure, a school named Carolina geographically in Virginia). This blog is mostly devotional writing, but there are other things here too. Just about every week I will either post my sermon manuscript or a video of the worship service. On occasion, I will post something I see in society. Occasionally I write a short story, a poem, or a song and will post it here too. I will say this, my motivations for writing this blog are really selfish. I write it to get what I am thinking out of my head and onto something a bit more permanent. They say, after all, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. And, should you desire, you can one-up Bishop and actually tell me what you think. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. With Joy and Thankfulness, Keith Sweeny, Texas May 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s