Blog #8

I love reading the gospels because they are full of Jesus. Actually, meeting the Jesus of the Bible is how we come to God in the first place because there is simply no other way to God than through the Son.

I say 'the Jesus of the Bible' because there are lots of ideas out there about Jesus that are not Biblical but are mere speculation and human conjecture. And this is true of God the Father as well. In the Bible, Jesus is often recorded as having had to correct the wrong teachings of the Pharisees (and others in authority) when it came to their notions of what God was really like. Tozer says of the Pharisees that, 'their wrong conception of God resulted in a wrong idea of worship. To a Pharisee, the service of God was a bondage which he did not love but from which he could not escape without a loss too great to bear'. He adds, 'the God of the pharisee was not a God easy to live with'. (Tozer, The Root of the Righteous, 1955).

Mark's gospel highlights two particular episodes, occurring on a Sabbath day, where Jesus confronts the Pharisees' attitude about what can be done on the Sabbath according to the Law. Having already picked grain whilst walking with the disciples, Jesus then calls forward a man with a withered hand and asks those watching, ' "Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save a life or to kill?" But they kept silent.' The scripture then says that, 'after looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart', Jesus healed the man of his infirmity.

The apostle Paul, origianlly a pharisee himself, was more than a little relieved to jetison his long-held but wrong views about God when he said, 'Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord'. (Phil 3:7-8.)

There are several things I now 'consider rubbish so that I may gain Christ', things that used to seem inportant to me but now look worthless. Indeed, I think the times we are living in may well be encouraging us to think about what is really valuable and worth living for and, at the same momnet, reminding us that in Him there is fulness of life, His yolk is easy and His burden is light. We are being drawn back to the One who is 'the same yesterday, today and forever' and who loves us and gave Himself for us. He is not difficult to live with.