Bread – Quandaries

January 30, 2013

Readings for Wednesday, January 30, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Isa. 49:1-12; Gal. 2:11-21; Mk 6:13-29; Psalms 49,53,119:49-72


Today’s readings present proofs of the gospel of Jesus Christ, if one wants to and is, by the grace of God, able to hear and see, but also quandaries which the talking heads can exploit if they want to confuse and confound men of reason, the wisdom of the world. Which you see is based upon what God has equipped you to see.

The first reading is from Isaiah, where God through Isaiah in Chapter 49 speaks about the servant whom God called from his mother’s womb, whom He gave a tongue which was a “sharp sword.” Of this servant, Isaiah reports God saying “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to bring back the preserved of Israel; I will make you as a light for the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” Isa. 49:6 From the believer’s perspective, this is clearly a prophecy of Jesus Christ, God’ servant who in fact is the “light for the nations” and who in fact brings God’s “salvation …to the end of the earth.” To the person interested in quandaries, in careful analysis and tortuous reasoning, the question might be “who?” “Who” is Isaiah talking about? He just says “servant,” not “Jesus” or the “Messiah.” What you see in this is what God equips you to see.

The second reading is from Galatians, where Paul is attacking Peter for his inconsistent behavior with the “Gentiles.” The context for this is that certain Jews were saying that a believer in Christ is not saved (justified) by just belief in Christ, but by following certain works of the law (in the case before Paul and Peter, certain dietary laws). Paul says expressly that “…we know that a person is not justified by works of the law, but through faith in Jesus Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” Gal. 2:16. Now this seems simple for those of simple faith, who believe what God has said. However, for those who are interested in quandaries, who apply the wisdom of the world to the works of God (as if the lesser could judge the greater), there are many questions which are raised by this passage. For example, if the Jews were God’s people and they felt that obedience to the law was critical to salvation, shouldn’t we listen to them? What about people who say they believe but continue to bad things and maybe worse things? How do we know we are saved unless we do good works? How can we have an organized body of believers without rules which have to be followed? The questions abound, relating back to Satan in the garden of Eden, when he said “Did God really say…?” What you see in this is what God equips you to see.

The third reading is from Mark, where the account is given about the beheading of John the Baptist. People were trying to figure out who Christ was – whether He was John the Baptist come back to life, Elijah, or some other prophet. This account reminded me of a fundamental truth. John the Baptist was not raised from the dead. Who has been raised from the dead? Jesus and the people Jesus raised from the dead (e.g., Lazarus). That’s it. Being raised to eternal life is something that Jesus does – we don’t and neither does anyone else. I can’t raise you to life and you can’t raise me to life. Our best magicians may be able to make you “magically” disappear, but they cannot “magically” bring you back from the dead. Dead is dead unless God acts. Now, this seems simple and irrefutable to some, but to many it just raises many questions, many quandaries. For example, how do we really know that Lazarus was dead; maybe he was just in a coma (and how would such uneducated, stupid people ever know about that, since we are the people of science, smarts, and the Internet). How do we know Jesus was resurrected; all we really know is that he was laid in a tomb and disappeared. Oh there are some reports in the Bible about Him coming back around in the flesh, but all those reports could have been made up by people who wanted to build a new religion around Jesus Christ, or they could have been hallucinating, or the reports are inaccurate. How do we know what really happened? Maybe the Bible, written over thousands of years by bunches of people, is just the fabrication of the members of a conspiracy. There are just so many questions; how can I believe? What you see in this is what God equips you to see.

Truth or quandary. The wisdom of God or the wisdom of the world.

Doubts are common to man. That does not mean that they are good guides to truth. What is common to man is sin, flaws, defects, loss, discouragement. What is uncommon to man is the wisdom of God. That is because it comes from God and not from man, must be sought from God and not from man, and will, in God’s good pleasure and time, be given to man freely, not because man demands it but because God wills it.

Do you have doubts? Seek wisdom from the source of wisdom. “For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” Prov. 2:6.

Seek from God and you will find….truth

Seek from man and you will find….quandaries.

From whom are you seeking wisdom today?


© 2013 GBF


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