Bread – Positions

October 8, 2014


Readings for Wednesday, October 8, 2014, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Micah 2:1-13; Acts 23:23-35; Luke 7:18-35; Psalms 128,129,130,119:145-176

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Our readings today from Scripture struck me as somewhat disconnected until I realized that they really speak to positions we have in life and how those work themselves out in God’s plan. Sometimes positions are called roles or titles. There are many positions we have in life, and in a way our Scriptures today speak to all of them.

In Micah, there are at least three positions spoken of – leaders, family, and preachers. Micah speaks about all three of these in the negative – people using their position to cause harm or to have harm visited on them by their position. With respect to leaders, Micah says “Woe to those who devise wickedness …because it is in the power of their hand.” Micah 2:1. The reason we know he is talking about leaders is because of the reference “it is in the power of their hand.” Of course, this is true of any person in a position of authority, and so could refer to an elected government official, a president of a company, a boss, or even a father or mother. With respect to the position within a family, Micah reports that, just as the family might benefit from the leader’s abuse of authority, so will they be punished along with the leader at the time of reckoning. (see Micah 2:3).

With respect to preachers, again Micah refers to leaders of the church (synagogue) who would use their positions of authority to preach untruth, saying that people who “devise wickedness” will take preachers who state “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink.” Micah 2:11. Before we start laughing, imagining our preacher telling us that wine and strong drink are beneficial for us, isn’t this a form of “name it and claim it” or “prosperity gospel” which thousands of people are flocking on Sunday to hear from the pulpits of progressive churches?

In Acts, we pick up the story of how Paul ultimately reaches Rome. He has been threatened by a plot to kill him, and, because Paul points out that he is a Roman citizen (a position), he has been put into protective custody and rushed to the Governor to determine his fate. Paul is a preacher, a follower of Jesus, a man, a Pharisee (by training), and a tentmaker, but it is his position of citizenship which becomes important. As a citizen of Rome, he has certain rights and, at an appropriate time, he stands on those rights.

In Luke, we see a dialogue between John the Baptist and Jesus the Christ. John, in the position as questioner, asks Jesus who He is. Jesus responds by pointing out all the ways He has fulfilled Old Testament prophecy and lets John work it out for himself based upon the evidence. But Jesus also says that John is the messenger, the forerunner, prophesied in the Old Testament, to come before Jesus and “prepare [His] way before [Him].” Luke 7:27.

But Jesus then says this: “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28

Think about this for a minute. John and all the prophets and the leaders are born of women, and John the Baptist, the prophet of God who was the advanced messenger for Jesus Christ is the greatest. And yet, as great as he is and was, the believer in Jesus Christ who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than John.

You see, in our lives there are only two positions which matter. We can be great leaders or followers, of the basest or the finest character, and be on the side of John (the Old Testament, with its righteousness gained through works, through obedience to the law) or Jesus (the New Testament with its righteousness gained through the finished work of Christ on the cross, reborn through the Holy Spirit into belief in Jesus Christ, transforming our minds through His word written and made flesh).

Our position is either Christian or not. Those are the two positions which matter. One is life and eternity in the kingdom. The other is death and judgment when the time comes. One is received by the power of the Holy Spirit and the other is earned by “good” works, the best of which are filthy rags before a holy God.

Two positions which matter. One in Christ and the other without. In what position are you … really?

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© 2014 GBF

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