A roundup of the reflections from the 3rd week of Advent.
How do you recognise God? Victoria writes on Matthew 17:10-13
Jesus is talking to his disciples after being transfigured on the mountain top with Elijah and Moses. He is forewarning then of his own death at the hands of those who do not recognise Him as the Son of God and have Him killed.
It what ways do we recognise God? It is easy to seem him in the beauty of the countryside, in the receiving of kindness, or in the joys of our blessings.
But do we see Him in the homeless person, begging on the streets? Or in the refugee so desperate to come to this country they would risk crossing the channel in a small boat or in the back of a lorry? God tells us we are all made in His image and all precious in His sight.
We must be careful not to overlook the places that God resides and that we may fear to tread.
Be open today as to where God might be as you go about your day….
Jesus often faced confrontation, challenges and thought provoking questions. Here in the temple while teaching Jesus was faced by the priests and elders asking him who had given him authority. Cilla writes on Matthew Chapter 21 v 23-27
How many times have we been asked “Who gave you permission? We answer, with no one or the name of the person or even it’s none of your business! But not Jesus, he would answer by posing a question often a question that could not be answered. Was Jesus psychoanalysing the priests by answering their question with a question?
How many times do you answer a question with a question? Years ago our elders would consider this rude, today in school, like Jesus, teachers would pose questions to encourage enquiring minds. We were brought up not to challenge authority and to accept what people say.
Asking questions was central to Jesus’ life both him asking, about 307, and him being asked, about 183, of which he only answered 3.
I wonder how many questions you have asked? Today we often turn to a search engine or virtual assistant for our answers. For some of us God is our virtual assistant guiding us in each day of our life.
Was everything that Jesus did under the authority of God? We exercise authority in our lives as parents, teachers, employers, most of us have responsibility with regard to others, very few of us have no responsibility.If Jesus was here today what question would you ask him?
John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Read more from Mark West on this challenging verse.
I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get irritated by radio interviews with people who don’t answer the question. I end up waiting, in vain, for a clear, direct answer. Then I thought: do we always expect a clear, direct answer from God? Should we?
In this passage from Luke’s gospel, John the Baptist is in prison and has sent messengers to double, triple check that Jesus is the One – the Messiah. John foretold the Messiah’s coming: he’s not giving up. But he’s got questions!Jesus had just then cured many people of diseases, plagues, and evil spirits, and had given sight to many who were blind. And he answered them, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”
John remains certain of God’s promise to send a Messiah. John knows that Jesus is doing what he said he’d do. Is Jesus the Messiah? He could be! But what is John – or anyone else – expecting? John has to know! He is going to have to make up his own mind, though: Jesus doesn’t answer directly, doesn’t say whether he is the Messiah, doesn’t let John avoid making his own decision. If Jesus is the Messiah (and this is his question for us all) then what he’s doing is what God’s reign is all about. What everyone can _see_ him do – that ministry to the sick, the poor, the outcast – that’s the Kingdom of God. Like John, we probably won’t get any more direct answer as we wait this advent. Do we accept Jesus as the Messiah? Will we follow His example? What does that mean to us?
An angel appears to Joseph: Dear Joesph, he was faced with such a difficult decision; he was engaged to Mary, but now she was pregnant, and he knew it could not be his child, so he intended to quietly break off their engagement. The story is in Matthew 1:18-24.
Then the angel appeared to him in a dream and explained how it was that Mary was going to have a baby, even though she was still a virgin. After his dream Joseph did as the angel had instructed him, took Mary as his wife, and called the baby Jesus.
When you are faced with a difficult decision, do you turn to God to ask for help? Can you think of an example in your life, where you felt God helping you to make a decision; was it difficult to place your trust in Him? Were there times when you wanted to ask God for guidance but struggled to do so?
It is so easy to think we know best about how our lives should be, but God knows the bigger picture. He is our loving Father and we should always turn to Him whenever we feel decisions need to be made; He can hear even the smallest prayer.