Read the Red (No.2-3)

Read the Red (no.2)

Below is the second red phrase which we have had about one month to contemplate:

Matthew 3:15 (NIV)

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

Again, there were some great responses from readers in regards to this second red phrase. Please know that your contribution is what makes this set of blogs so very much worthwhile.

Also, feel free to comment on previous editions of this Read the Red series of blogs. Being further removed from an object will at times give us a more clear–and certainly a broader–perspective on what it is we should focus.

So, on to the task at hand: Read the Red (no.2).

There were three words that caught the attention of our readers:

  1. Now
  2. Us
  3. Righteousness
Now

There were a few ways in which the word “now” was interpreted. The first referenced our first Read the Red phrase in that Jesus might be saying, “Do not wait to seek me. Come to church, immediately.”

Others thought that it might be speaking to the person whom is already sitting in church, and we all know this person–very, very well. During an invitation to stand and turn their lives over to Christ, this person sits back in a sea of doubt as wave after wave (“I am not ready…” or “I will next time…”) pounds against their desire to act. The thought being that Jesus himself is coaching us on to take that step of faith “now.”

For some of the readers, the word “now” went along with the word “righteousness” whereas if a person were to turn their life over to Jesus or be baptized in the Holy Spirit then that person would immediately–despite ANY past sinfulness–be brought into right standing with God.

Us

This was, in my opinion, the true gem of a find by the readers. The word “us” seems to make it clear that Jesus tells us that we are not going to be alone in this adventure of life. That He promises to be with us each and every step of the way.

What’s more, is the thought that not only does Jesus want to be with us but that He needs to be with us during our walk. Making the individual decision to go to church or to say that we are a Christians is not enough. We have to “turn it all over” to Jesus and join into partnership with Him.

Righteousness

The word “righteousness” as referred to earlier can be defined as either being correct by Devine declaration or conforming to the revealed will of God. Seems to make sense then that if we can interpret Jesus’ words as an invitation to be righteous, then simple logic would lead us to the assumption that He does indeed desire for us to be righteous.

The fact that Jesus chooses to use the word “righteousness” may imply a bit of foreshadowing as well. Consider the passage below where the word “righteousness” is used not once, but twice:

Psalm 40:9-10 King James Version (KJV)

I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O Lord, thou knowest.

10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

Could it be that those words spoken to John the Baptist were a foreshadowing of the Great Commission that was essentially beginning there in the River Jordan?

Read the Red (no.3)

Now, on to our next phrase in the series (NOTE: we are pulling from the book of Matthew again since there seems to be a more complete quote as compared to the other gospels):

Matthew 4:1-11 New International Version (NIV)

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

“Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

The idea is simple: Isolate and focus on those words and parables in the Bible that are written in red-those attributed to our Lord Jesus Christ.

What do these words, isolated an on their own merit say to you? To what other thoughts or scriptures do these words lead you?

Your questions, comments, and answers are always appreciated. But please remember that for this particular set of blogs, your participation is essential.

Reminder: You can feel free to leave a comment below (and thus begin an open discussion), or you might be more comfortable sending me your thoughts and questions via the Contact page.

Read the Red (No.1-2)

Fun is Worshipping Together

This is already proving to be a whole lot of fun.

Thank you all for the great contributions to this very first exchange of ideas in the Read the Red series.

(You can refresh your memory on Read the Red (No.1) by clicking: RTR-1)

I have to divulge that my FCA group had a bit of an issue focusing in on the true target of this exercise. Many of their responses resonated with the regurgitating sound of the book reports to which they had all become accustomed:

“Joseph and Mary took their son Jesus to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus was about twelve years old. They left Jesus behind when they left to go home. When they discovered that Jesus was missing, they got real worried. They returned to Jerusalem and found Him sitting in the temple talking to the teachers, and then He said…”

You get the idea.

Read the Red (no.1)

Luke 2:49 (NIV)
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Again, the ideas that were put forth in regards to this first scripture were wonderful.

Perhaps the funniest of them all was:

“Now I don’t have to feel so guilty because that is pretty much what my nine-year-old said to me when I forgot her at my in-law’s house one Christmas.”

An Invitation

The great majority of the responses likened Jesus’ first words to an invitation for the reader. I could not agree more with that assessment.

Following are some of your interpretations (or translations):

“What’s wrong?”

“How can I help you, my child?”

“You never need to feel alone, for I am always here with you.” His first words bring full circle His final words before going to heaven (Matthew 28:20).

He is telling us where to go when we need help, to church (His father’s house).

He is inviting us to church.

Is it not abundantly appropriate that we are considering this first passage as all of us approach the new year and many are seeking the way to a new beginning?

Read the Red (no.2)

Below you will find our second red phrase to be considered:

Matthew 3:15 (NIV)

15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”

The idea is simple: Isolate and focus on those words and parables in the Bible that are written in red-those attributed to our Lord Jesus Christ.

Your questions, comments, and answers are always appreciated. But please remember that for this particular set of blogs, your participation is essential.

Reminder: You can feel free to leave a comment below (and thus begin an open discussion), or you might be more comfortable sending me your thoughts and questions via the Contact page.

 

Read the Red (no.1)

Read the Red (no.1)

Perhaps it is the beginning of the holiday season that has so inspired me.

And, perhaps it is the fact that having recently spent some time in one of my former teaching venues has brought an overwhelming desire to hand out homework.

Either way, I hope you find this series of blogs interesting and find yourself compelled to participate.

The Assignment

NOTE: I did this a few years back with one of my FCA groups and found the results to be rather interesting.

The idea is simple: Isolate and focus on those words and parables in the Bible that are written in red-those attributed to our Lord Jesus Christ.

New Testament vs. Old Testament

I think I remember reading somewhere something about a man not coming to abolish the law but to fulfill the law. Yet, there is invariably at one time or another (or another and another and another for the non-believer) where we doubt that the God found in the Old Testament is like-and-kind with the God that we see through the teachings of Jesus Christ.

So, where do the red words seem to contradict those found in the Old Testament? Where do they fulfill them?

Bible Times vs. Modern Times

If those words in red were said to you today-in a reference completely removed from any religious talk-then to what do you think the conversation might be pertaining?

Would your thoughts today coincide with the interpretations of the disciples?

Back in the Day vs. Youth of Today

One of the most fascinating aspects of this exercise was how the understanding of the words in red are so very generation dependent.

As an FCA Ministry Leader, I would come to an FCA meeting with my notes in hand, thoughts in mind, and ready to share share share. However, when the student-athletes would begin to exchange their research and thoughts on the words in red then I would find a great gap between their interpretation and mine.

The nice thing was that discovering that great gap proved to be a primary step towards building a bridge between their world and mine.

Now, I am not under the delusion that you are going to be able to compel your youth to do their own bible research. However, I do believe that you may find it engaging to simply ask, “Hey, what does it mean to you if I said ‘XYZ’?”

To the Task at Hand

This is a participation grade, my friends. Your questions, comments, and answers are always appreciated. But please know that for this particular set of blogs, your participation is essential.

Below you will find our first red phrase to be considered:

Luke 2:49 (NIV)
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

You can feel free to leave a comment below (and thus begin an open discussion), or you might be more comfortable sending me your thoughts and questions via the Contact page. Either way I will compile and share our collected thoughts in a follow-up post.

I will try my best to introduce items in chronological order and to combine the like phrases found in the different gospels. This initial assignment will last until Christmas and then will be followed-up with a new phrase every two weeks or so.

My oh my, it does feel good to be giving out homework again.