“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
— Matthew 7:21
Can you see something remarkable about the timing of this statement of Jesus’?
It’s the first time that He drops the hint that He is the Son of God — and it comes near the end of the Sermon on the Mount.
I wrote yesterday that Jesus healed people — demonstrating the power of the Holy Spirit with actions directed at others — before He started talking. But if you read through the sermon, starting at Matthew 5:1, the message is, “It’s all about you.”
You are blessed when …; You are the salt of the earth …; You are the light of the world …; Better for you to go to heaven minus one hand than to go to hell …; how much more will God clothe you than the lilies of the field?; pray to your Father in Heaven ….
The Bible can be just as important for what it does not say, as for what it does, and it’s noteworthy that Jesus did not open His discourse by saying, “Hi everyone! I’m the Son of God!” It wasn’t until He had told the multitude how important they are to God and how they must not worry about material things of the world that He finally gave an inkling as to Who He was.
Oh, sure: Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, had already stated, “We have seen the Messiah”; John the Baptist had already said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”; Jesus Himself said He had come not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it; but announcing that He was the Son of God? That was the first time, and really (possible heresy alert), how important was that? Isn’t the important thing to encourage people with the news that they are loved, unconditionally and eternally, by God?
You are in control of your Salvation and relationship with God — it doesn’t depend on rituals or outward signs, and especially not on the estimation of other humans, no matter how learned and religious they are.
You can choose the path to Heaven that appears to be narrow and difficult, even though others may choose the path that looks easier and wider; and as He tells us later, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light“: His way really isn’t as hard as it looks.
Better yet, when we choose that narrow path, God shall take care of all the worldly things we need. Choose the wider road, and we’re pretty much on our own.
As ambassadors of Christ, the basic message we need to convey to people is that, whatever the world may think of them, they — each and every one of them — are important to God. Let our actions and very lives, as well as our words, reflect that.
Next week’s entries on Two Minutes for Cross-Checking may bring a sense of déjà vu: that uncanny feeling that you’ve seen something before.
Next week’s entries on Two Minutes for Cross-Checking may bring a sense of déjà vu: that uncanny feeling that you’ve seen something … um … before.
Anyway, I’ve decided to spend some time in the Word more to strengthen my relationship with God and less to find ideas for posts. So for the next few days, you’ll see some already-posted entries — favorites of mine; seeing them again will also help remind me what this blog is supposed to be about.
By the way, I canvassed some of you about possibly changing the name of the blog to “#YourLifeMatters”. There were some great, very thoughtful, responses, which helped coalesce my thinking. If it were a vote, I think it would have been a 50/50 tie. In the end, I decided to keep the name as it is, but work the hashtag into some of the posts.