“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
1 Corinthians 13: 12
Matthew 16: 1-4
In Manitoba right now we may unwittingly slip into an attitude similar to that of ‘living in a bubble.’ The pandemic has been managed incredibly well by all parties and its impact has not been as drastic as elsewhere. A small excursion into news outlets and we will discover the devastating consequences worldwide: increasing numbers of cases and deaths; massive national debts being accrued; the impact in poorer countries; worrying employment projections; continued environmental issues; and difficult demographics in population projections. What are we to make of all of this? I wrote last week about the need to be awake to our reality and to use our time and talents well. Rev. Kim connected with this too in yesterday’s sermon (on our website). So how do we understand our reality so as to act appropriately?
In our Gospel reading we find two unusual bedfellows; the Pharisees and Sadducees. Two very different sects with differing views and yet they join forces to oppose and undermine Jesus. They ask for a sign to back up His claims (vs. 1). Basically Jesus tells them that if they opened their eyes they would see and understand. They can forecast the weather but cannot interpret the signs of the times or perhaps do not want to (vs. 2-3). Jesus simply tells them that the only sign they will receive is the sign of Jonah. Jonah was a prophet who took a message from God to the people of Nineveh against their wickedness (Jonah 1: 2; 3: 3-4). The people listened, believed and repented; God relented and showed compassion (Jonah 3: 7-10). Jesus was telling the Pharisees and Sadducees that He Himself was God’s last Word and message; He was and is the sign. He taught them God’s truth (with incredible signs as well!) and interpreted the times. His message was clear, “The time has come, the Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the Good News,’ (Mark 1: 15). They only had to have ears to hear; it was as simple as understanding the weather.
There are many opposing forces, views and attitudes towards Jesus Christ. Times can seem oppressive and confusing. In Christ however we are confronted with God Himself and His truth. We have an explanation for all things and clear interpretation of the times. Paul reminds us that all things will be clearly revealed when Christ returns (1 Cor. 13: 12) but until then we can see the truth by looking to Jesus Christ. The more we look to Jesus the more clearly we see. As we see clearly we gain the wisdom to know how to act (we will consider this last point on Wednesday).
To Ponder: What causes you most confusion in life? As you identify the cause understand where your mind’s eye is focused. Turn to Jesus and His written Word for explanation; how does this change your attitude, belief and potentially actions?
Prayer: Lord you call us to fix our eyes upon you. Help us to look to you to see and understand our lives and situations more fully. Grant us the reassurance of your sovereignty, providence and amazing Good News. Lord help us to see clearly. Amen
Praise: Father I place into your hands
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbLjp4-8NdY
Be Thou my Vision
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIMhshpf0Y4
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.