Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

2 Samuel 1:1-16 (Part 3 of 3)
David Learns of Saul’s Death

Not my president! That’s the battle cry of many in American society today. There are those who have disdain for Donald Trump no matter what he does. Everything is picked apart that he says or does in ways that I have not seen since the Nixon years when I was a little guy. I was ages 6-12 while Nixon was in office and did not fully grasp the early part of his presidency but certainly do remember his re-election, the scandal of Watergate, and his resignation. Not since Nixon has their been a president that has so divided the nation into two camps with defined boundaries beyond which each camp will not pass.

Even though the economy is as steady as ever and he has generated no administrative regulations or attempted to pass no legislation that would abridge the rights of any American, to hear some tell it, Donald Trump has the country on the brink of economic disaster and on a return to the days of slavery and oppression. He represents everything putrid to the liberal camp and everything he does, as I said, is examined and examined to find a flaw to bring out. I have often joked with friends that, for the liberals, even if Donald Trump was holding and bottle feeding a refugee baby from an impoverished, war-torn, third world country, the liberals would somehow find a way to make it offensive to them.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the conservatives, in an attempt to hold sway with the American public, defends Trump to the ground against the liberal attacks. No matter the stupid and inane things that a President should just not say, they defend him. Even when he makes remarks that makes me just scratch my head as to why he picks the fights that don’t need fighting, they defend him. If Trump was holding and bottle feeding a refugee baby from an impoverished, war-torn third world country, the conservatives would nominate him for sainthood with the Catholic Church the next day. Even though someone should take away this man’s Twitter account because nothing he says is vetted by his handlers there, they defend him. Even though the most reasonable man would see Trump as an egomaniac who ran for President just to add that feather to his cap and won the election with no agenda other than to tell people what they wanted to hear, they defend him as if he is the clarion of the conservative cause.

Where should we as Christians land on this issue of the divisive Mr. Trump? That was the question that came to mind as I pondered this passage of Scripture this morning for the third read of three reads. This morning, I thought about why David had the messenger killed. The messenger claimed to have killed Saul himself. He lied of course. Saul killed himself rather than face capture by the Philistines. What was the purpose of killing the messenger? That idea of the need for this killing reminded me of how our country is right now. One side would rather kill Trump and the other side would rather nominate him for sainthood. How does the Trump situation line up with this passage? Let’s read this passage, 2 Samuel 1:1-16 now and find out:

1 After the death of Saul, David returned from his victory over the Amalekites and spent two days in Ziklag. 2 On the third day a man arrived from Saul’s army camp. He had torn his clothes and put dirt on his head to show that he was in mourning. He fell to the ground before David in deep respect.

3 “Where have you come from?” David asked.

“I escaped from the Israelite camp,” the man replied.

4 “What happened?” David demanded. “Tell me how the battle went.”

The man replied, “Our entire army fled from the battle. Many of the men are dead, and Saul and his son Jonathan are also dead.”

5 “How do you know Saul and Jonathan are dead?” David demanded of the young man.

6 The man answered, “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa, and there was Saul leaning on his spear with the enemy chariots and charioteers closing in on him. 7 When he turned and saw me, he cried out for me to come to him. ‘How can I help?’ I asked him.

8 “He responded, ‘Who are you?’

“‘I am an Amalekite,’ I told him.

9 “Then he begged me, ‘Come over here and put me out of my misery, for I am in terrible pain and want to die.’

10 “So I killed him,” the Amalekite told David, “for I knew he couldn’t live. Then I took his crown and his armband, and I have brought them here to you, my lord.”

11 David and his men tore their clothes in sorrow when they heard the news. 12 They mourned and wept and fasted all day for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the Lord’s army and the nation of Israel, because they had died by the sword that day.

13 Then David said to the young man who had brought the news, “Where are you from?”

And he replied, “I am a foreigner, an Amalekite, who lives in your land.”

14 “Why were you not afraid to kill the Lord’s anointed one?” David asked.

15 Then David said to one of his men, “Kill him!” So the man thrust his sword into the Amalekite and killed him. 16 “You have condemned yourself,” David said, “for you yourself confessed that you killed the Lord’s anointed one.”

In this first passage of 2 Samuel, we must ask, “Why did David consider it a crime to kill the king even though Saul was his enemy?” David believed that God had anointed Saul and only God could remove him from office. If it became a casual thing or a commonplace thing to assassinate the king, the whole society would become chaotic. It was God’s job, not David’s, to judge Saul’s sins (Leviticus 19:18). We must realize that God has placed rulers in authority over us and we should respect their positions (Romans 13:1-7).

So, if that is the case, where should we land on the Trump issue? We should be realistic about Trump. He is not as bad as the liberals make him out to be and he is not as wonderful as the conservatives make him out to be. The truth is, as the old cliché goes, somewhere in between. Thus, we should as Christians pray for this man as he holds the office of President. We should pray that he makes godly decisions (even though I doubt his salvation). We should, nonetheless, pray that his decisions align with the will of God. We should pray for unity among our nation. We should pray that Trump should save his hardline stances for things that matter to God. We should pray that Trump does not create firestorms over things that don’t matter. We should pray that our country can begin again to meet in the middle. The art of compromise in our country is what made it great over the past two plus centuries. We should pray that there be a revival of godly values in Washington. We should pray that there will be an awakening of more and more Christian brothers and sisters who are willing to sacrifice their private lives to run for public offices. Now, more than ever we need Christian men and women in Washington. We cry about where the country is going but yet we do not run for office. Let’s change that!

Just as David knew that Saul was placed in authority by God, we must realize that Donald Trump is serving some purpose in God’s plan for America. He is in the office through the grace of God. He is in the office because he, even if he is not Christian, is part of God’s overarching attempt to reconcile the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. Unless Donald Trump begins to make decisions that are impossible for us to follow because of the commands made to us in God’s Word, then, we should respect him and the office that he holds. We must pray for him intensely. He needs it! He is his own worst enemy most of the time so he really, really does need our prayers. Pray that the Holy Spirit descends on this man and changes him through Jesus Christ. Pray that until that happens that he will follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit in his decision making processes. Pray. Pray and pray some more!

Amen and Amen.

Numbers 14:1-12 (Part 1 of 2)

The People Rebel

President John F. Kennedy said the following in a speech at Rice University’s football stadium on September 12, 1962, almost fifty-four years ago when I was a mere 18 days old. In the swiftness of rate of human history in which we find ourselves in this age, that almost seems centuries ago. But his words, and he was a most eloquent speaker, ring with truth even these 5 ½ decades later. He, when speaking of America’s push to explore space, said,

 

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…”

 

He concluded the speech by saying,

 

“Many years ago the great British explorer George Mallory, who was to die on Mount Everest, was asked why did he want to climb it. He said, “Because it is there.” Well, space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”

 

I do not remember the era from personal experience. I was too young but the Kennedy years engaged a whole new generation in the hope of what our nation could be. My parents’ generation was captivated by Kennedy. With the young President leading the way, there was a feeling that the sky was the limit. The old guard was gone and it was my mom and dad’s generation’s turn to take on the world’s problems. The old ways would not do anymore and a new era had done. Kennedy was the stalwart of that hopeful generation. He was a charismatic leader who spoke of a world that we needed to have rather than the world we just accepted “as is”. What if President Kennedy had not been elected? What would our nation be like now? He galvanized a generation that into believing that the world could be a better place. Even after his assassination, that generation felt that they owed it to JFK to, indeed, change the world. The world, and our nation, had serious issues to deal with and he challenged a generation to take on those challenges not because they were easy but because they were, indeed, hard. When other leaders just wanted to maintain the status quo because it was the easier thing to do, JFK challenged us to take on the challenges and make change. It ignited my mom and dad’s generation.

 

That speech at Rice University that day in September 1962 was quintessential of the spirit of the Kennedy years. Exploring space and taking on all the other challenges of our society in the early 1960s (some of those challenges are still with us today) was going to be hard. It was going to be tough. Just look at the galvanizing call to reach the moon by the end of the decade. Would we have made it to the moon by the Summer of 1968 if it were not for a generation of men and women challenged by the dreams of one, John F. Kennedy. Just think of our space exploration since then without that galvanizing goal of achieving something thought unattainable. Our space program is practically dead right now because of it. The challenge of Kennedy was also echoed by his brother, Ted, when delivering JFK’s eulogy, he paraphrased a quote from G.B. Shaw’s play, Back to Methusalah, when he said, “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say why not?”

 

That was the spirit of my parent’s generation, inspired by the eloquent visionary voice of John F. Kennedy. Sure there are those who say Kennedy is idolized as a great leader now because he was assassinated not because of any particularly great thing that he did in office and that Kennedy make backroom deals to get things done just like every other President. However, Kennedy’s legacy was not that he was assassinated but rather that he had brought hope and vision to a new generation of American. He may not have been a great tactical president but you ask anyone who is in their 70’s now like my dad who was the President that they most loved. They will to man say John F. Kennedy. If he had not been that visionary lightning rod they would not be saying that 50 years later.

 

The visionary leadership of JFK that changed the American political landscape and gave hope to many and energized all was what I thought of today when reading through this passage. It reminds of the difference in America under Kennedy’s vision and the “malaise” speech of Jimmy Carter a decade and a half later and the America of Donald Trump. Kennedy spoke of what could be and challenged us to get there. Carter and Trump tell us what is wrong with America but give us no vision to replace it. It is easier to say what’s wrong with something than it is to have vision of a better future. That’s the same thing that I see in the Israelites in this passage:

 

14 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

 

5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

 

10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites. 11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the signs I have performed among them? 12 I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they.”

 

In this passage, when the chorus of despair went up, everyone joined in. There greatest fears were being realized. Losing their perspective, the people were caught up in the emotion of the moment, forgetting what they knew about the character of God. What if the people had spent as much energy moving forward as they did moving backward? They could have enjoyed the Promised Land, but, instead, they never entered it because they were fearful of the difficulty that lied ahead. It was just easier to wish for the past that they knew and now idolized rather than have to trust God and plunge headlong into the unknown of the Promised Land.

 

My takeaway from this passage today is that there is a huge difference between vision and complaint. Vision says this is the world in which we live but it can be better. Complaint whines about how bad things are and does nothing but complain. To quote a fictitious President Andrew Shepard (played by Michael Douglas) from the movie, The American President, when speaking of his opponent in the upcoming election, he said,

 

Bob’s problem isn’t that he doesn’t get it. Bob’s problem is that he can’t sell it! We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, Bob Rumson is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who’s to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.

 

So, having mentioned multiple Presidents, fictitious and real ones, and a candidate for the president right now, and the difference between vision and complaint, what does all this mean for me as a Christian. It means that we need vision as Christians too.

 

Too many times, we defeat ourselves before we even start. In churches, more often than not, you will hear “we can’t do that! We don’t have the money or the people!” Too often, we keep silent as our ability to express our faith in Jesus Christ publicly is eroded away because it is too hard to stand against the tide of public opinion. Too often, we do not share our faith with others because we convince ourselves before we even speak that we will be rejected. Too often, we as churches will not take on social problems in our cities because it would be too much work, require too much time, and too many volunteers. We just know our people won’t do that. We will talk ourselves out of following God’s calling on our lives and on our churches to go and be and do and share the gospel because it’s too hard.

 

That’s is where we must be visionary. We must love the world around us with such great passion that we are willing to take on those mighty things that are wrong and right them and do so in ways that we must trust God to make them happen. We must dream the big dreams that God gives. We must see a need that our fellow man has and fill it so that we can have the right to speak to him about Jesus. We must be unafraid and bold in sharing the gospel with people groups here at home and abroad. Let us step boldly into the public arena and be unafraid to challenge the world with Jesus, the Messiah. Let us be less concerned with winning public praise and more concerned with hearing Jesus say, “well done, good and faithful servant!” As a leader in my church, I must be able to dream the big dreams that God has given us and not be afraid and talk myself out of what dreams he has given.

 

Let us be, as Christians, just as Kennedy challenged all Americans to be, those who “do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard” and because God has never failed to honor those who honor Him. He may call us to hard work on hard problems. He may call us to do big things beyond our capabilities. He calls us to do big things and have big dreams so that we will know that He is God and we will know that it is only because of Him that we achieve. So, let us be bold. Let us break the mold. We do have an almighty God on our sides. As long as we honor Him by what we do (and not ourselves), He will always honor our obedience to His call. He will never leave us high and dry. He will be never leave or forsake us. He is God.

 

Nuff said.

 

Let’s get to work doing what God called us to do and trusting Him to make it happen! Amen and Amen.

Numbers 13:25-33 (Part 2 of 2)

The Scouting Report

Have you noticed lately that the herd mentality has taken over America? It no longer matters if you are right or wrong about something as long as you are in sync with the feelings of those with the loudest voices. Just think about the riots that have taken place in the past couple of years. Cities have burned because the proper reaction to a police shooting is to loot and pillage the business district of your city. Then, national pundits justify destruction of property of people who had nothing to do with the shooting as OK because of said shooting. And, think about this whole transgender bathroom thing in North Carolina. It all started with a city council in Charlotte, the largest city in the state, deciding that because of the needs of 1% of the population that we should all abide by their gender identity needs. Then, the rest of the state through the state legislature reacted to that extremely liberal position by passing a state law that would supersede the local, municipal law. Then, the firestorm began. Because one person or group thought it fashionable to say they were not coming to the Tar Heel State because of the state law, everybody joins in from Bruce Springsteen to Bryan Adams to conventions and so on. Often, these people had no clue about the background or reasons for the state law but simply wanted to garner public opinion.

 

Another example, even though I am a Republican, is the disaster that has become our party’s nomination this election year. Even though it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump, particularly as he has aged into his 70’s, is such an egomaniac that is too dangerous of a hothead and is in the game just for the popularity prize to be President, the herd mentality took over there as well. America is in love with celebrity and that is the only reason that Trump is where he is today. It is not because he is the best candidate from our party (that distinction belonged to Marco Rubio), but rather the herd saw the celebrity and jumped on Trump’s bandwagon because it was the cool thing to do. It did not matter that Trump had no policies and it did not matter that his debates were like the watching a child in an argument, “I know you are…but what am I” filled with name calling, half-truths, and outright lies and reversals of positions previously taken (even within the debate itself). Clinton will win the presidential race and it’s nobody’s fault but our own as party.

 

Now, we have the newest example of the herd mentality with Colin Kaepernick, the former starting quarterback, now the 2nd string quarterback, of the San Francisco 49ers professional football team. He decides, because of his recent conversion to Islam not to long after getting into a serious relationship with his new girlfriend, a Muslim, that all of sudden America is an oppressive place and will not stand for the national anthem. Although he lives in an exclusive home in an exclusive neighborhood and currently is the midst of five year, $19 Million contract that he is oppressed and will not stand for our country’s national anthem at recent football games. Although he, prior to this year, had no issue with that. Although he takes his paychecks to the bank and cashes every one of them that results from a society that felt he was special enough to deserve $19 Million over five years, he is oppressed. What happens, the herd mentality takes over. Now, there are multiple equally oppressed millionaire football players who are now not standing for the national anthem. And, you can see where this is headed. Eventually, we will not have the national anthem played at professional football games because it might offend the football players. They are an oppressed lot, you know, where as a benchwarmer with no hopes of making the field you still make a minimum salary is $450,000 per year. I would sit on the bench and be the biggest non-playing football uniformed wearing cheerleader you ever saw for that minimum wage. This is a non-issue that will be made into an issue because no one will stand up to the herd mentality and risk being ridiculed for not being liberal and free thinking.

 

Our nation has become like high school. Remember, high school! Where reputations can be ruined in a day. Where a lie becomes truth because that is what the crowd believes. Remember, girls with good reputations one day are considered whores the next because the rumor mill is taken as fact. Remember, guys being labeled as homosexual and that being held as true in the court of public opinion whether it is true or not. That is the nation that we have become. Truth no longer matters but rather the popularity of the things that we want to believe to be true whether it is true or not.

 

The herd mentality and Caleb standing up and shouting against the wind is what I thought of this morning as I read Numbers 13:25-33, for the second and final time this morning. Let’s read it together now:

 

25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.”

 

30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

 

31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

 

Imagine Caleb standing before the crowd, knowing that he is right, voicing what was now becoming an unpopular opinion. Caleb was willing to take the unpopular stand so as to be in compliance with what God had commanded him to do. To be effective when you go against the crowd, you must have the facts (Caleb had seen the land himself), have the right attitude (Caleb trusted God’s promise to give Israel the land), and state clearly what you believe (Caleb said, “We can CERTAINLY conquer it!”).

 

Where are you men of courage? Where are you, the Calebs of the world? Why do we live in fear of the herd? Let us stand on God’s Word and God’s promises rather than bend to the herd mentality of the moment. Let us not compromise ourselves to meet the needs of the crowd for the moment before they move on to the next thing oh so important cause de jour. Let us be willing to be unpopular. Let us stand up in the high school lunchroom of public opinion and tell the truth even when it is unpopular. I am not saying that we take the bomb the clinic mentality which is just as wrong as the herd mentality of intolerant tolerance that is so prevalent today but we must have the courage to stand up and say the herd is wrong when we know they are wrong. We must have voice and not silence. We must be willing to rely on God’s power to protect when we voice an opinion backed by the truth of God as stated in His Word and rely on His protection.

 

Let us be a people that stands against the herd because we believe in the eternal truth of God rather than compromising to the crowd and being quiet when we know we should speak. Thank you Caleb for showing us your wisdom and your courage and your faith and your willingness to please God over pleasing public opinion.

 

 

Amen and Amen.

Matthew 21:12-17 (Part 3)

Jesus Clears the Temple Again

 

We have spent the last two days looking at how Jesus got mad at how the Court of the Gentiles within the Temple grounds had become so focused on commerce rather than the allowing God-fearing Gentiles from worshiping God. There was so much commerce going on there that it was a complete distraction and left little physical room for Gentiles to worship God. This made Jesus angry because the Temple was not supposed to be this way. It was supposed to be a wonderfully, reverent, quiet place to worship God. God was not first anymore here. It was the making of money that was first. Now, today, let’s talk about Jesus Himself in this scene.

 

I don’t know if you watched the Republican presidential debate last night from Houston, TX carried on television by the CNN network. It was a sad commentary to me on the politics of our nation where a candidate like Donald Trump actually has traction. America has become so enamored with celebrity that Donald Trump is likely to win the Republican Party’s nomination for President. After watching last night’s debate, it firmly convinced me that this man is enamored beyond belief with his own celebrity and that he has no business being a candidate for President. The man never revealed any definitive policy positions. He spent his whole time bashing Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and when pressed on what his position was on a particular subject, he never gave a real answer. His answers to questions about Israel were literally contradictory in the same sentences. His answers to questions about the Mexican border were equally as laughable. His answers about cutting taxes were pie in the sky dreams that will work in a 8 year presidency much less a 4 year one. Marco Rubio was masterful in pointing out that Trump is just a loud mouth, blow-hard who is style and no substance. He was masterful at pointing out the contradictions of Trump’s statements throughout his career and his candidacy. The sad fact is that Trump doesn’t care about any of that. Trump is so in love with himself that he thinks he is right even when he contradicts himself. He is so in love with himself, he doesn’t even know that he lost the debate last night. He is like the little spoiled rotten kid who when you prove he is wrong just starts calling you names and ridicules you about things having nothing to do with the subject of the conversation. Well, yeah, but you’re a loser! I pray desperately that our choices for President of the United States are not Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It is this Trump illustration that brings us to the point of our discussion today, which is Jesus Himself in the scene presented by Matthew in Matthew 21:12-17. Let us read it together:

 

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

 

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

 

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

 

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

 

“‘From the lips of children and infants

   you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.

 

 

Isn’t funny that the religious leaders could not see Jesus for who He really is much like the angry, pissed off white people that are giving Trump’s campaign traction. We have become so in love with celebrity in the 500 cable channel world that nothingness has an audience. We have become so enamored with wealthy people that we will make them celebrities even when they have nothing of value to say other than being bad boys or girls. The same nation that has made Trump a celebrity has made Snookie a celebrity. We are a nation that makes celebrities out of people just because they get their face on television and not because they are talented or even have anything of great value to inspire us. All I say to the Trump supporters out there is – be careful what you wish for cause you just might get it. It will be like putting a kid in the cockpit of an F-16 and saying “go fly boy!”Vapidness wins the day.

 

I think of the religious elite here in this scene with Jesus in the same way. They are clueless and they should be the ones with a clue since they are charged with being Israel’s religious leaders. Blind men, in the scene before this one, could see Jesus as the promised Messiah but yet these so-called religious leaders could not. We know from the other gospels what Jesus said to them here angered them so much that began to desire murdering Jesus.

 

Let’s be clear here about what Jesus said about Himself here. After performing miracles in their presence and hearing the children shouting that He was the Son of David and the chief priests ask Jesus about it. He responds with a quote from Psalm 8 in the Old Testament. Psalm 8 was a praise Him about the majesty of God and how we are humbled by His allowing us dominion over His creation. Specifically, He quotes Psalm 8:2 where the children of God sing His praises. Do not mistake it here. Jesus is calling Himself God. Jesus makes it very clear to the chief priests with that statement that He is God. Jesus is God in the flesh. Jesus is God come down from heaven. Jesus is God that they psalmist was writing about. However, the chief priests were blind to the signs of who Jesus was. They could not see the Messiah. They were more concerned with their own celebrity. They were more concerned about keeping their position. They were more concerned about making money in the temple. They were more concerned about things that don’t matter in eternity than they were about recognizing the Messiah standing in front of them. They were the Donald Trumps of their day. They were enamored with who they were. They were charged with being the leaders of people but yet they were blind guides with no clue about worshiping God or about seeking His presence. All they were blow-hards that enjoyed hearing themselves talk and enjoyed sitting at the finest tables at meals and they enjoyed all the attention that they got. They had no clue because they had no spirit in them. They had sight but could not see the Messiah. They just thought Him some prophet who was crazy enough to say out loud that He thought He was God. They denied the miracles or ignored them. They did not want Jesus to be God in the flesh. It would have meant the end of the search for the Messiah. It would have meant the end of their position as the heralds of the Messiah. It would have ended their position as the leaders of Israel. They did not want to see the Messiah because it would have changed their lifestyle.

 

Are we not the same way today? Our world wants to make Jesus something other than He is so that it does not change our lifestyle. We want to like Jesus as a great guy and a great philosopher. We want to like him as an anti-establishment rebel. We want to like Him as just a guy who accepted everybody right where they are. We forget that Jesus Christ is God. He is God come down from heaven. We must ignore that. We must discount the miracles. We must leave out this scene altogether from Matthew. We don’t want and angry Jesus who calls Himself God in the flesh. We must ignore that if we want to continue living the way we live today. Jesus has to be an option not the central core of the universe. He has to be an option so that we can make the things that He says that we don’t like optional. He has to be an option and not God Himself. We need Jesus just to be a guy so that we can put less value in His Word. We need Jesus to be just a guy so we can pick and choose among religions as to what works for our lives. We need Jesus to be just a guy so that we do not have deal with Him being God in the flesh. We will have to account for our position on Jesus one day. Are you willing to bet your eternity on Jesus being just a guy? Are you willing to throw away the parts of the Bible where He comes right out and says that He is God? Are you willing to bet your eternity on the pick and choose menu of modern belief systems and miss the fact that Jesus is God? As C.S. Lewis so eloquently stated once that Jesus is either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord? Do you see Him as Lord? You cannot have the Jesus of your choosing. You either crucify Him as the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did or you believe that He is God in the flesh. We must all account for this decision on this side of eternity and your answer to that one simple question determines your eternal home. Do you see the Messiah standing right in front of you or are you so enamored with the trappings of this world and your lifestyle that you cannot? Eternity hangs in the balance.

 

Just as our country is at what I see as probably the most crucial presidential election in our nation’s history and no one sees the train wreck that is coming with the popularity of Clinton, Sanders, and Trump. Socialism vs. Self-Loving Celebrity. We cannot see those who truly have a vision for what our country needs such as a Marc Rubio who has the passion to get it done. We have polarizing figures who glory in making people angry and walk away. It’s like a choice between which type of poison you want to die from and we, as a nation of people enamored by celebrity and scandal and people being rude for the hell of it, do not see the candidates who can really save our nation from the trainwreck that we are headed toward. Just as the religious elite was so enamored with their position in society, and their wealth, they could not see anything wrong with commercializing the Temple courts, and they could not see the Bible’s promise of a Messiah standing right in front of them. Just as we make Jesus just another guy. We are missing the boat my friends. Eternity’s coming. Make the right choice. See the Messiah. See your train wreck coming. See the Messiah and accept Him as your Savior. Make the choice of a lifetime. Make the choice of your eternal future in Jesus Christ. He is God. He is the One. He is I AM. Amen and Amen.