Betch'a didn't know that...  61-75

There are only six miracles of Jesus reported to have been "Sabbath miracles."  The very fact that the
gospel writers made sure that you would know that it was a miracle performed on the Sabbath must
be significant.  You never find a day of the week assigned to any other healing miracle, there are no
designated "Tuesday" miracles or "third day of the week" miracles.  Now for the bomb- we can't be 
sure about the full condition of Peter's mother-in-law in Matthew 8, Mark 1 and Luke 4, but we do know
that other five were absolutely not miracles of immediate need.  Not one of them was a crisis situation, 
they were all chronic conditions that could have waited until Sunday or Monday... no one was going to
die.  So, why did He "cross the lines" and set Himself up for criticism?  I believe it's because He truly
wanted to.  He wanted to challenge and confront the narrow expectations of the conservatives! 

Confession is a really, really important factor in a growing relationship because it's the only way to keep the 
door of honesty and transparency and vulnerability open.  It may not be comfortable, but it's hugely necessary
in healthy relationships.  That includes our relationship with God... and God doesn't need it!  It's not like you're 
going to tell God anything He doesn't know so it's obvious that the exercise must be for my benefit even if it
is uncomfortable.

Kings and Chronicles provides a life insight that is just huge.  Granted, heredity is a large factor in shaping
issues of life for all of us.  On the other hand, there is an equally important influence on life that sets 
people up for success or failure- environment.  But, to a great degree, Kings and Chronicles proves that
there is a factor of life that can override heredity and can override environment.  That ultimate 
determinant is choice.  Time and time again we see the biographies of men who come from basically
the same hereditary line and the same environment scene but the thing that most determines the
success or failure of their story is based in choice.  Sons from lousy fathers chose God and succeeded.  Sons
from wonderful fathers rejected God and failed.  Choice is the ultimate determinant of life.

There's a predictable pattern in the "angry" messages of the minor prophets.  In almost every case the
prophet pulls no punches about God's frustration and disappointment with His children, but then something
pretty astounding happens.  In nearly every one of those little books it's like God can only carry that tone
of voice so far before His magnificent love and grace just has to take over.  It's like a switch flips and He
suddenly says, "Oh, come here!  I want to snuggle you!"  As hard as they are to read sometimes you
really need to keep plowing in those little books so you can get the full and final picture.

In some ways the Bible actually gives you a living representation of the Luke 15 story of two brothers
that come from the "prodigal" parable.  Martha was appropriate and proper and very, very jealous of
her much more emotional and "irresponsible" sister.  And, curiously, it seems that the irresponsible
sibling is the one that receives more of Heaven's approval and blessing than her proper and faithful
sister.  When you think about it Luke 10:38-42 certainly turns the tables on us just as surely as the
statement to the older brother does in Luke 15.

Jesus was not the "young" man that many of us in modern, western culture believe Him to be.  There
are some who claim that the average life-span to be expected in the Roman world was about 44 years and 
not the 70 or 80 or whatever we assume life to be in our time.  So, if Jesus doesn't get introduced into
His active ministry until the age of 30 He actually was well into "middle age"... especially since he had,
by that time, officially been a "man" for about 17 years already!

The official life-segment of the "active priest" in the Bible was to be installed at the age of 30 and he was
forced into retirement at the age of 50.  Several times Numbers 4 tells us that young Levite men were not
allowed to be active in Tabernacle service until they turned 30.  Curiously, Luke 3:23 tells us that Jesus
did not begin active and public ministry until the same age! 

Dorcas (of Acts 9) may have been so effective in her care for the widows and children that God just deemed
that, at that time, the church could not do without her.  After all, there were a lot of wonderful saints who
went to their graves without any apostle intervening with a resurrection miracle.  Wouldn't that be really
something?  Wouldn't it be amazing if God found me to be so valuable to the church that He just wouldn't
let me die?  What about you?

One word, in so many ways and so many times, encapsulates a tragic position in the schema of God- the 
word "outside."  Outside the garden, outside the ark, outside the camp, outside the wedding feast, outside
the gate, outside the New Jerusalem... It is a horrible place to be from Genesis 3 all the way to Revelation 20.

We would be terribly discombobulated if we ever went out one night to discover that the stars got scrambled
and nothing was where it belonged.  How would you feel if Orion got skewed or if the Big Dipper lost its 
shape or the Southern Cross suddenly was missing several stars?  Isn't it amazing that God has given us
this remarkable gift, this ongoing visible presentation of security and His permanence?  That's the kind of thing
that we are reminded of when we "consider the Heavens." 

The New Jerusalem has gates and walls.  That's not news to anyone who has read Revelation 21, but it may
be a concept that you've never questioned.  Why?  We are used to gates and walls being a necessity to 
keep the bad guys out but that's irrelevant by chapter 21 because all the bad guys are eradicated in chapter
20.  So, why are they necessary?  Is it because God knows that we are more comfortable when we have
boundaries even when they may not be, ultimately, necessary?

Some people really have "the radio voice."  I know that I've been gifted with a unique voice and I only have
Heaven to thank for it because I did nothing to earn it.  There are some people who just have wonderful
pipes and you have to admire it... but we haven't heard anything yet!  What was John trying to describe
when he said that listening to God's voice was like hearing "many waters" or cascading waterfalls?  What 
will it be like to hear God sing?  (Look it up, Zephaniah 3:17... How cool is that?)

We don't know when Israel got away from the expectation of showing up at the Sanctuary three times
a year.  It may have been part of the split of the nation into two after the days of Solomon.  It surely must
have been true when the temple was destroyed and the nation was in captivity.  By the days of Jesus it
seems that the intentions of many good Jews was to get to Jerusalem once a year.  Today the passover
seder ends with the expressed desire, "May it be said, 'This year my feet in Jerusalem!'" 

Some in middle-ages Judaism taught that Eve was not the first mate of Adam.  They believed that there
was a first woman created named "Lillith" but she failed and so God had to displace her and create Eve
as a replacement.  In their created legend Lillith generally goes on to become the temptress.  For those
who told this story it was an explanation for where the serpent comes from in the story. 

Jesus washing the feet of His disciples wasn't just a magnificent act of modeling, it was actually an event that
must have actually given Him pain.  Really!  The reason I know this is that I have actually replicated His act
with 12 fellow pastors one time and it taught me things about the John 13 experience I would have never 
known without having enacted it.  By the fourth or fifth person your knees begin to hurt.  From about the 
seventh or eighth person whose feet you wash your lower back begins to hurt.  Jesus did not just lower
Himself to perform the service, He actually set Himself up for physical discomfort!  Did you ever think
of that?