Friday in the Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time

John 11:45-54

When Your Eyes Are on Worldly Things…

I’ll confess a sin to you: I can sometimes border on being a “political junkie.”  Now we don’t watch television, with the exception of a few ballgames, and have never paid for satellite or cable.  But there is the Internet, and so I go to my favorite websites and read political commentary.  The sin is that, if I don’t guard myself, that stuff will consume my thoughts, and, before long, I’m all worked up because my mind is focused on worldly matters.  And what’s worse, when our thoughts are spent on worldly matters, we concern ourselves with things like power, and our hearts turn to schemes.  We’ve taken our eyes off of Christ.  Paul prayed that God would fill the Christians in Rome (the political capital of the world in Paul’s day) “with all joy and peace in believing” (15:13), and Isaiah tells us that “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (26:3).

Here, we see how the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day had completely sold themselves out to their Roman lords.  They are worried because, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.”  There is no concern in this statement for godliness, truth, or justice, but only self, graft, and power.  And then Caiaphas takes it to the nth degree: “[Don’t] you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, [and] not that the whole nation should perish?”  (John goes on to tell us that he “did not say this on his own accord,” implying that the Spirit was prophesying through Caiaphas, proving once again that God can speak through a donkey, as in Numbers 22:22-35.  John then adds that in dying, Christ would gather into one the children of God from all the nations, as foretold in Hosea 1:10-11.)

And so were their concerns, and so did they contrive affairs, and so did they spin their web, and so did they catch their prey, and so did they kill him, and so did they retain their hallowed political turf (until A.D. 70).  And it began with rationalizing their place: “But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed” (7:49).  The people needed them, so they reasoned.  And they couldn’t defeat the Romans so best to get along, and getting along placed them at the highest rung on the ladder.  People at the upper echelons of society don’t like Messiahs; they turn things upside-down, and say things like, “The last will be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16).  I’m not saying that politics is evil in and of itself, and I’m sure there are well-meaning people who serve.  But Christians must beware of the dangers of power, and keep the Kingdom first, above all else (Matthew 6:33).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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