Taught the night at the youth group. Had a blast. Miss the rugrats. I couldn't even imagine giving a half-hour lecture to my own students and them being anywhere near as attentive. Ok, I was given twenty minutes, but another thing I couldn't imagine is even broaching this massive subject matter in only a third of an hour, unless it was as an introduction to a series.
I felt a bit like I was just rushing, just trying to throw stuff on the wall and see what sticks where. My boy Tankie - who's often been my silent sounding board - came through and encouraged me that at least someone carried away something from it.
And now for the final installment:
1 "Sing, O childless woman! Break forth into loud and joyful song, O Jerusalem, even though you never gave birth to a child. For the woman who could bear no children now has more than all the other women," says the LORD. 2 "Enlarge your house; build an addition; spread out your home! 3 For you will soon be bursting at the seams. Your descendants will take over other nations and live in their cities. 4 "Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. The shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood will be remembered no more, 5 for your Creator will be your husband. The LORD Almighty is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth.
11 "O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you on a foundation of sapphires and make the walls of your houses from precious jewels. 12 I will make your towers of sparkling rubies and your gates and walls of shining gems. 13 I will teach all your citizens, and their prosperity will be great. 14 You will live under a government that is just and fair.
1"Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink - even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk � it's all free! 2 Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen, and I will tell you where to get food that is good for the soul! 3 "Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake. I am ready to make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the mercies and unfailing love that I promised to David. 4 He displayed my power by being my witness and a leader among the nations. 5 You also will command the nations, and they will come running to obey, because I, the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, have made you glorious."...
8 "My thoughts are completely different from yours," says the LORD. "And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. 10 "The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. 12 You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! 13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the LORD's name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.
What does the resurrection of the Messiah mean for everybody else?
A whole new world! The mountains are running and skipping, the trees are clapping, the rocks will cry out, etc., etc. A small band of people from a "backwards" nation will eventually broaden their scope, become emboldened enough to die horrible deaths proclaiming the death and resurrection of their leader (in the promised hope that they too will be resurrected), gain thousands, tens of thousands, eventually millions and now billions of followers, topple the mighty Roman Empire, heal the sick, comfort the fatherless and widows, cuddle burn-victims, AIDS victims, lepers, establish and run hospitals.Yes, many horrible things were done by Christians and in the name of Jesus. But those atrocities are more results of being broken and self-centered than of living in and through the resurrection. More a result of having as Lord Caesar and wealth than Jesus. More a result of neglecting our God and our neighbor in favor of self-interests, rather than loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls, minds and loving our neighbors as we love ourselves.
And maybe the first step for many of us, in confronting the power of the resurrection, is to step back, reflect, apologize. And then make amends.