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Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Oct 23, 2014 | Comments (0)


Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Click here to go to the Bottom Line Meditations for the Twenty-First Sunday after Pentecost

Godly Abiding Spiritually in Jesus Changes the Meaning of What we See Worldly When Not Abiding in Jesus.

Spirituality is our innate ability to feel the difference worldly or godly thinking makes to the way scripture translates to our daily life and relationships.

All Scripture is a testimony to Jesus Christ, who is the Word of God. He is the complete revelation of God’s will of grace for salvation. Grace is the only unfailing rule of faith and practice for the Christian life.

The Gospel of grace is: rather than trying to be more faithful to become faithful, we become faithful by feeling the Faith God already has for and in us.

The Strength of Christianity is Grace

John 1:14 “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Another name for Jesus is "Grace". Another name for God is "Grace". We are saved by GRACE. "Love" is not Love if it is not grace. This is true for "Faith", "Hope", "Joy" and all other theological words of significance in the scripture.

Until someone experiences the grace gift in their lives, all other theological words have no real meaning. Why not begin to use the word "grace" in place of "Jesus", "God", "the Spirit", "Love" and so on? It might seem inappropriate to do so. However, until it is actually experienced it will make no sense at all.

That is what this year is all about. Grace, did you get it?

 

It's good to talk: The Pharisees talked to themselves, while Jesus talked to the people.

Pray this prayer from the Collect for this Sunday:

“Almighty God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service.”

Now quietly move into God's Presence and pray the prayer again:

“Almighty God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service.”

Did you feel the difference?

 

Matthew 23:1-12 “Woe to you, Hypocrites.”

This is Jesus’ War on legalism. The questions must be asked! Why now? Why did He not do it before this? Why not later? Why not just mind His own business? What was the spark that lit the fire leading to calling out the legalists as hypocrites?

To grasp this we need to go a back a bit. It is the time that He became thirty years old. He now could be recognized as a rabbi. It was then He was baptized in the River Jordan by John. He was led by the Spirit into the Wilderness for forty days. There He did battle with Satan.

From there He started His ministry of preaching the Gospel of Grace, healing the sick and preparing His disciples. The theme was that the Law came through Moses, Grace and Truth came through the Word of God. He preached about how the Truth of experiencing the Spirit changes our lives from legalism to Grace. The more His Name spread, the more opposition came from the legalistic establishment. It came to the point where they wanted Him dead, gone and forgotten. He did not match up to their expectations of a real Messiah. The one who would reward the clergy and the pious for all they did for Him.

In one confrontation after another He kept making the legalists look like fools. He enters Jerusalem and clears the Temple. He confronts the legalists with His “Woes to you”. His greatest threat is when He put all the Law and The Prophets under the Two Great Commandments to love God, and to love your neighbor as yourself.  

We are now coming to the end of His earthly ministry. Chapter 22 ends an old chapter and starts this new one in the Life of His ministry. Matthew writes at the close of Chapter 22, “And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore.”

The next chapter (23) starts, “Jesus spoke to the multitude and to His disciples. ‘Do not do what the scribes and Pharisees do.’” He then goes on the attack by exposing them as “hypocrites”. His enemies have withdrawn. They no longer try to expose Him. They know who He is. They have planned His Death. He is to them a “dead man walking”.

This is the last time He comes before His multitude. What is His plan? The question here is what did Jesus mean by the word “hypocrites”? You will never find Jesus’ meaning in a dictionary or a commentary. Jesus took the everyday common words and gave them only one spiritual meaning. It was experiencing the Presence of God. A hypocrite is one who pretends to be in God’s Presence to impress others. Jesus preaches to do what they say if it is out of Love but do not do what they do if it is not out of Love.

When we are in His Presence we are who we are called to be. There is no room for low self-esteem, demeaning ourselves or trying to make something of ourselves. His last words and parables emphasize His message He is still proclaiming today. It is the power of the Grace of God to be the changing force in our life.

Did you get the grace?

“Almighty God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service.”


THE DISCIPLE-SHIFT: The Virtual Small Group: Members share once a week with their group through the internet when a shift from being out to being in the Presence made a difference.


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