We have probably all heard a joke or two about the “pearly gates” of heaven. You might even remember how St. Peter is said to be standing there as the gatekeeper. Now you know where this picture comes from and how totally off base the description truly is. There are actually twelve gates, not one, and all of the apostles have a place in the foundation, not just Peter. But at least people are talking about heaven, even if only in “jest.”
God is preparing a beautiful place for us. The magnificence defies description. While the dimensions were meant to be symbolic, they are given in great detail. What we do see may have been lost in the translation. Each measurement represents a multiple of 12. You will recall that in the Bible the number 12 represents God’s people. First there are the 12 tribes, then the 12 apostles of the Lamb. The Holy City of God beautifully represents the people who have stayed true. There are even 12 precious gems adorning the city. It is a magnificent place for God’s people to dwell, and the size will be just perfect.
When Jesus came, everything changed. The old covenant with
God, as given to Moses, was replaced with a new covenant promise from God. No
longer was there separation between man and God. Jesus is the way, the truth
and the life. Because of Jesus, we can now approach our Father God.
So, what is the “glory” of God? I could spend hours researching
it, and I’m sure my husband will correct me and hand me the exact books I need
if I’m totally off base here. To me, simply put, the glory of God is his
majesty manifested into tangible form. God is full of light, and that light,
his glory, shines brightly when we’re in his presence.
This is a Bible story I have acted out time and time again. As a Sunday School teacher, you always hope that using an “experience” like a re-enactment will help the kids to grasp a little of what’s happening here. It’s more than the waves. It’s more than Jesus being a deep sleeper.
This is something that happened, rather than a parable or story Jesus is telling. But the lessons we see here are plentiful. We see Jesus get into a boat with his disciples, presumably to retreat to a quieter destination where the crowds aren’t closing in. We see Jesus falling asleep out of pure exhaustion. Jesus is God, but he is also human, and he has been in demand with his teachings and healings. Who wouldn’t be totally spent and ready for some peace and quiet?
We have all had “I told you so” moments in our lives. I’m sure one, in particular, sped through your mind as you read today’s reading. I know one did for me. However, Paul’s message was not to condemn but to comfort. Again, Paul’s integrity and leadership shine through the darkness of the moment.
When we are going through the storms of life, it is sometimes hard to focus on anything good. When we are lost in the moment of despair, there is nothing anyone can say that is going to lift us up. I wonder how it was for Paul’s shipmates. They had been frantically doing things to keep themselves safe–as if they had control. Continue reading “Acts 27:13-26 – Stormy Seas”
When you think of Jesus, I’m sure many different pictures come to mind. The healer, the teacher, the Savior, the friend, to name just a few. Today’s reading may give you a different sense, but he’s calling it as it is. He is the divider.
This is probably not a passage we see too often, so we don’t quite believe that “our” Jesus could be actually saying these things. His words are not as uplifting as we are used to. But his message is very helpful.
Didn’t he come to bring peace? We call him the Prince of Peace after all. But it goes deeper than this. When we dig in to the Word, we will see that because of the very nature of Jesus – being fully God and fully human, he is going to ruffle some feathers. He is dividing families. He is angering teachers of the law stuck in their tradition. Some will want to follow him and others will not. Those that follow and trust Jesus will find peace. Those that rebel will find judgment. Continue reading “Luke 12:49-59 – Division”