Wednesday, May 1, 2013

You are the Light of the world

If we call ourselves Christians, that is, if we say we are followers of Jesus, one would expect that of all the scriptures in the Holy Bible, we would at least take the actual words of Jesus literally. By ‘literally’ I mean, as to their plain meaning. This is an argument put forth by many of the classical Protestant reformers, but it has lost most of its power because it is rather falsely applied by many who think the Bible is their personal property, and that they can tell us ‘what it really means,’ even when their explanations are as far-fetched as those they are trying to controvert.

There is no doubt in my mind at all that the Holy Bible represents the Word of God in written form. Originally, of course, most of it first appeared as spoken, and only later was it committed to writing. That's how scriptures are collected. I also have no doubt that there are many passages in the Holy Bible that are mysterious, that can only be understood by personal experience, maybe even personal revelation, yet not in a dogmatic, but only a personal, manner. The Church has of course, starting with the holy apostles, taught the meaning of many obscure passages, and these we cannot but accept.

Many passages, too, that are difficult to understand and even more difficult to apply, may never be completely understood until God wants them to be, and that will be in His time and place. Those who call themselves ‘fundamentalists’ often take liberties with the obscure while ignoring or misapplying that which is clear in the scriptures, excusing themselves from obeying an explicit commandment of Jesus by specious arguments. This is not the preserve of the sects either. Sometimes those who claim membership in the Holy Church do exactly the same things, cloaking their agendas in false authority.

But for the simple believer in Jesus Christ, who is both Word and Son of God, the message of the Holy Gospels is clear. We can read for ourselves what our Lord says. He never wrote anything, but His faithful disciples recorded for us every word of His that God willed to be made known. We can also see His actions portrayed in the Holy Gospels, which are themselves the enactment in His own person of His very teachings to us. How can we say we are following Him, when we act in exactly the opposite way? Yet there are many who call themselves Christians, who do this, and justify themselves.

To read the words of Jesus, to understand them in their plain meaning, to apply them as is indicated by the Holy Spirit, not as ideals to be striven after at all costs, but as living, divine commandments uttered to us moment by moment, to be followed as we make our way through the wilderness of this world, this is all that the Lord asks of us. Let us unburden ourselves of every false commandment that comes from the world, the devil, and our own flesh, though they clad us in the garments of piety and religion. These are nothing more than fig leaves we use to cover our nakedness and justify ourselves.

The Lord Jesus says of Himself, that He is humble and meek, that in Him we find rest for our souls. He is Himself our universal sabbath, our rest from the toil of sin that we unknowingly lay upon ourselves. What if we follow, what if we do what we see Him doing in the Holy Gospels? He tells us, ‘You will do even greater things than I, because I am going to the Father.’ Is He perhaps stretching it a bit, maybe to encourage us? I don't think so. He is not really the cruel taskmaster we sometimes take Him to be. When He entrusts us with a talent, or two, or five, He expects us to return these ‘with interest.’

How do we return to Him what He gives us ‘with interest’? Isn't it to love with the love He lavishes on us, that increases as we give it away? We will never know the Lord Jesus Christ as He knows us, until we take Him as seriously as He takes us. He gives us His divine and holy teachings. If we seek Him He reveals His commandments to us. If we follow Him, we walk in His will, and know it. We become the place on earth where the Divine lightning bolt earths itself. He has made human flesh a good conductor of His Divine energies.

Brethren, let us be what Christ says we are, 
‘You are the Light of the world.’

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