MUSING – March 29 2018
PEACE TO PREPARE FOR WAR
2 Chronicles 14:5-7
“He (King Asa of Judah) got rid of the illegal places of worship and the altars for incense in all the cities of Judah. The kingdom was at peace during his reign. He built fortified cities in Judah because the land had peace. There was no war during those years because the LORD gave him a time of peace. So Asa told Judah, “Let’s build these cities and make walls around them with towers and doors that can be barred. The country is still ours because we have dedicated our lives to serving the LORD our God. We have dedicated our lives to him, and he has surrounded us with peace.” So they built the cities, and everything went well.”
I remember something a Marine friend of mine said as we watched the Berlin Wall being torn down. He said, “Nothing is a frightening as a time of peace.”
I thought, at the time, that it was an odd thing to say. I didn’t think much more about it at the time. However, in retrospect, I think I know what he meant. Countries use a time of peace to build up their defences. More weapons can be stockpiled during peace than during war. Resources can be used to prepare for the next battle.
I was born at the end of the second world war. I’ve lived through Korea, Vietnam, the wars in the middle East, and countless other “skirmishes”. The times between were called peace. They were never truly peace.
True peace is more than an absence of fighting. Jesus said, “I have told you this while I’m still with you. However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything. He will remind you of everything that I have ever told you. “I’m leaving you peace. I’m giving you my peace. I don’t give you the kind of peace that the world gives. So don’t be troubled or cowardly.” John 14:25-27
His peace is the true peace. It is the peace you carry inside you. It is the peace of knowing that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, teaching, guiding, and protecting you. His peace is with you during times of conflict not just between conflicts and wars.
Do you have the peace which passes all understanding? Philippians 4:7
MUSING – March 31 2018
Later Joseph from the city of Arimathea asked Pilate to let him remove Jesus’ body. (Joseph was a disciple of Jesus but secretly because he was afraid of the Jews). Pilate gave him permission to remove Jesus’ body. So Joseph removed it. Nicodemus, the one who had first come to Jesus at night, went with Joseph and brought 75 pounds of a myrrh and aloe mixture. These two men took the body of Jesus and bound it with strips of linen. They laced the strips with spices. This was the Jewish custom for burial.
What is a coward? A person who does not do the right thing at the right time out of fear of difficulty, pain, disgrace, or humiliation. Coward pretty much finished the eleven remaining disciples of Jesus. These men who had lived with him, had followed him, who called him Master and Rabbi, ran and hid. Most had abandoned him between his arrest and the trial. And after the crucifiction not one of them came to claim the body of the man who had called them friends.
Joseph was a good man, a godly man, and a believer in the teachings of Jesus. He believed that Jesus was the the long awaited Messiah, the saviour. But he kept it a secret because here was afraid.
Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin who visited Jesus one night and said, “Rabbi, we know that God has sent you as a teacher. No one can perform the miracles you perform unless God is with him.” But he had more questions and doubts.
Jesus said to him, “If you don’t believe me when I tell you about things on earth, how will you believe me when I tell you about things in heaven?”
Nicodemus, respected Jesus’ teachings but came only at night when his friends and and co-workers would not see him. He was afraid of what others might say it do.
So now two men, cowards in their own ways, claimed the body, prepared it for burial, and placed it in a tomb.
All of these men had at least some belief in this man who was executed, But they didn’t yet have resurrection belief.
Are you willing to proclaim your belief in Jesus the Christ? Or are you afraid?
© 2018 Thomas E. Williams