Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Pondering: Greater Love

Don’t you love it when you are watching a TV show, and out of blue, and out of context, the characters begin to spout “bible verses”? It’s weird, almost like the writers wanted to throw them in to add validity to the program. I was watching a police drama called “Bluebloods”, it centers on an Irish American family, who have a tradition of serving their community as policemen and lawyers. They seem to be religious, they practice Catholicism. This particular story centers around a series of “vigilante type of murders”, and one of the main characters is interrogating a suspect. Apparently the suspect is admitting to the killings and to justify himself he quotes these verses in Exodus 21:24…an eye for an eye. After which the main character spouts off Proverbs 22:23 “For the Lord will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.” This is some pretty heady stuff right? 
Plunder meaning steal goods from (a place or person), typically using force and in a time of war or civil disorder.   I looked up those scripture to make sure they were quoting them right and insure relevance (What…someone has to do it)

Have you pondered the “language” of these verses? Contrary to what we have assumed, a language is not the dialect we speak, nor is it French or English, etc. Language is words that form into legal precedence, such as contracts, or in scripture, words that have become promises, covenants, even curses. There is a theme, a pattern and a future purpose of the words in these verses. The language in theses verses seem to attribute to the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The context of the verse is a law and that if two men are fighting and a pregnant woman happens to be in the fray, maybe she is trying to stop the fight. And she is injured and it cause’s her to miscarry the baby the retribution is this:  
Exodus 21:23-24
23 And if any mischief follows, then thou shall give life for life,
 24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
 25 Burning for burning wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

When I think of vengeance in its worst form, I think about “The Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s”, who according to lore, started an epic family feud because of a pig, and later because of sons and daughters dating on the wrong side of the family tree. This type of vengeance seems to be fueled by “eye for an eye”, and “righteous indignation”. The perpetrators are usually the family of the victim. In Deuteronomy 32:35 Jehovah (Jesus) declares that vengeance is rightfully His. Although He is not the victim, in some future time He will stand in for the victim and become the propitiation that is being punished. He will suffer the wrath of Heavenly Father against all past, present and future wrongs. He will give his life, which is his body and soul, to be retribution. In Deuteronomy 35 he declares Himself the avenger and the one who makes the payment of retribution.   
"Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Deuteronomy 32:35

35 Vengeance is Mine, and recompense;
their foot shall slip in due time;
for the day of their calamity is at hand,
and the things to come hasten upon them.’

But, in Matthew 5:38-48 Jesus further extrapolates the theology behind Deut. 35, he says….
“You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
Does that sound like he is trying to take away the “sting” of vengeance? Can you find his admonition to “love thy neighbor” in these verses? Jesus said “Vengeance is mine or vengeance is mine to bear, and I will also repay for the wrongs committed. What do I really know about the Savior's his atoning sacrifice? Do I know what those words mean?  In Isaiah, the Lord speaks to us, he gives us a glimpse into his mindset 

Isaiah 50:6

I gave My back to those who struck Me,
And My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard;
I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.

In Isaiah 50, he gave his cheeks to have his beard plucked out. I have never really considered what it means to pluck, until I thought about how a chicken’s feathers are “plucked” out of their skin.(It's pretty brutal). In Matthew 26:67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists; and others slapped him. There he is true to his word to offer his face for slapping, his body for beating.  He was beaten with whips and sticks, as he was struggling to drag a heavy portion of lumber of what would be his "cross" through the town.People screamed at him; hit him, spit at him. Wow how humiliating. I don’t know if I have ever been humiliated in these terms in my life, have you? I don’t know if I could bear it.
Doctrine & Covenants 19:16-18……….For behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all that they might not suffer if they would repent; Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit…
Speaking of the extent of the suffering required of Christ, President Joseph Fielding Smith said: “We cannot comprehend the great suffering that the Lord had to take upon himself to bring to pass this redemption from death and from sin. …“We get into the habit of thinking, I suppose, that his great suffering was when he was nailed to the cross by his hands and his feet and was left there to suffer until he died. As excruciating as that pain was, that was not the greatest suffering that he had to undergo, for in some way which I cannot understand, but which I accept on faith, and which you must accept on faith, he carried on his back the burden of the sins of the whole world. It is hard enough for me to carry my own sins. How is it with you? And yet he had to carry the sins of the whole world, as our Savior and the Redeemer of a fallen world, and so great was his suffering before he ever went to the cross, we are informed, that blood oozed from the pores of his body.” (In Conference Report, Oct. 1947, pp. 147–48.)
Lately, the Lord has put on my own heart, to ponder just what it means to be called a son or daughter of God. We are bought with a price, an awful price of blood, sweat and tears. You could say, "Well let's not dwell on the ugliness, let's move on to the victory, the resurrection, the ascension." Are we like Thomas, who loved Jesus with all of his heart, but could not bear the "realness" of his sacrifice, much less his death. But Jesus loved him anyway, and sought him out, and bid him to touch the wounds. One day we will too.

New music Tuesday y'all, Sidewalk Prophets "YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY" It's a sing a long too, the words at the bottom of the page.  

Sidewalk Prophets - You Love Me Anyway (Official Video)

The question was raised
As my conscience fell
A silly, little lie
It didn't mean much
But it lingers still
In the corners of my mind

Still you call me to walk
On the edge of this world
To spread my dreams and fly
But the future's so far
My heart is so frail
I think I'd rather stay inside

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
How You love me

It took more than my strength
To simply be still
To seek but never find
All the reasons we change
The reasons I doubt
And why do loved ones have to die?
But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas' kiss
But You love me anyway

See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then, I turned away with a smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night, I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

But You love me anyway
It's like nothing in life that I've ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh Lord, how You love me
You love me, yes You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

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