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Big Jesus wins award for the 'best community entry' in the parade.
We had a unique perspective on Jesus, His fame and renown. If the crowds were silenced even the stones would have cried out to Him. This must be what it was like for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, re-enacted for the benefit of his LGBT people... What does this say for us and for Him?
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Extracts from Jim’s Preach 'The Story of the 5 Friends'
The 5 friends are introduced as…Job, Eliphaz, Bildad Zophar and Elihu…
In the Book of Job it says ‘In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he revered God and shunned evil.’
Job had faith and was seen as righteous in the eyes of God.
But Job’s 4 friends didn’t see him as such they just saw an ordinary bloke. A disaster hit Job’s life. All his family except his wife were killed and all his property destroyed.
To top it all Job had got a terrible skin disease and was in so much pain he couldn’t get out of bed. And then, the story tells us, his 4 friends came to visit.
As was common in the ancient Middle East and as is common in some church circles today, 3 of his friends blamed Job’s terrible circumstances upon his sin. They told him it was all because of some sin in his life. They said God was cursing him.
Job argued that he had done nothing to deserve everything that had happened. They argued. The friends pointed to how bad Job was and Job pointed out how good he was.
Job knew he was a good man and didn’t understand why God would let a good man suffer. He wanted to justify himself and question God.
And then the 5th friend Elihu put his two penny worth in. Elihu says Job should stop boasting how good he is because only God can judge such a thing. Elihu says Job should turn from his attitude of moral superiority, which gives him the power to make judgements because God alone is the Judge.
Job had boasted he would tell God he had got it wrong in allowing him to suffer.
‘I will surely defend my ways to His face. I have prepared my case, I know I will be declared innocent. Can anyone bring charges against me?... How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offence and my sin. (Job 13)
Elihu pointed out the arrogance in Job's thinking. Pride and arrogance came from Job’s self righteousness and made Job think he could justify himself before God. Elihu declares the virtues of God and points Job to His greatness and majesty, His justice and mercy, His wisdom and righteousness. Elihu tells Job what God is like.
It was at this point that God Himself spoke to Job. Job was stunned into silence as his eyes were opened to the awesome supremacy of God in all things. Job was in awe. His pride, his arrogance, his self-righteousness were all in pieces as he became aware of the immensity of God.
At the end of God’s words, Job, realised his foolishness, said:
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that darkens my purpose without knowing?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. My ears had heard of you but NOW my eyes have seen you.
For Job the darkness had lifted.
The bible is made from paper and paper comes from trees. Spiritually there are 2 trees that make up the bible: the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil and the Tree Of Life
When most of us became Christians we were offered what I call the Morality Gospel. We were presented with a Jesus of moral excellence and were told ‘be like Jesus, imitate Jesus, copy Jesus and you’ll be in the blessing of God, you’ll be good, you’ll be Christ like.’ Christ is like God.
But that was what went wrong right at the beginning of humanity: Our forefathers ate the fruit of the Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil as they believed it would make them like God.
All our own efforts to make ourselves good are signs of operating from Knowledge Of Good And Evil living our lives according to the wrong tree.
The Tree Of Life represents the life that comes directly from Jesus. The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil represents religious law (Biblical law) all the do’s and don’ts we think are needed to please God. Biblical law tells you what is good or evil, right and wrong. It gives you the ability to judge. This tree is the Tree Of Judgement.
Paul said, Law gives us knowledge (Ro 3:20 ) and knowledge gives us pride (1Co 8:1) Paul also said that the law brought death (Ro 8:2). Thick darkness was there at the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai and there’s no darkness thicker than death.
Religious Law (Biblical law) brings the ability to Judge and like the four friends the Church is known for its judgementalism and self righteousness.
The 5th friend Elihu was God focused not sin focused. Job was full of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, the morality of religious law, he made the forbidden judgement that came from the forbidden fruit… he judged God.
That’s why God said never eat from The Tree Of Knowledge Of Good And Evil because it would lead to humanity judging God. That would make us human beings think we are wiser than God. Once we think we are above God our close relationship of total trust is destroyed. Loosing that close connection meant loosing life, ‘zoe life’, God life, in us.
But God had an answer to all this in His Son Jesus. Jesus is the Tree Of Life. Feeding upon Jesus restores the connection with God and the flow of spiritual life through our whole being. Let that life flow. Then we can go to others and be none judgemental but be truly like Christ when He said ‘I have not come to condemn the world but to save it’ John 3:17.
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