Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Take a Close Look

“He had the disciples take the donkey without first asking the owner's permission. The owner agreed to it in the story, but still; try something like that in real life. Unless you've got a pre-arranged deal with someone, to just up and take something of theirs without asking permission first is the textbook definition of stealing.”

Take a close look at Jesus Christ and see if you can find any sin in Him. You won’t. He was morally perfect. The above is about the best anyone can do, along with He disobeyed His parents, or He lost His temper when He cleared the temple.

Let’s deal with those three. The donkey. We have two accounts, one in Mark 11:1-6 and the other in Luke 19:29-35. Jesus told His disciples to go and get the donkey, and as they were untying him someone asked what they were doing, and they said what Jesus told them to say: “The Lord has need of him.” Here’s what any skeptic will find hard to swallow. The Lord Jesus Christ owned that donkey. He created every hair on its little head (see John 1:3 and Colossians 1:16), and you can’t steal what you own. The temporal “owner” was in reality just taking care of it for Him.

How incredible to think that the Lord had need of a little donkey. But He did. He chose to be carried into Jerusalem on a lowly donkey. God has also chosen lowly creatures like us to carry the Savior to this sinful world. How incredible.

Number two problem--His “disobedience.” In Luke 2:42-49 we are told that His mother and Joseph left Jerusalem “supposing Him to have been in the company.” He wasn’t. It took three days for them to find Him (thank God for cell phones). He was in the temple teaching the elders, as He said, about His “Father’s business.” Any responsible parent would never leave a city “supposing” that their 12 year-old was with them. That was bad parenting, not disobedience.

Multitudes sit in churches “supposing” that Jesus is with them, but they don’t know Him (see Matthew 7:21-23). They are false converts who will be sorted out on Judgment Day. They have never obeyed the command to repent and trust that Savior. That's disobedience.

Number three problem. Jesus lost His temper when He cleared the temple. The incident is recorded in all four Gospels. Here it is from John 2:14-16: “And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting. And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; and said to them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house a house of merchandise.” The other three accounts give us a fuller picture. He also said, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.”

There is no loss of temper here. What He did was deliberate and premeditated. He took the time to make a whip of small cords, then He cleared the temple of the money-hungry televangelists of His day. That should make any skeptic jump for joy. It does me.

There is another temple that should be a house of prayer, but is instead a den of thieves. God created us to be temples of His Holy Spirit, but we are instead inhabited by him who came to kill, steal and destroy. Mr. Skeptic, let the ten cords of the whip of God's Law drive sin from your own money-hungry heart, and become a man of prayer instead of a finger pointing skeptic.

I dare you. Study Jesus of Nazareth up close and personal. He is squeaky clean. He is morally perfect. I would never say that about any other human being, because there has never been one like Him. Jesus was God manifest in the flesh: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).