Pastor's Pen
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October 23, 2013, 10:02 AM

Words from Rick


 On Being Disillusioned

Are you familiar with the story of John the Baptist, while he was in prison for disapproving of Herod’s marriage to his brother’s wife? While in prison, John sent some of his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” (Matthew 11:2-11)  That has to be one of the most haunting questions in all of Scripture, especially when you consider who is asking it! John has devoted his life to preparing the way of the Lord and making His paths straight. This is the John who was baptizing in the Jordan River when he looked up and saw Jesus standing there, he said, “I need to be baptized by you.” This John was there when the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended like a dove, lighting on Jesus as a voice from heaven said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”   What in all the world happened to John to cause him to ask: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” Well, for one thing, John is in jail. He probably thought that the Messiah was supposed to change things … He was supposed to burn up all the human trash and dead wood of the world. Maybe the Messiah talked more about peace and love and John thought He should have talked more about sin and hell!    There is a book that some have found as quite disturbing called The Last Temptation of Christ, by Nikos Kazantzakis. In it there is a scene where Jesus and John are sitting high above the Jordan on a rock where they have been arguing all night long about what to do with the world. John’s face is hard and decisive. Jesus’ face, by contrast, is tame and hesitant. His eyes are full of compassion. Jesus asks John, “Isn’t love enough?” “No,” John answers angrily. “The tree is rotten. God called me and gave me the ax, which I then placed at the roots of the tree. I did my duty. Now you do yours: Take the ax and strike.”    Now, listen to what Jesus says: “If I were fire, I would burn. If I were a woodcutter, I would strike; but I am a heart, and I love.” To certain and varied degrees, maybe all of us have gone through what John is going through! You want to wake up every morning and be relieved of the burden of not knowing what you are supposed to do next. You want to put your hand under your pillow and find the answer there like a quarter from the tooth fairy, but all you feel is the sheet.   Disillusionment! A professor said that Disillusionment is, literally, the loss of illusion – about ourselves, about the world, about God – and while it is almost always a painful thing, it is never a bad thing, to lose the lies we have mistaken for the truth. The best part of this story from Matthew 11 is what Jesus told John disciples, when He said, “Go and tell John …” Take a look at those marvelous words beginning with verse 4, and remember what Jesus says in Kazantzakis’ story: “I am a heart, and I love.” That’s the Jesus I want to continue to know more of … not the sin and hell stuff! 10.20.2013

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