Friday, September 6, 2013

Ӝ Meditations on Jesus’ Exposition of Kingdom/Gospel Life (Matt. 5-7)

Matthew 6:24-34
- Matthew 6:28-30
The literary images which Jesus uses in this passage are so rich with foundational truth.  When describing the caring ways of the Father to his disciples, Jesus points to one of the most transient of His creations: a flower.  He explains that even the care of this minute part of creation - that flowers such as the lily grow and are clothed in glory - is a direct work of the Father.  The Father is personally responsible for the growth and beauty of the flowers of the field.  Yet, the grass withers and the flower fades; “when the wind has passed over it, it is no more” (Psalm 103:16a). It says again in Isaiah, “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass” (Isaiah 40:6b-7).  I see two main concepts in this imagery.
First and most important, the Father is really serious about caring for His creation; “He opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing” (Psalm 145:15b).  And more than He is the master Gardener who sees to the health of the smallest and weakest living thing, He is the perfect Father who never fails in always providing for the needs of His children and whose desire it is that they  grow in His abundant life and are clothed in the beautiful glory He has given to them.  This is His glorious purpose for the one creature He calls Beloved, to whom He imparted His very life source, His being, into their existence; they were made to breathe him in and breathe him out; yes, even be in Him.  And He purposed in His good pleasure, according to the counsel of His will that their spirits would be the place of His rest.  Those who allow worry to infect their thinking and influence their actions do not see the Father as He really is and, therefore, do not understand what His purpose is in them, what His position is towards them.

Second, I believe another reality Jesus is displaying by using the image of a flower is the transience of human life here on earth.  Not only does it contradict the reality of God’s Fatherhood to worry, it also works directly against God’s design for mankind.  Jesus is challenging the perverted way of thinking that recognizes needs as the justification for worry.  He is saying that worry is a form of perversion to which we succumb when we are not living in the light of divine reality.  Needs should not inspire selfishness and the frantic struggle to survive; in fact, they are the indicators of our utter reliance upon the Father, not only for physical things but for everything.  And in the light of that complete dependence we rejoice, for just as we are utterly dependent, poor in spirit, we are fully believing in His faithfulness to give us the Kingdom because the truth is that “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (1 Peter 1:3). So, reality is in Jesus; in order to live in truth you have to abide in Jesus.  Those who are outside of truth, living in the system of darkness spend all of their days declining in the wrath of God, finishing their years like a sigh (Psalm 90:9).  Their lives are ravaged by worry and every other kind of demonic presence because they are enslaved to a government of sin.  Jesus is calling people out of that system and into the Kingdom of His rule, identifying those patterns of thoughts - worry in this case - which are altogether foreign and contradictory to the Divine rule of heaven.