Sunday 11th July 2021

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So, this weekend we are displaying 100 jokes to celebrate 100 years! Humour is something uniquely human, while some animals can sound as though they are laughing, and some even look as though they are laughing, only humans have a sense of humour. It is one of the characteristics which make us stand-out from the rest of creation, so we can say it is one of the characteristics that makes us ‘made in the image of God.’

Most of the jokes on display this weekend involve a play on a words, which also give us a funny image to picture in our minds. In both the Old and New Testaments in their original languages we see numerous occasions of word-play, but it is in the preaching of Jesus that are clearly given some funny pictures to imagine. Read: Luke 6: 39-49

Jesus gives us four humorous pictures to help us gain a better understanding of what our lives should look like, or shouldn’t look like when God is our King - when we live in God’s kingdom, letting him sets the rules.

The first of the pictures Jesus describes isn’t laughing at people’s disability, it is warning that people who haven’t seen the kingdom of God can’t help us to enter into God’s presence. People can only lead us to places they have seen, so if we spend our time and energy listening to those who themselves don’t know God and have never seen his kingdom, then how can we ever expect to know God and enjoy being in his kingdom.

The next picture continues with the idea of not seeing clearly. Notice that both of these people have the same problem, some wood in their eye, but one has a much bigger problem that the other. It is the one with the bigger problem who is offering to help the other person get rid of their problem. Modern psychology calls this ‘projection’ - the person knows there is something wrong with their own life, but avoids dealing with the problem by instead pointing out the same, but smaller problem in someone else’s life. Jesus is saying that rather than pointing out things which are stopping another people from clearly seeing and his kingdom, we need to let God deal with anything which is stopping us from clearly seeing him.

The next picture Jesus gives us, shows us how God wants to enable us to see him clearly. Jesus talks about plants and the fruit they produce. You don’t have to be a gardener to know the truth he wants us to grasp. We all know that apples are found on apple trees not on a prickly Hawthorne bush. Jesus says we will know if a person has God as their king because we will see characteristics of God in their lives – grace, mercy and love. Their lives will produce ‘good fruit.’ These qualities come from what is at the very core of our being - what we usually refer to as in our heart and if we ask Jesus, if we trust him, he will give us a new heart. A heart out of which will grow good fruit and show other people what God is like.

Jesus then summarises what he is saying by giving us another picture – today we could imagine it as an episode of ‘Grand Designs’ with Kevin McCloud voicing the story. We don’t need to be skilled craftsmen to know the importance of foundations. Jesus uses this story to point out that living with God as our king will give us a firm foundation on which to build our lives. A life which won’t crumble as soon as any difficulty comes along, but more than that, it will give meaning to our lives so that we aren’t aimlessly following other ‘blind’ people and give us a life where we aren’t always looking for other people’s faults but allow God to remove any ‘planks’ from our eyes.

Recently, on a number of occasions, I have mentioned the phrase ‘foundations of our faith’, most often in connection with the messages Simon-Peter preached. He highlighted that Jesus is the one who God has anointed / appointed to be our Saviour, the anointed one (Messiah or Christ).  He further preached that Christ has died for our sins and then God raised Christ to life again, showing his power over sin and his right to say that our sins are forgiven. and that one day Christ will come again and take us to spend forever with God.These facts are the foundations which will give our lives stability and purpose enabling us to be citizens of God’s kingdom and live our lives by the rules of God our King.

Use the words of this hymn to lead you into a time of prayer:

King of kings, majesty, God of heaven living in me,

gentle Saviour, closest friend, strong deliverer, beginning and end,

all within me falls at your throne.

Your majesty, I can but bow. I lay my all before you now.

In royal robes I don't deserve I live to serve your majesty.

© 1996 Jarrod Cooper


Page last updated: 18th July 2021 6:06 AM