In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)
Earlier this week, HarperOne (which is owned by HarperCollins, the parent company of Zondervan) published a 416-page book by Bart Ehrman entitled "How Jesus Became God- The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee". In his book, Ehrman expands upon many of the same arguments that critics have been exercising for the past century or more:
Movieguide.org recently released their 2014 annual report and made the observation that for the first time in their 22-years of reporting, religious, family-friendly, and patriotic movies made up nine of the top ten grossing movies in 2013. They found the top movies with faith-centered themes of redemption earned over 400% more on average than those with a non-Christian worldview. It would seem that Hollywood has taken note and they're beginning to deliver more of what Christians want.
Or are they?
The Atlantic ran an incredible 28-photo presentation of the 2013 Powerhouse Fire in California's Angeles National Forest. The article, entitled The Terrible Beauty of California's Powerhouse Fire, included this image:
Without these powerful reminders from the creation, we can really lose sight of the significance and weight of the words of Scripture that describe the Creator:
Messiah Yeshua is prophet (Matthew 21:11), priest (Hebrews 3:1), and king (Matthew 2:2).
The book of Hebrews tells us that He served as our great high priest in the order of Melchizedek to "offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins" (Hebrews 5:1). We know He is a priest because He offered up one sacrifice for sins for all time (Hebrews 10:12) and intercedes with G-d on behalf of humanity (1 Timothy 2:5). That is the very definition of a priest.
The Gospels (e.g. Matthew 27:11, 27:37) tell us that Messiah is the King of the Jews. We know He is their King because He laid down His life for them... and for all who belong to Him. (John 10:11, 15, Matthew 27:11) When He returns, He will reign over all the world. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess He is Lord. (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:10)
But in what way is Messiah a prophet?
Tuesday morning. 7:20AM.
Traffic is really backed up on the off-ramp today.
Cars take turns: one car exits and one car enters and one car exits— until Red Suburban Man.
I exit... well, try to exit.
Red Suburban Man wants to skip common courtesy and
HEY! YOU ALMOST RAN INTO MY NEW CAR, YOU JERK!
My new car honks to let Red Suburban Man know his social skills need improvement.
A window rolls down and Red Suburban Man gives me two small gifts: the bird and a loud "F--- YOU!"
Like a scene from The Matrix, time... slows... to a sudden... crawl...
April 22 is Earth Day. According to the EarthDay.org website, "Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities. Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in our campaigns every year."
Sometimes people confuse Earth Day and the environmental movement with tikkun olam [תיקון עולם]. Tikkun olam is a Hebrew phrase that means "repairing the world" or "healing the world". While it can potentially include environmental considerations, Judaism primarily teaches this concept as a shared responsibility to take social action and pursue social justice.
So... Earth Day... Tikkun Olam... social justice...
How should a believer understand these ideas and act on them? What did Messiah say about these things? Let's start at the beginning:
"Fourteen hundred dollars?!? Where am I going to get fourteen hundred dollars? This stupid software was supposed to make sure you got a big fat refund on your taxes not a giant bill!"
"What if I just... fudged some of the numbers a bit?", he thought out loud. Jerry glanced around to see if his wife or kids had heard him. No? Good. They usually avoided him while he was doing taxes or paying the bills because he got so irritable.
Hmmm... lower the income levels or raise the taxes paid? No, too obvious. The numbers wouldn't match the W-2. How about his deductions? Hmmm. Maybe the wife had dropped some extra money in the collection tray at church when he wasn't looking. Yeah... that would shift things in his favor a bit.
With a few clicks Jerry adjusted various numbers in his return until he was receiving a small refund. A few more clicks and he was on the "transmit to the IRS" page.
Jerry sat staring at his laptop screen. He was about to lie on his taxes. "It's only a few hundred dollars." he thought to himself. "The Feds will never notice it. It's not like I'm Bernie Madoff ripping off people for millions."
Jerry sat thinking for another few moments and then reached for the mouse...