Updated: Jan 30
On March 30, 1981, a crazed lone gunman fired several gunshots, one of which struck President Ronald Reagan below his armpit, collapsing his lung. Ronald Reagan had only been in office 69 days at that time.
In all the commotion following an American President being in intensive care for emergency surgery, the Secretary of State, Alexander Haig, held a press conference at the White House, announcing the news updates and saying, “I am in control here.”
In case you have forgotten your Political Science teachings, the chain of Presidential succession is: 1. President –> 2. Vice President –> 3. Speaker of the House –> 4. President pro tem of the Senate –> 5. Secretary of State. The list goes up to a planned 17 total, in case of a major disaster happening. Because Vice President George H. W. Bush was not dead, he was in line to succeed Reagan, had Reagan died in the hospital.
While Haig explained his words meant he was running the White House functions until the Vice President arrived, the mocking sarcasm that he immediately faced was akin to, “Who died and left you in charge?”
Haig responded to that criticism by saying, “I know the pecking order.”
Of course, the sarcastic use of those words is based on the very true fact that when people die, then someone becomes responsible for tying up all the loose ends of the dead person’s affairs. While presidents are so special the government has to plan ahead of time for deaths, officially stating who does what and when, normal people usually aren’t that well at planning the future.
Raise your hand if you have ever had to deal with the Probate Court.
<look for raised hands>
My aunt died and left no children or husband to take over her estate. My cousin, who was the eldest child of my aunt’s departed sister (whose husband was also deceased), was chosen to handle the probate requirements for her remaining siblings and their heirs. My aunt had ten sibling, but only she was without issue. My cousin said she would never volunteer to take responsibility for handling such probate requirements again, because getting ten people – all scattered around the country and internationally – to sign legal papers and then mail them back to her was like trying to catch a litter of loose kittens and then get them all to stay put in an open shoe box.
While my cousin said “Never again,” some people like being put in charge.
Remember the hall monitors in school, or the ones told to take names if anyone talked when the teacher had to leave the classroom for a while? They always seemed to beam when given the role of tattle tale.
Future politician or just a political party strategist?
Most people would prefer to just be left alone, without any added responsibility.
In the reading today from Job, we see God finally speak to Job. It took God a while to make Himself known to Job … again. But once God spoke – in a way – God was asking Job, “When did I die and leave you in charge?”
By actually saying, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” God was asking Job, “Who do you think you are to question me?”
In the words of Quick Draw McGraw, God said something like, “I’ll do the thinning around here Job-a Louie.”
and dun you for-get it!
Now Job had been a well-respected rabbi around town. While it isn’t stated clearly to that effect, when God bragged on Job as being, “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil,” we have to be able to see how Job projected himself as a high priest of the best kind. Ordinary Jews saw Job and knew he was righteous, without him having to go around telling people that.
However, when God allowed Satan to paint Job as a sinner, even though Job had done nothing wrong, Job withstood the physical pain better than he withstood the emotional pains of having lost the respect of others he once enjoyed.
Last week, we read how Job cried out that if God would just come hear his complaints, then God (who Knows All) could confirm to everyone that Job had done no sins. Even if the pain of the sores remained, Job wanted God to at least tell everyone he had not sinned to be that way.
Now we hear God tell Job, “Gird up your loins like a man.”
The esoteric meaning of “gird your loins” is “to surround yourself with strength.” While Job was male, we should not think that God would never tell a female Apostle the same thing. That is because “like a man” is not a mortal gender thing. “Like a man” means “focus on the Y-factor of Spirituality.” In Job’s case it meant, “You have the Holy Spirit within you, so feel that power encircling you!”
Apostles all have their loins girded by God, the Father’s Holy Spirit, so they are “like Jesus.” Jesus was a mortal male, but he was girded as “THE man” … the Christ. The Son of Man.
Christians who find themselves bellyaching like Job can then expect God’s voice to say to them, “Tighten up your waistband and be like Jesus.”
That makes sense when we realize Paul wrote to the Hebrew-speaking Jews (Jews for Jesus), saying, “Christ did not glorify himself in becoming a high priest.” That means Jesus did not walk around wearing high hats, carrying a grandiose crosier, with an entourage surrounding him that acted like a cross between Barack Obama Secret Service “red & blue light” escorts and Pope Francis in the Pope-mobile or his little black Fiat.
From this, one can get a real sense how Job was crying more for his lost ranking, as a high priest, than he was for his having been wrongly accused of having sinned – which he knew he had not.
When we read Paul quoting from two Psalms prophesying about Jesus, it is easy to miss David seeing those songs as relative to his relationship with God. God had said the same things to Job, in essence, because God bragged about him like a son and like a high priest:
“You are my son, today I have become your Father.” (Psalm 2:7)
“You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Psalm 110:4)
All Apostles – those truly filled with God’s Holy Spirit – become Spiritual (Y-factor) more than worldly, thus they are elevated as God’s Son (as Jesus reborn). This is regardless of one’s mortal gender, so Esther acted from Spiritual piety, not human wiles.
God is thus the true Father of those whom He has born as Jesus, taking His seat in His bride’s heart (the X-factor mortal), begetting a new duplicate Apostle (Jesus reborn).
Once God enters into one’s heart, that eternal soul is rejoined with its eternal source, becoming the priest one was always intended to become … forever. Thus, an Apostle assumes the duty of leading souls to the gateway of Eden, so they can become worthy of climbing the stairway to Heaven.
Once you see that Jesus did not “glorify himself in becoming a high priest,” it is easier to understand why Jesus would ask James and John of Zebedee, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” [Mark 10:38]
Although Jesus would forever make the passing of a cup at his last Passover Seder meal a repeated symbolic gesture in the Eucharist ceremonies in Christian churches; and although Christian churches would forever make baptism by water [including Christening] another repeated symbolic gesture; AND with those two “Sacraments” symbolically denoting consecration, dedication and devotion as sacred and holy [“Sacrament” coming from the Latin word sacramentum, rooted in sacer], the point Jesus made to James and John [Mark] was this:
YOU cannot drink the blood of Christ from a physical cup and You cannot be physically covered in God’s Holy Spirit by bathing in the same water as Jesus of Nazareth.
You cannot be to the side – left or right – and feel Jesus Christ in your veins, knowing God is in your heart – as God was in Jesus of Nazareth – filling Jesus with the Holy Spirit and all the powers that presence of God brought him.
The fact that “the ten … began to be angry with James and John” meant they all wanted to have special recognition, as they were all willing to do whatever Jesus told them to do … including drinking from his cup and being baptized in the River Jordan [although that particular water Jesus stood in had long ago flowed downstream].
They all wanted [in the words of Paul’s epistle to the Jews of Rome, who were Christians], “to be glorified as those closest to a Temple-born-like high priest,” with all the special recognition that came with that.
They wanted what Job felt he had lost: respect. And, the disciples probably wanted some of the perks that came with that too.
The disciples still could not shake themselves out of their culturally bred minds, thinking how respect went hand-in-hand with one’s personal wealth and power … like that rich, young Pharisee had – the one Jesus had just sent away grieving. The disciples thought the Pharisee’s wealth was due to God rewarding him for all the legal memorizing he had done; AND they were okay with that.
We still cater to such views of outward appearances: Clothes make the man; Express your love with a diamond; and the Face of success.
By being seated to the left and right of Jesus, James and John would be KNOWN as close associates of Jesus. Thus, they would be “glorified by association;” and that is what angered the other ten, as they were equally associated with Jesus of Nazareth.
For that reason, Jesus told his whole group of followers, “You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them.”
Can you hear Jesus speaking to us through those words? Are we not Gentiles, since we certainly are not Jews for Jesus, with few of us literate in Hebrew?
We Americans love to gaze out at the world and point out the tyrants – Saddam Hussain, Muammar Gaddafi, Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin (to name a few past and present). However, we fail to look at ourselves and see how many within our present society would judge George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama the same way … with hatred … seen as tyrants.
The candidates lining up for the 2016 election, from both parties, are casting insults and condemnations on anyone who would dare keep him or her from being Top Lord. They make promises that sound like, “When I am tyrant, I will ___ …”
I would build a great wall and Mexico is going to pay for it!!!
Fill in the blank, because it is like giving whoever wins a blank power check, signed by your vote.
We Americans here today … us Christians … love to see the principles of our nation as identifying the USA as being of Christian birth. We love to have the motto on our money “In God We Trust.” We love that the Pledge of Allegiance says, “One nation under God.” Those words defend our wealth and success as having been granted by Divine Providence, so we believe we are led by Christ to bring the world peace, security – and above all – Democracy.
We take great pride in our system that has largely become a two-party government – Democrats and Republicans. Although not shown by past presidential elections, we allow other parties to gather and elect candidates too. Bernie Sanders, for example, is a leader of the American Socialist Party.
Only a real Socialist would take his new [first] wife [Deborah Shilling] to honeymoon in Moscow (1964).
Still, we divide all the parties into the left and the right. Those to the “far left” and “far right” are said to be “extreme,” while those closer to center are “moderate.”
In essence, we pretend our politicians sit beside Christ, as those who love the glory of speaking for Jesus:
“Jesus would have us tax the rich and give to the poor!” say those on the left side of Christ.
“Jesus would have us protect the middle class so they can become rich and give jobs to the poor!” say those on the right side of Christ.
“Jesus would have us provide free health care for women through Planned Parenthood!” say those on the left side.
“Jesus would have us cease funding all organizations that provide abortions as a business!” say those on the right side.
“Jesus would have us stand by and allow the people of other nations to rebel against tyranny!” say the left.
“Jesus would have us send our military in to protect the poor downtrodden of foreign tyrants!” say the right.
Can you see how both sides of American politics represent typical “lording over” philosophies – US vs. THEM [just like the disciples of Jesus became divided when two tried to gain more authority than the ten]? Is this not our Gentile nature showing?
What difference does it make at this point?!?!
If America were to ever be a Christian nation, it would become a nation of 300-million human beings ALL filled with the Holy Spirit. ALL Americans would then be Apostles girding their loins like Y-factor men, with no time for anyone to volunteer to play government. We would be changed to a Royal Christian Theocracy. Christ would be our King and we his Knights and Ladies.
Why don’t citizens jump for joy when they get an opportunity like this to serve?
Most likely, if a miracle like that ever happened, some well-armed foreign tyrant would try to take advantage of our nation. All the peace and love here would project as a seeming lack of concern about international matters. Some might try to invade us, only to find out how the power of God protects us.
God would lead those against us to their own defeats, by their own weapons. Through their own self-defeats, perhaps they would see the power of true Christianity and willingly convert, so true Christians could teach them the truth. True Christian Theocracies could then spread around the whole planet.
Unfortunately, IF we became a nation where there were only 100-million true Christians (a third of the population), without a majority to take control of the whole, everything would be like it already is. The same false leaders who seek our votes today, those parading as possessing Christian values, they would drop much of that pretense and cater more to the majority. Promises would be made to Christians, much like promises are made to illegal immigrants now … to gain a majority of an important “voting bloc” of citizens.
In the end, the same human beings would rise to lord over us – making the United States of America a reflection of the Gentile way Israel and Judah had become, under their corrupted rulers.
Just as God-fearing Jews were persecuted by the likes of Ahab, his queen Jezebel, and Hezekiah (et al), we would face more Constitutional challenges and new laws supported by the Supreme Court, forcing Christian Americans to modify their moral standards or forfeit their rights as citizens. They would, in essence, kill all the priests, sending the high priests hiding in caves, calling out for the Lord’s help.
After all, true Christians are meant to be servants, not rulers. We would be forced to speak out against all injustices, as did Jesus; but we would all be expected to be punished because of our faith. That would mean never running for political office … as if that would ever cure the evil disease politics is.
Thus, “whoever wishes to be first among us must be the slave of all.” A truly Christian government would be one where a name was randomly picked from a name pool, with the “winner” publicly apologizing for having to take on such a demeaning role. Still, that leadership would make the government slave for the people, rather than the way it is now.
Jesus then continued, saying, “For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
May I take your order?
The Greek word translated as “ransom” is “lytron.” It means, “as an offering of expiation or atonement.” Its truest meaning in the context says Jesus came as payment to free slaves … the many who will always find themselves the slaves of governments and religions.
YOU become the same slave, when the Son of Man becomes you. YOU become one of the many Jesus has freed, those who have received the gift of his life … when you sacrifice of yourself and allow God’s Holy Spirit to transform you with the Mind of Christ.
That can only happen when you stop trying to sit on the side of Jesus, pretending to have all the glory, all the piety of one who associates with Christ … on Sundays … some Sundays.
One who then uses that pretense to support political agendas the rest of the week, for the satisfaction of a sense of self-righteousness, at the expense of others who believe they sit on the opposite side of Christ.
You must become a reborn Jesus, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, eternally drinking from the same cup of sacred vitality, forever immersed in the same baptism of the Holy Spirit.
Anything less is just business as usual … darkened counsel without knowledge.
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