Tag Archives: cost

Matthew 14 – John, Jesus, & Peter

It’s quite the statement when someone who kills you, hears about the Son of God doing amazing things and preaching & teaching, and thinks it is you risen from the dead.  Not that John the Baptist would really appreciate the irony of the situation so much.  But it certainly does make a statement.

This chapter focuses the mental camera on Jesus, the Christ,  by panning through John, Jesus, and Peter.  Attention is brought to the fate of John the Baptist, who must decrease while He (Christ) must increase… decrease is right.  Herod, who had arrested him for speaking out against him, had been keeping John alive in prison because he was struck by what John said, and Herod would bring him out to listen to him from time to time.  However, Herodias, Herod’s wife who did not like John speaking against her, had wanted John dead, but Herod was unwilling to do it.  So on Herod’s birthday, Herodius’ daughter, Salome, danced for him.  He offers her whatever she wants, she asks for the head of John the Baptist on a platter, and as much as he doesn’t want to do it, he does it to fulfill his promise before his guests.

So Jesus, in mourning, goes to a secluded place to find rest / peace, but He finds none.  The crowds arrive there before He does.  Even in mourning, He still minister’s and leads.  Then He feeds the crowds… or at least He blesses the food and tells the disciples to feed the people.  As a result, 5,000 are fed from five small loaves and two fish.  Afterwards He sends the disciples away in a boat, and He sends the crowds home.

Finally, there is a storm on the sea, Jesus walks on water, and the disciples see him.  Jesus speaks to the disciples to calm them, and Peter responds with an amazing reaction of faith.  He says, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”  He is finally getting it.  With Christ, and only through Christ (and the Holy Spirit), he will increase.

Who are we to become and at what cost?  John had to decrease for Christ to increase.  As Christ increased, Peter was able to increase as well.  Peter’s increase led to the increase of the church, but eventually he too decreased so that future generations could increase.  What is your role and your purpose in Christ?

Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.

 

P.S. This is my 150th post.

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Exodus 10 – Struggle

If things weren’t deep and passionate before, there is a whole lot of that going on now!  The plagues keep getting more and more intense and powerful, and Pharaoh’s frustration and anger are getting worse and worse.

Pharaoh is doing everything he can to attempt to delay or stop the inevitable, but he just can’t stop YHWH.  I kind of feel bad for the guy.  But at the same time, i know why this is happening, and his involvement / responsibility in it.  It’s kind of like working with troubled youth.  Sometimes the only way they learn is to allow them to learn and understand the consequences of their actions.  Explaining it to them, processing it with them and protecting them from it can only get you so far.  Sometimes you just need to let them see, and until they see they will not understand.

You can see Pharaoh’s will / resolve start to soften in this chapter, but Pharaoh is not a man to change easily or lightly.  Nor is he a man likely to accept defeat.  God continues to harden an already hard heart.  Pharaoh continues to attempt to compromise with God, but the cost of that compromise is much higher than the cost of the original price.

How do you help a man who is so insistent that he wins, that he is willing to destroy himself and everything around him in order to do so?  How do you open the eyes of a man so blinded by his own pride and rebellion that he thinks he can stand against God?  What drives a man to become what you see before you?  Yes, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and yes, God had every right to do that!  But the truth is, He didn’t need to.  Pharaoh was so intent on doing it to himself that he did not need any real help from God.

How do help a man like that?

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Genesis 12 – Cost/Benefit

Well, this is where everything changes.  Abram takes his first steps into a broader world.  This promise that God makes with Abram is an amazing promise.  It requires that Abram simply go.  Go, leave your family, and your country, and your relatives.  Just go where God tells him.  Then because of that simple obedience God will bless him.  It is a huge blessing for not such as huge cost.  It all seems so unreal.

I’ve read this through many times before, but i’ve never really noticed the cost to benefit ratio before.  It’s simply, “Go.  Step out into the unknown.  I will tell you where to go, and I will bless you, and I will make you a great nation.  Just go.”  Now, to some extent, it’s just not that easy.  By going, Abram was making a huge faux pas.  In that time and day, family was everything.  You didn’t leave the nest, you made it bigger.  That’s how cities, nations, and civilizations were born.  There was security in being part of the group.  There was value in the group.  Leaving the larger family as a whole would have been considered foolhardy and dangerous in the least.  Yet, that’s what God asked of Abram.  More than that, that’s what God expected of him.  “Go, and I will bless you.”

We all know how this ends… or rather how this continues.  We all know that this is the first step and the the rest of the Bible is the fulfillment of that promise, but Abram didn’t.   How much more does God ask of us?  His Word (the Bible) is filled with the promises that He makes to us.  The benefit to cost ratio is astronomical!  He simply calls for us to give up our old and crummy life.  To remove the torn and ruined clothes of sin and our selfish desires, and to take on His new, festive clothing of His righteousness.  It’s really a very simple thing.  It’s not so simple to live out, but we aren’t doing it by ourselves.  The benefits we receive when we take the “risk” are astronomical in comparison to the cost.

And the nice things is, all we have to do is “Jump!”

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