Thin or Hand-Tossed?

Who is Jesus to you?  Is He a rescuer who has fought off the enemy to deliver you safely into heaven?  Is He a prude who is always telling you what you can’t do?  Is He a teacher who instructs the noblest of subjects, imparting wisdom?  Is He the coach at the gym, always pushing you to go past the threshold of pain to raise that bar one more time?  Maybe for you, He’s that distant person who never answers the phone when you call?  Within our personal relationship with Christ, He can infuse Himself into any situation and adapt to the needs we have at the time.  Isn’t that why we draw closer to him … because He’s everything all at once?  Maybe that’s why we withdraw from Him as well.  And maybe, that’s the exact reason some people find themselves in a no-holds-barred attack against Him.

“On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

Others said, “He is the Messiah.”

Still others asked, “How can the Messiah come from Galilee?  Does not Scripture say that the Messiah will come from David’s descendants and from Bethlehem, the town where David lived?”  Thus the people were divided because of Jesus. Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him.”

John 7:40-41

The division among believers started before the crucifixion and resurrection even happened.  Everyone had an opinion about what His “title” was; Prophet, Messiah, demon-possessed (John 7:20).  They all had their opinion about what was supposed to be put on His name badge.  After all, what His title was would dictate how much authority He would have.  Although Prophet was an esteemed position within the Jewish culture, is didn’t hold a candle to Messiah.  So they argued about who was right and who was wrong.  They pursued validation of their viewpoint in the scriptures, and the discussion seems to have similarities to a dispute being settled on Judge Judy.

The catholic (little “c” meaning universal) church is supposed to be one of unity … dare I say we are supposed to be “The Body of Christ”.  If we believe in the Son, the Trinity, the resurrection and ascension into heaven, then we’re a part of the body.  It doesn’t matter which part because they are all necessary components making up the whole.  The denominational division that is happening within our culture today serves no benefit, and can arguably be pointed to as a primary catalyst in the decline of new believers in the past few decades.  As a non-believer, who are you supposed to choose?  Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Protestant, Church of Christ and Nazarene to name a few of the options available now.  And there is even Non-Denominational, which ironically has become a denomination of it’s own.  Who is giving the right message?  Who can be trusted?  Where would Jesus go to church if He were walking among us today?  Hmmmmmm…..

Well, if we’re engaging in bickering amongst ourselves within The Body, it’s kind of like punching your foot over and over again.  First of all, why?  How does arguing over what boils down to personal viewpoint prove, or disprove, holiness?  Some churches exercise during service and some dance.  Some consume wafers for the communion while others do unleavened bread; and there are some who don’t partake in communion at all.  Should your baptism be at a lake or in the church?  Should you sprinkle, pour or immerse?  All of these questions point to preferences and rituals that hold no bearing on our ultimate salvation … belief in Christ.  Over the thousands of years that the Bible contains, God’s people experienced all of the different representations that we now see within the denominations.  Maybe it’s time that we, the entire Body of Christ, start representing our Risen Savior in this fallen world and choose to attack the enemy instead of our brothers and sisters.

In my viewpoint, denominations are like pizza.  There are a lot of places where you can get pizza.  Some is from a restaurant, some from the grocery store, some is homemade and some even gets delivered to your house piping hot and ready to eat.  Then there are all of the toppings, crust and sauces to choose from.  The possibilities are more than what I can every try in my lifetime.  Regardless of what your favorite pizza is, it’s still pizza.

“On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”  By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.  Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.”

John 7:37-38

“Let anyone”, not just this group or that group.  “Whoever believes”, not just the ones who do it this way.  “rivers of living water will flow from within them.” was a promise given to everyone.  How much more could we accomplish in this world if we didn’t bicker within the body, and responded to the call from Jesus “come to me”.

 

Read Day 6 Devotion by Scott

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