Anger May Be An Appropriate Response

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. (John 11:33)

The word translated “deeply moved” contains the sense of a brimming over and the word translated “troubled” is a hard word more akin to anger.  Jesus wept shortly afterwards.  The context is the death of His good friend Lazarus.

As a church we recently experienced to loss of a seven year old who had fought cancer for years and finally died of complications arising from the struggle and treatment.  All sorts of emotions arise when you attend a funeral like that.  Anger at God might be one of them.  But being angry with (i.e. in company with) God might be a better way of seeing it.  Jesus is God and He was angry too in similar circumstances.

So what troubled him so much that he brimmed over, wept and was angry?  He knew what He was about to do.  And it wasn’t too long before that He had told Martha that amazing truth:

” I am the Resurrection and the Life, he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.”

So it wasn’t the death so much as the distress caused by the death that was the issue for Jesus.  All that terrible consequence of the fall of Adam.  Perhaps He was also thinking of what He had to go through to finally put an end to death.

So, anger is not a wrong emotion to feel at such times.  Jesus felt it so there is no good reason why you shouldn’t also.

Seeds and Trees

Of all the things a man may see, few are as beautiful as a tree.  It is an astonishing creation.

First of all there is the seed.  A seed of a birch tree contains the program to grow a birch tree, an acorn contains the program to grow an oak, a beech nut to grow a beech, etc.  Unless a seed falls into the ground and “dies” it remains dormant, dead and lifeless.  Such a contradiction, a seed must die to create life.  A seetreed is a self replicating programmed machine that has a battery (or inbuilt food supply), sensors and two separate growth mechanisms.  The sensors detect the conditions around the seed and when the soil conditions are exactly right (heat, humidity and possibly substance) it starts its self destruct sequence.  The root contains sensors to detect gravity and it uses the food supply to grow downwards.  The shoot contains sensors to detect light and it uses the food supply to grow upwards.  Once the root detects water it moves towards it and starts passing it and muck/ minerals up to the shoot.  The shoot begins to collect sunshine and carbon dioxide combines it with the water and muck and starts to make a tree.  It then no longer needs the battery but has its own power supply which it uses for the rest of its life.  The seed has done its job then and is no longer required.

Jesus said that His word is like a seed (Mark 4, etc.) and like a seed, if it is planted into the right conditions in our heart it produces a shoot.  As we continue to feed the shoot it produces a plant and perhaps a tree of life to others as they begin to eat the fruit of our feeding of that word within us.

God wants to recreate the Garden of Eden in the midst of our souls with the tree of His life in its centre.  Our souls are enormous and all types of things can grow there hidden away in corners or out in the open.  If we feed whatever is pure, whatever is noble, whatever is of good report in our lives and continuously work to remove the weeds of thoughts that so easily fly in from all sorts of angles then we become those who can bless others.

Jesus uses His word of life to make the muck and mess of our lives into something beautiful.

Matters of the heart

Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within you.

Immediately before that in Luke 17 there is a passage about 10 lepers that are healed.  I protested to the Lord about some of this:

11 Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance 13 and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.

15 One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16 He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.

17 Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18 Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

“What is with You here Lord?” I practically shouted out while driving my car to work the other day and listening to an audio bible on my smartphone.  “You told them to go and show themselves to the priests.  They were obeying You and yet You commend the one who doesn’t and reprimand the ones that do what You told them!”  On top of that they were obeying the law also.  What did they do wrong?Sheldon_Cooper

I don’t know if you watch the Big Bang Theory.  I don’t actually, just seen an episode or two (no really).  Well anyway in it there is this character called Sheldon.  He is very bright but has no cop on at all.  He can’t see why the most obvious things are wrong.  No matter what you say to him he will take it up literally and answer according to exactly what you say, truthfully every time (I watch it just to experience the cringes).  When I thought of it, my reaction to that passage was a lot like the way Sheldon might have reacted.

Any child with any sort of manners would think it obvious to give thanks to the one who made him well.  Why didn’t the others respond from their hearts instead of just religion?  Had their religion made them miss the obvious?

Hmm…