Jesus told him,“Go and Do Likewise.”

 

 

WHO ARE MY MOTHER AND BROTHERS?

46 While Jesus was still talking to the crowd, His mother and brothers stood outside, wanting to speak to Him. 47 Someone told Him, “Your mother and brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you.” 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to His disciples, He said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:46-50)

WHO IS MY SON?

25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 “What is written in the Law?” He replied. “How do you read it?” 27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” 28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-29)

Jesus answered the expert in law’s question with a parable of a man who was beaten, robbed, and left to die. Three people reacted to the man’s plight—two passing by on either side of the road, one stopping and going the extra mile to provide assistance and healing.

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37)

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My mother is the 85-year-old woman in the nursing home who looks out the window waiting for someone to come;  my brother is the unemployed father of three who stands in line with 500 others hoping for a job; my son is the recently discharged soldier grappling with PTSD and depression; my neighbor is the child fleeing from a country where he is underfed and abused.
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Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family, neighbors. We tend to have a very limited view of family and neighbors. God’s perspective is much larger, broader, and inclusive. The bloodline of family with God is really from Christ, not from our great-great-greats…. down the lineage of personal ancestry. My neighbors are, also, my family, each one created by God.

In every person, I can find a common heritage, a common Savior, a common love. I should not see with eyes that only view similarity; I must, also, look into the differences and find commonality in them. The commonality is from that portion of God’s divine nature imbued in each soul. It is my directive as well to show acceptance, mercy, and love to others who are my “neighbors.” I, too, must “Go and do likewise.”

And what if everyone followed this directive. . .

(Sharon G. Tate 06/11/17 blog)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

 

 

 

 

BROKENNESS Made Whole through Christ

 

 

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.         

(Psalm 34:18)

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BROKEN. Shattered pieces surrounding him. The boy looked down in despair. Where would he start? How could he make it whole again? Dropping to his knees to pick up the bigger pieces first, he began the attempt to form the outer shape. It was like a jigsaw puzzle but with uneven, jagged edges. He sloppily glued the pieces together the best he could until, gradually, piece by piece, a vase was somewhat identifiable. It was his great-grandmother’s vase, a family heirloom. How could he present it to his mother, who cherished the vase? The pieces did not fit as they should. The breaks were visible everywhere.

The boy waited in anxious anticipation, fear, and shame for his mother to come home. When he finally heard the key turn in the lock, he carefully lifted the makeshift object, sighed loudly, and brought it to his mother. Head drooped, he held it out to her. The mother looked intently at her son, reached for the poorly glued shape, carefully inspected it, and then walked over to the stand where the vase had always been, placing it on her mother’s beautiful handmade doily. The boy watched this scene with confusion and fear, still expecting repercussions from his careless act of playing too rough near the vase.

But the mother came to him, held him close, and led him over to the vase. She said the vase was more beautiful with the scars. “It is brokenness,” she said, “that unites us all, from great-grandma to grandma, to me, and now to you. The pieces of our lives may shatter around us, but we get on our knees, try to glue the broken edges back together to continue on in this life, and realize, although the scars still show, that we can be whole through the One who had scars in His hands, feet, side, and body. His brokenness allows us all to be whole inside while carrying with us the scars of life.”

The boy knew his mother was speaking of Jesus. She had taken him to Bible class every Sunday. BROKEN with SCARS. He now realized everyone in Bible class and worship was this way. And the jagged edges and visible breaks were there to remind us that we could never be the Potter who makes the clay into the vessel of a perfect, seamless creation.

Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter;

we are all the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

BROKEN. Scarred. Humble in spirit before the Lord, our Creator and our Redeemer. This is our sacrifice to Him who was broken for us.

 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
You, God, will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

 (Sharon G. Tate 06/04/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Remembrance of Sacrifice: To Give One’s Life

 

 

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13)

 MEMORIAL

Memory

Engraved-

Mindful

Ongoing

Remembrance-

Internal

Abiding

Legacy

Memories memorialized: In deeds. In minds. In hearts. On gravestones.

During this time of year, Memorial Day, when we share a special time as a nation to remember those who served our country, some giving the ultimate sacrifice of their lives and all sacrificing in ways that changed them forever–

 LET US NOT FORGET.

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During every time of year, every month and every day, let us always remember the One who gave the ultimate sacrifice for all humankind. Memorialized in communion on the Lord’s Day, remembered in our words during prayer, thankful for in our hearts when we consider the blessings in our lives, reflected upon in our minds when we realize we are the ones changed forever by His sacrifice, as we can now live eternally with Him–

LET US NEVER FORGET.

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During each and every day, let us remember our duty to sacrifice to God, first and always, and to sacrifice for others.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15)

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.(Hebrews 13:16)

1Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2)

LET US NOT FORGET.

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 (Sharon G. Tate 05/28/17 blog) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

WITH CHRIST: Joy on the Path of Life

You make known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence,

with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)

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The little girl with curly ringlets in her hair walked away from her mother, down the path on her own. A smile swept across the mother’s face, watching her daughter’s baby steps of independence. The expression soon changed to a thoughtful gaze as she envisioned her daughter walking ahead, forward in time–growing up, facing challenges, enduring trials, embracing life, holding another hand, her own baby’s steps leaving footprints ahead. There was joy in the mother’s heart and tears blurred her eyes, as she watched her little girl continue to move ahead of her, down the path. . .

Sadness with joy. It seems contradictory. Most would agree that happiness and joy complement each other, but how can one have sadness and still be joyful?

James says to Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3)  Our characters can be transformed, reshaped, and renewed through such trials, so that we reflect attributes of Christ. The pain of the labor brings forth a new joy. We become more like Him, who took on pain, great suffering, abandonment by God, and our sin so we could live with Him eternally.

 Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (I Peter 1:8-9)

What “glorious joy” it will be when we can see Him!  John wrote to the church family: “I have much to write to you, but I do not want to use paper and ink. Instead, I hope to visit you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.” (2 John 1:12) How complete our joy will be to see Christ, stand in His presence, and talk with Him!

 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

As the mother watches her little girl take baby steps independently down the path ahead, we know there is, likely, another scene where the child looks back to make sure the mother is still there and yet another scene where she returns to her mother’s arms. God watches our steps of independence and waits for us to turn back to Him. We may encounter ruts, sinkholes, flooding, barricades, and more along our independent path before we look back– and go back– to Him, but when we do, the joy surpasses any tribulation we will confront and endure to arrive at the place where He is.

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing. (Proverbs 10:28) Our prospect is our choice. But only His way, His path is the one that leads to eternal joy.

(Sharon  G. Tate 05/21/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

In the Likeness of Christ: The Other before Me

 

“Can a woman forget her nursing child,
And not have compassion on the son of her womb? (Isaiah 49:15)

 M O T H E R

Other is the focus,

Child before her.

Mirroring selfless

His likeness to see.

 IF ONLY we could care for each other like the mother who loves her newborn child—unconditionally, tenderly, wholeheartedly embracing the responsibility of loving, caring, and giving to the “other” over self. This love may be likened to God giving His Son to us. We did not earn His act of love any more than the child born from his mother’s womb who feels the secure love of his mother’s embrace immediately. God’s embrace is there for us every moment of our lives. We are each the “other” who must accept His love, so He can keep us close to Him.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! (Matthew 23:37)

 We must be willing to accept this embrace of Jesus. The figurative language used in the passage above is of a mother hen protecting her young chicks with her own wings. The chicks are secure, while the hen has exposed herself to bear the burden of any external onslaught against her babies. Jesus, similarly, bore the pain and weight of the sin that would harm us eternally. His protection and security are there when we seek refuge with Him.

 As one whom his mother comforts,
So I will comfort you;
And you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.” (Isaiah 66:13)

The mother’s comfort is tender and compassionate. The similar comparison is made to the Lord’s comfort in this passage. It is the kind of giving, selfless love that we should strive to mirror and reflect in our own words and actions.

Other is the focus,

You before me,

Mirroring Christ

His likeness to see.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/14/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Choosing The Path of Christ

 

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.” 1

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Someone once asked me, “Why do you always insist on taking the hard road?”

I replied, “Why do you assume I see two roads?” 2

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The Lord took one road, one path. It was one that had never been traveled before. Others have tried to follow the path in His footsteps, yet it is still “one less traveled by.”

The path Jesus took: Coming down to earth . . . learning to walk as a toddler . . . traveling the road to Jerusalem to sit with the teachers at the temple . . . sinking His footprints in the sand to call out those disciples who would become “fishers of men” 3. . .  hiking up the mountainside to deliver the Sermon on the Mount to the multitudes . . . going to Bethany to raise Lazarus from the dead … walking the path to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane . . . carrying the cross to die for us all on the road to Calvary. . . rising from death to return to the Father.

It was the hard road. It was the only road Jesus saw, in spite of the fact that another path was offered and could have been chosen. Satan’s temptations did not alter Christ’s path. His focus did not lead Him in any other direction but the cross.  And this has made all the difference for you and for me.

To follow Christ, we must follow the hard road. It may take us to those who would betray us. It may lead us to suffering and cruelty. It will direct us to those who would walk with us on this journey. It will lead us to the destruction of our earthly bodies. It will take us back from death to the path of life with Christ.

Choosing the right road, the path of Christ, does make all the difference. It is the way to salvation, the path of Christ, the road to death and back again to life.

1 Frost, Robert. “The Road Not Taken.” https://www.poets.org

²Author Unknown. http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com

3 Matthew 4:19

(Sharon G. Tate blog 05/07/17)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

God’s Blessing of Friends

 

FRIENDSHIP

F: Faithful

R: Real

I:  Interwoven

E: Enduring

N: Nurturing

D: Discerning

S: Sharing

H: Hearing

I:  Involved

P: Personal

BIBLICAL EXAMPLES:

FAITHFUL: “Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; the Lord has sent me to Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel.” (2 Kings 2:2)

REAL: “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 12:13)

INTERWOVEN: Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.” (I Peter 3:8) Saul, the one who had tortured and killed Jews, gained new sight on the road to Damascus and followed Christ. Barnabas accepted him, becoming involved at the risk of his own reputation and life, for they were like-minded in a common purpose—to teach and preach the message of Christ.

ENDURING: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  (Proverbs 17:17) In a world of transience and impermanence, the love of a friend who is there at all times, good and bad, is a true blessing from God, the One whose love endures forever.

NURTURING: Whoever serves Me must follow Me; and where I am, My servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves Me.” (John 12:26)  To follow Christ and be where He is, with the Teacher who instructs with love, compassion, reproof, and direction to become more like Him. Friends, likewise, nurture the best in us.

DISCERNING: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)  Helping you become a better person as you, also, help him or her in the same manner.

SHARING: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)

HEARING: Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” (Proverbs 19:20)  We like to give advice, but how often do we listen. A real friend’s advice or criticism is given out of concern and love for us.

INVOLVED: 12 Then Jonathan said to David, ‘I swear by the Lord, the God of Israel, that I will surely sound out my father by this time the day after tomorrow! If he is favorably disposed toward you, will I not send you word and let you know? 13 But if my father intends to harm you, may the Lord deal with Jonathan, be it ever so severely, if I do not let you know and send you away in peace. May the Lord be with you as he has been with my father.’ ” (Proverbs 20:12-13) To know what is happening in your friend’s world and become involved, even at personal cost.

PERSONAL: The only way to have a friend is to be one.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson

FRIENDSHIP FROM GOD: “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)

                            Through personal examination, what kind of friend am I?                                 What kind of friend could I be in the Lord?

¹www.brainyquote.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/30/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

 

Coming to the Place of Healing: Seeking the Great Physician

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.” 1

The man on the gurney, immobilized by straps across all limbs;

A woman in a wheelchair, pain grimacing through her face;

The toddler coughing and wheezing in his mother’s weary arms;

A man at the door, eyes widened with fear and uncertainty.

The Hospital ER Waiting Room

A man sitting in the back pew, held back by unseen bonds;

The woman in the middle pew, struggling with inner pain;

A toddler, tired and whining, cradled by a weary mother;

The man in a front pew, uncertainty and fear behind his eyes.

Sunday Worship from the Pew

 The struggling, the hurting, the innocent, the fearful;

Coming to this place for a remedy, a respite, a release;

Seeking a physician to heal hurts within, pains without;

Finding him in the Man of Sorrows, who died, yet lives.

Golgotha, at the Cross

 “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” 2

 His promise, our need, our action to “Come.”

We are the hurting, the desperate in ER;

We are the struggling, the bound in the pews;

We are the ones who need His healing touch.

Arriving at the Place of Healing

The struggle ended, fear dispelled, bonds broken;

Hearts open to receive healing from within;

Mercy and Grace beyond our comprehension;

Love enduring, joy unending, hope fulfilled.

Reaching the Place of Restoration

 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” 3

1 Isaiah 41:102

2 Matthew 11:28

3 Revelations 21:4

(Sharon G. Tate blog 03/22/17)  teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

REMEMBERING OUR LORD’S SACRIFICE ALWAYS

1On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered His words. (Luke 24:1-7)

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Our memories, links in the chain of events that form our lives. We capture these events and the people involved in them through writing, photos and videos; store these links in files, picture frames, photo albums, computers, flash drives, and the cloud; and try to hold the images in our personal mind cache, stored away for retrieval when reminiscence tears our eyes and touches our hearts.

Without the means to retrieve these memories–through a written record, connections with those involved in them, or captured images to assist in remembrance–there are gaps in the chain, missing links that make us search, question, and seek the answers to bind the past to the present and find meaning in our lives.

God gave us the memory of our Lord’s sacrifice in the written Word. The answers are provided for what we seek inside us– to know Christ and have that connection with Him, the true meaning to our lives. Although we were not physically present with Jesus, we do see the cross, hear His last words, feel the agony of the nails, touch the wooden post stained with blood and look up to see the Savior dying for us as we connect in memory. Binding the past to our present life, we remember.

On the first day of the week, in the manner of the apostles as recorded in Acts 20:7 (On the first day of the week we came together to break bread…), we remember our Lord’s sacrifice in the act of communion: “For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:23- 26).

We are part of the chain, the links that bind us to Him and that day. We are brothers and sisters in the Lord, adopted sons and daughters of the Father. The memory is stored within us. We do not have to search, question, and seek—for God has provided the images. Our retrieval of these memories of our Lord’s sacrifice of love, beyond the first day of the week communion, indicates our commitment and love to Him. Do we remember often? Do we touch the cross in our minds, see our Lord looking down, and hear Him crying out: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 22:34)

But Jesus did not remain on the cross.  The Word tells us death could not hold Him. He is Risen–and we remember.

WE MUST REMEMBER ALWAYS. . .

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/16/17) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

One Death—One Man on the Cross—The Only Begotten Son

 23 When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by His wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (I Peter 2:23-25)

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Healed by pierced hands.

Redeemed in innocent blood.

Eternal life from one death.

Not mine. Not yours. But His.

One man on the cross.

The only begotten Son.

 

He who had known life with the Father chose to trust God to be the Judge of others who insulted Him, who tortured Him.  The Son did not seek vengeance. Instead, He asked His Father to forgive.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose to bear the sins of all humankind.  He carried the weight of guilt, the weight of knowing, the weight of suffering, the weight of sorrow, the weight of horror, the weight of agony, the weight of carnage, the weight of defiled innocence, the weight of darkness, the weight of abandonment by the Father. The Son bore the weight of sin in every form, from all time.

For me. For you.

He who had known life with the Father chose death, not a peaceful in-your-sleep slumber from which one does not awaken but a violent death of intense external and internal suffering and anguish.

For me. For you.

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We who have known life on this earth can choose to trust God. We can choose to forgive. We can choose to sacrifice ourselves for others. We can choose to follow Him, the man on the cross, the only begotten Son who gave His life.

For me. For you.

(Sharon G. Tate blog 04/09/17) teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word