For Sunday, February 16, 2014
6th Sunday After Epiphany
I have a side interest in church signs. There are a couple I drive by regularly. More often than not while the sign maker is trying to come up with something clever what I’m left with is a groan and roll of the eyes. If you want to share in the fun check out Ed Stetzer’s weekly “Church Signs of the Week“.
Normal fare is just that … normal. Yet every once in a while a plate is put down in front of us that contains something different and new. I remember sitting down in Chicago for my first ever Persian dinner. The waitress brought the plate, and as I looked down at the colorful sauces I said to myself, “Now this … is something new.”
This feeling of excited discovery is what we’re intended to experience in Matt. 5:21-31. Each of the three sections within starts the same way. “You have heard it said … but I say to you.” The topics themselves are breathtaking in scope: Murder, Adultery, and Divorce. Can you imagine driving past a church sign that said, “This Week at Glen Cove: Murder, Adultery, and Divorce”? For each topic case Jesus stands conventional wisdom on it’s head. Our real problem, he says, is not ultimately murder, but the anger that lies at it’s core. Our real problem, he says, is not ultimately adultery, but the lust in our hearts. Our real problem, he says, is not when to allow divorce, but the brokenness of our relationships.
This strikingly new teaching goes on for another two chapters. At the end of it all Matthew says this: “When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Matt. 7:28).
Following Jesus was never supposed to be about a bad church sign. It’s supposed to be about God picking up the pieces of our shattered lives and forming them into something new and wonderful.
As you are driving this week keep your eyes open because you will drive by Jesus more than once. When you do, take a moment to pull over, because you’ll be amazed at the authority with which he speaks new life into your soul.