Changed Men

I think you all should know what I’ve been up to lately. I’m writing a Bible Study on the Book of Jeremiah. It’s one of my favorite books, and I’m loving it. Should be out some time in 2008. The thing about daily writing on a project that is due — well, it makes blogging a bit more of an obligation. And I’m behind, I confess.

In my reading, I just started the book of Deuteronomy. You’ll remember that we always ask three questions of scripture. What does it say (what are the actual words?) What does it mean (to the original listeners) and What does it mean to me (this is the application point). We should never jump to apply scripture until we’ve FIRST gone through the examination of the text.

You’ll note that Deuteronomy is written by Moses, and he actually speaks in the first person. “We turned from, we went west, we camped,” etc etc. The book begins with a review of the path the Jews took from Egypt (and slavery) to the point the book begins (about to move into the promised land). It really is a book of review, and it contains some of the most inspiring and valuable text in the entire Old Testament. Don’t be discouraged before you even begin!

Before I move on though, I want to make one more comment about the book of John. Chapter 19 ends with the most amazing paragraph;I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before. This is the description of Jesus burial. Joseph of Arimathea (who had been a secret disciple) and Nicodemus (who had come to him at night) both participate. The NLT says it this way, Joseph “asked Pilate for permission to take Jesus’ body down… Together they wrapped Jesus’ body in a long linen cloth with the spices, as is the Jewish custom of burial… and since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.”

Here is the miracle of that paragraph. These guys lived by fear. What if people know that I follow Jesus? What if someone catches me speaking with him? They had let fear dominate their entire relationship with Jesus. But somehow, through the course of Jesus’ influence, his words, his presence, perhaps even his death, Jesus changed these guys. Note that Jesus isn’t buried by the ‘good ol boys.’ Instead, his SECRET followers come out of hiding to do the deed. The disciples spend the next few days shivering in a locked room.

What is it about Jesus that changed these two? His power? His wisdom? His love? We won’t ever really know what ONE thing influenced them. But something did. Something changed them from wimps to lions, ready to face even Pilate because of their love for their savior.

My question: Has he changed you? How?

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