From Jesus’s first moments of public ministry, he has endeavored to declare the gospel of the kingdom of God. Yet, his preference was to upset any and all prevailing notions about how this kingdom would come to be and what its founder, the Messiah, would do to establish it. The disciples are certainly confused in this moment. But Jesus speaks into their confusion by relaying two striking parables about the unexpected operation of his kingdom that was right in front of them.
The middle of Psalm 119 might also be its midnight. David opens up to God in the 11th stanza, not pretending he is fine but honestly expressing his grief. His hope has shriveled. His heartache is bringing him to edge of faith, to his wit’s end. It’s easy to feel similarly to the psalmist. But fortunately, we are given the same source of hope in the middle of our heartache.
An inaccurate distinction of both God’s law and God’s gospel will lead to all kinds of errors. The erroneous kind of this art happens all the time. We put law where gospel should be and end up with a theological mess. We bastardize the gospel with pietistic fine print. And in so doing, we jettison the truth of the gospel altogether. Such is the scene in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
For the past several weeks, I have been unable to escape the incredible sermon that was delivered by Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. What caught my attention, though, was learning that Mr. Gerson delivered this sermon only a few short days after being discharged from the hospital for depression.
Among the most revered of the Psalms is Psalm 18. Its lyrical marvel, brimming with magnificent language that desirous of one thing: God’s glory. As King David reflects on his life and the many deliverances throughout which came at his God’s hand, he’s inspired to pen this wondrous psalm. But David’s song of deliverance is our song too.
Comedy is, perhaps, the most subjective of the arts. Humorous entertainment strikes some in the funny bone and whizzes over the heads of others, leaving a large no-man’s-land where factions manifest as devotees to some comedic form or another champion the cause of their realm of humor as being the purest or most “hashtag lit.”
It’s tough hearing God’s “no,” especially when it doesn’t sound like protection, only prevention. Such is what King David might have thought when he was denied building the Temple. Enduring God’s “no’s,” however, is made possible only by realizing and recognizing that he has already given us the ultimate “yes.”