My favorite TV character is Sheldon Cooper who received an invitation to play Dungeons and Dragons on a scroll. He says, ” I like scrolls. They’re my third favorite system of transmitting the written word. After stone tablets and skywriting.”
I have been thinking about scrolls a lot lately. I have thought about putting my stuff on scrolls and handing it out and seeing how folks handle it. That is the trick you see – unrolling it to the place where you want to be and then keeping it from rolling back up like a bunch of wrapping paper.
I have the memory of the Gospel lesson from last Sunday in my mind. You know the drill – Jesus goes to His hometown synagogue to worship and He is given, it is handed to Him, the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah. He opens it and reads this –
“The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor.” 20Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” In other words this prophecy is fulfilled in your ears and I am God’s prophet, priest, and King.
He is basically saying the Kingdom of God is here. Jesus goes on from there and says that same thing over and over – the Kingdom of God is here, among you, at hand, within you – evidently the Kingdom is pretty much everywhere that Jesus is or where His word is preached. Kingdom is that enfleshment, that incarnation of God’s King, that manifestation of God’s kindness which invites men to turn to Him and by its very presence demands that man turn to Him; it is a kindness which “is meant to lead … to repentance” (Rom. 2: 4).
This is God’s rule – this is God’s Government – This will be how God runs the world.
In 1962 President Kennedy made a speech in front of all the Governors of the States and talked about the politics of the time. We are sometimes led to believe that our time is the worst, our politics have never been as contentious as they are now. It is depressing I admit that in all politics there have always been demagogues. The old demagogues were desperate in their wish to make people understand. The new demagogues want to make people painfully conscious of not understanding. Our contentiousness comes from never being able to understand what is going on because the truth might set us free. We are contentious because we are led to believe that our system is meant to be contentious. Our system and our freedom permit the legislative to be pitted against the executive, the State against the Federal Government, the city against the countryside, party against party, interest against interest, all in competition or in contention one with another. Our task, said Kennedy–your task in the State House and my task in the White House, he said –is to weave from all these tangled threads a fabric of law and progress. We are not permitted the luxury of irresolution. Others may confine themselves to debate, discussion, and that ultimate luxury–free advice. Our responsibility is one of decision–for to govern is to choose.
To govern is to choose. He might as well have said to rule is to choose. One of our old theologians said that to “rule is to have the last word”. Jesus sets about in that home church of His to set God’s rule and He choices are very interesting. If you compare the words from the scroll of Isaiah with the words that Jesus read something is missing and that is the day of vengeance what is “the day of vengeance of our God”? When Jesus read this passage at that service in Nazareth, he didn’t read these words. He stopped reading at the end of the first line of verse 2. He omitted any reference to the day of the vengeance of our God. Why? The day of vengeance was the great and dreadful day., the day of wrath and mourning.
and place to the Gospel. Both are God’s Word, the Law and the Gospel, but the two are not equal. One is lower, the other higher; one is lesser the other greater.’”
the salvation of God” (Luke. 3: 6). He himself came with “gracious words” (Luke. 4: 22), and called men into his kingdom. What could be better tidings than the announcement of free pardon on repentance, of salvation, of atonement, of deliverance from sin, of a Comforter to support, and sustain, and cleanse the heart, and give men peace and joy in believing? Man, lost without him, was by him sought
and saved, and brought out of darkness and misery into light and happiness.
between right and wrong, between good and evil. Men at the time were so far gone from original righteousness, that they put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter, darkness for light, and light for darkness’ (Isa. 5: 20), were “vain in their imaginations, and had “their
foolish hearts darkened (Rom. 1: 21). Christ dispelled this spiritual darkness.
their sins, and thus secured them forgiveness; he assured them of God’s mercy and readiness to pardon; he bade them “come to him,” and promised to “give them rest Christ chooses and proclaimed a “time of acceptance”, a time of favor in various ways. It is the time of salvation and it is now. Our King chooses the good word of love and mercy and peace.
history, backward and forward. The Rev. Dr. George Stoeckhardt writes: “… the New Testament is a ‘mercy built up for ever’, Ps. 89, 2, which is efficacious backwards and forwards, covers up and blots out the sins of all times.” Only Christ is worthy to look upon the book because He alone redeemed mankind and human history. Christ, therefore, is worthy to open and to look upon the book because of His obedience to God; and He is able to open the book and look upon it because of His Deity, i.e. because He is God.
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