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|Painting of young Jesus and John the Baptist|
Consider the goodness of Jesus, a Jew born in a time and place of the Roman Empire. It conquered Judah, Samaria, and beyond. God sent Jesus in those harsh days and revealed him as the one, God as man.
Today, some refer to "the Christian faith" and "Christianity." When he grew up and taught, Jesus didn't use those terms. They did not exist, and anyway, he warned about the dangers of religion. As the way, the truth, and the life, Jesus--Jeshua--showed complete authenticity, something longed for in every generation. He was not about religion. The Christ could not be untrue to the Father in heaven, to others, or to himself.
Consider the forgiveness Jesus gave. A woman caught by others in adultery was close to being stoned when Jesus said a few words that made every hand drop the weapon in it and every foot depart and go its own way. At another time, a woman who knew that her sins had been forgiven shed tears of gratitude and love when she washed his feet. He said, "...she has shown great love," because "her sins, which were many, have been forgiven." (Luke 7:36-8:3)
Consider the strength of Jesus. It is written that Albert Einstein said, as he saw Germany being run over by Hitler's conquering government, that "he had always thought that when the crisis came to Germany, the universities would be the bulwark of human freedom..." However, the centers of higher learning and intellectualism "capitulated and collapsed" under the invasive pressures of the increasingly harsh and ruling government. It was the Christian church "that has kept alive whatever of freedom is left...." Consider the goodness of unwavering and suffering strength, which is of God. In the 1930's, Dietrich Bonhoeffer in Germany, the ten Boom family of Holland, and countless other believers across Europe--kept human freedom alive by living in Christ and like him being faithful unto death. Taste that goodness!
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? .... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Quoted texts are from Forward Day by Day, 1937, reprinted for July 6, 2010..
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