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God’s Turn

           About 120 billion people have lived on this planet. And all those people, or at least most of them, had to make decisions about how they would use the life they had been given. What will I do today? What will I think about? Should I fight about this or let it go? Should I take this risk or play it safe? And how should I view the world around me? Each of those lives is paradoxically insignificant and infinitely significant. It is infinitely significant because Jesus Christ who is infinite went to the cross to redeem it. According to the Bible a single sparrow is not forgotten by God much less a human life. “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 12:6-7) God is not like us in our need to divide attention. If two people talk to us at once we are overwhelmed, if we are looking for a certain street in the dark we turn down the radio. Our brain only has soo much processing power after all. But God is the one who hears and cares about every prayer at once. But on the other hand if you compare man to God he becomes insignificant. The Bible also says “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) In that context we can be glad that God is a loving God willing to condescend to our low estate. “Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high, Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth! He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; That he may set him with princes, even with the princes of his people. He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD.”

            All these lives with their infinite variables had one thing in common, they were all judged by God’s standards of right and wrong. They all contained a combination of situations handled correctly and sin. They all had trials and temptations that people met with varying degrees of success. And the prophets saw that one day God himself amazingly would walk this same path. He would face the same trials and temptions as us and yet be the unique one out of 120 billion; the man without sin. “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.” (Isaiah 42:1-4) We can see that often when people try to live a righteous life, especially one that is effecting society, there is a mad rush to condemn them. For example we can remember how the kings counselors very closely watched Daniel to try and condemn him. Both because he was righteous, and because his advice was superior to theirs to the point where their counsel was pretty much obsolete. “and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” (Daniel 1:19-20) Jesus, with his perfect life also faced this type of persecution. “He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” (Isaiah 53:8) Jesus was fundamentally different from the other religious leaders of his time, and like Daniels enemies they feared the loss of their own influence. The Bible says in Matthew 7:28-29 “And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” Also in Matthew 27:18 we see that even Pilate coould plainly see that aspect of it “Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ? For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.” Try to do something good and suddenly enemies will pop out of the woodwork to try and stop you. Nevertheless through all the temptations he faced Jesus was always perfect. And that is pretty amazing. Just to think, in the olympic events with judges, like diving or figure skating athletes train hard all year to be perfect for a few minutes and hardly ever get the perfect 10. Yet Jesus was perfect for over 30 years. Through hunger, thirst, weariness, false accusation, pain. It says he was in all points tempted as we are yet without sin. The signifigance of that cannot be overstated. If we would be in awe of a perfect performance at the olympics that only lasted minutes, how much more awe inspiring is the life of Jesus?

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.(Phillipians 2:6-11

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