Looking through the Cross – Life
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
There are entrepreneurs among us who see the widespread hunger for spirituality as a marketplace and are out there selling junk food.
Eugene Peterson, Subversive Spirituality. p40.
It was a ministration of life, power and glory. It revealed the grandest truths. It produced the most astonishing effects. It freed people from the condemnation and power of sin; it transformed them into the image of Christ; it delivered them from the power of the god of this age and gave them a share in eternal life.
Charles Hodge, 2 Corinthians; The Crossway Classic Commentaries. p77-78.
If you want to see the resurrection at work in your own life in the here and now then you have to be prepared to see the crucifixion at work as well.
NT Wright, Paul for Everyone: 2 Corinthians, p45.
As a result, every answered prayer, every instance of healing, every burst of praise, every act of self-sacrificial love is not a ‘raging against the dying light’, as the poet Dylan Thomas put it, but a sign of a new world that is coming. They become the first flowers of spring, the aroma of home on a long journey.
Graham Tomlin, Looking through the Cross, p202.
He was poor, often without food or clothing; his body was weak and sickly; he was homeless; he was beset by cruel enemies; he was repeatedly scourged; he was stoned, he was imprisoned, he was shipwrecked, robbed, and counted as the scum of the earth; he was beyond measure harassed by anxieties and cares and by the opposition of false teachers and the corruption of the churches that he had planted at such expense of time and labour.
Charles Hodge, 2 Corinthians; The Crossway Classic Commentaries. p86.
Because faced with the truism that life leads towards death, Christian faith begs to differ. Instead it boldly asserts that death leads towards life.
Graham Tomlin, Looking through the Cross, p198.
I love the Lord
I love you.
These are words that we don’t waste. In relationships, we like to be certain before we use them. Between family and close friends love is often assumed rather than spoken. Some families or people will use these words more openly. God has never been shy about saying how much he loves us or showing how much he loves us.
How often do we pray to God, I love you?
verses 1 – 4.
The psalmist talks of his distress in very vivid terms. This was no small thing.
He shows us the proper place to take such fear, distress, sorrow and anxiety.
He called on the name of the Lord, and the Lord heard his voice.
So often our first instinct is to try and solve the problem ourselves, then ask others and prayer is a last resort.
Why do you think that is?
Maybe we feel we don’t want to bother God, we or our troubles are unimportant to God or that we lack confidence in God.
What do you think God has to say to these feelings?
Is there anything you want to bring before God now?
verses 5 – 11.
The Lord is gracious and righteous and full of compassion.
The psalmist has experienced God’s faithfulness and wants to tell others.
He knows that this experience of God’s deliverance is one that others too can know and enjoy.
The psalmist doesn’t wrestle with God as to why he suffered, although other psalms do, rather here the psalmist rejoices that in his time of trial the Lord was with him and delivered him.
Think of a time you have experienced God’s faithfulness or deliverance. When you have called to the Lord and he heard and answered.
Who did you tell?
What shall I return to God for all his goodness to me?
This is a song of thanksgiving to God. The psalmist knows he had no right to presume upon God’s grace yet because he knows God’s love, he was able to depend upon it.
Much like the principle in 2 Samuel 24:24 the psalmist will not offer thanks to God that costs him nothing.
He will give an offering as he celebrates.
But it also prompts him to evaluate his own life.
He rededicates himself and his life to God.
How could he return to God anything less than faithfulness when the Lord was faithful to him?
How do you show your gratitude to God?
What do you think God would like to see?
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die."
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