Once again Jesus takes the established law which the people then and a now for the most part like, and turns our understanding. In all the cases presented in today's section the law seems to permit returning wrong for wrong. Jesus shows that is not how it works in God's world exactly. When we are wronged we are to return wrong with good. Returning with good actually brings about shame to the person who wronged us, not because we have done harm to them. The shame is from our blessing them when their intention was harm. I wonder how that would look today?
Here we find humanity acting to slow down Christianity before it really gets going. From our human understanding if we want to stop something we attack it. God takes the attack of humanity and uses it to spread Christ throughout the region. As the religious leaders of the day tried to stop the spread, the message of Christ spread all the more quickly.
As the spread happened there were people who received the message, believed and were baptized yet still did not quite get it. Simon is given as an example in this text. He sees the Apostles do great works and wonders, and he wants in. Rather than seeking after God and forming the live God is calling him toward in Christ, he tries to buy it from the Apostles. Simon is using a human method to accomplish what only God can do.
I am sure you have noticed by now that our timing and God's timing are different. When things are going what we would call well time seems to move too fast. When we are struggling time seems to move too slow. In reality our interaction with our situation has nothing to do with time. Time passes as it will, the difference is in our perception. I am sure you would join me in saying we like life to work out how we plan it and prefer it. The challenge is we do not always know what is best for our life. God knows what it will take to form and mold us into the person we are being called to be. So when we cry how long o Lord, I can hear the response, until you are who I called you to be.
The soup opera continues. We last saw Jacob tending the flocks of Laban while engaging in a little genetic engineering to build his own flocks. In this episode we find Jacob packing up his family and running away from Laban. In the process Rachel steals the household gods of her father. After several days Laban catches up to Jacob and his entourage. After some good arguing and name calling an agreement is reached. Interestingly Rachel continues to lie about possessing the household gods. This could be written about for house, not the space or time, suffice to say it is not good. In the end Jacob and Laban go their separate ways and murder is avoided for the time being. As all this is happening we are finding out about the character of the people God is using to establish a people. Honestly, their character is suspect at best, lying, cheating, stealing, some pretty flawed people. Still God works with and through their brokenness to establish the people of God. I guess their is hope for the rest of us.