So we got some GRAPHIC…
You know, the battles in 2 Maccabees are…
All the Bible, obviously, in reading the ENTIRE Old Testament up until now…
You know we have ONE MORE DAY…
And then it’s ALL NEW TESTAMENT ALL THE TIME
WHICH IS REALLY INCREDIBLE!!
2 days from now we start the Gospel of Luke
We will spend about a week plus with Luke
It’s a long Gospel
BUT WHAT A GIFT IT HAS BEEN!!
We get to see, maybe in ways we have NEVER seen before, the amount of GOSH…violence in the scriptures
We don’t want to just highlight violence though
We want to highlight the fact that God WORKS THROUGH BROKENNESS
We want to highlight the fact that God WORKS THROUGH BROKEN PEOPLE
We want to highlight the fact that God WORKS THROUGH EVEN THESE HORRIBLE SITUATIONS
One of the things we recognize is that LIFE IS NOT A HALLMARK MOVIE
Fr. Mike mentioned this before in the past and a lot of us are not from the west or North America
But the Hallmark Movie version of Christianity is there are things called Hallmark Movies which are really “NEAT AND CLEAN”
Guy meets Girl
Girl likes Guy
Guy likes Girl
They have some kind of tension keeping them apart
At the end of the movie everyone is fine and happy
And sometimes the enemy who is trying to keep them apart has found happiness too
(IN FACT…Watching Hallmark Movies has been cited as the #3 cause nationwide of DIABETES!! 🤪)
It’s all CLEAN
It’s all NEAT
It’s all TIDY AND ORDERLY
So here is the Bible
Here is the story of life in this world
Here is the story of God interacting with his people
It is NOT neat
It is NOT tidy
IT IS POWERFUL!!
It is NOT clean
IT IS MESSY
We also recognize the power of God’s entering into the messiness, and when we say messy we’re not just talking a little bit of sin here or suffering over there…
We are talking BETRAYAL
We are talking about THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE DEAD
We are talking about the end of 2 Maccabees Ch 14 where you have this man Razis
You caught this right?
I have to write this all out because it’s pretty remarkable…
2 Maccabees 14:41-46, “Being surrounded, Razis fell upon his own sword, preferring to die nobly rather than to fall into the hands of sinners and suffer outrages unworthy of his noble birth. But in the heat of the struggle he did not hit exactly and the crowd was now rushing in through the doors. He bravely ran up on the wall, and manually threw himself down into the crowd. But as they quickly drew back, a space opened and he fell into the middle of the empty space. Still alive and aflame with anger, he rose, and through his blood gushed forth and his wounds were severe he ran through the crowd; and standing upon a steep rock, with his blood now completely drained from him, he tore out his entrails, took them with both hands and hurled them at the crowd, calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to give them back to him again. This was the manner of his death.” (🤯🤯🤯 DUDE!!! He was adamant, wasn’t he?)
There probably should have been a little alert on this episode eh
THAT IS VERY GRAPHIC!!
THAT IS A VERY HORRIBLE WAY TO DIE!!
That is in the Bible
What are we to make of this?
What we are to make of it in so many ways is...
HERE IS THE STORY
HERE IS OUR STORY
Here is the way in which GOD IS PRESENT even in CRAZY scenarios like this
Here is the way in which GOD IS PRESENT even in REMARKABLE scenarios where we would just think, “Is this from a horror movie? Because that is disgusting and horrible.”
HERE IS GOD
SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF IT
Just like MY LIFE
God is SOMEWHERE in the midst of ALL of it
Some days we SEE it more clearly than others
Some days we KNOW it more certainly than others
Every day we know that it is TRUE
Moving on to Wisdom of Solomon Chs 17 & 18
The very beginning of Ch 17 is just….
Wisdom 17:3-4, “For thinking that in their secret sins they were unobserved behind a dark curtain of forgetfulness, they were scattered, terribly alarmed, and appalled by specters. For not even the inner chamber that held them protected them from fear…”
Thinking that in their secret sins they were unobserved, how often is there that reality of secret sins?
How often is there that reality that we are tempted to just give ourselves a pass?
Well no one knows about this…
There’s anonymity here
There is a certain IDEA that this is not hurting anybody
It is unobserved
No one will find out
The reality is that when we walk in TRUTH
When we walk in WISDOM
We realize that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SECRET SIN
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIFE THAT IS UNOBSERVED
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A LIFE THAT IS FORGOTTEN
It talks about this “dark curtain of forgetfulness”
That does not exist
There is something so POWERFUL about this to CONVICT us when we are sinning and COMFORT us when we are trying to walk in righteousness
To convict us when we are in sin and be able to say, “Ok Lord, you are present here. Lord God, you do see these things and there is justice.”
To have that word of comfort, that word of assurance when we are trying to strive after righteousness, that there’s no secret virtue either
If there's no SECRET SINS then there is no SECRET VIRTUE or even ATTEMPT AT VIRTUE
The fact that you and I are trying to follow the Lord and trying to belong to him is SEEN
HE KNOWS THIS
THE LORD GOD CARES
BECAUSE YOU MATTER
EVEN YOUR ATTEMPT MATTERS
When we have this SECRET SIN the end of Ch 17 talks about this
This is talking about in the kingdom of Egypt and the people of God were enslaved
There was the section where darkness came over where the Egyptians lived but light came over where the Hebrews lived
Wisdom 17:21, “...while over those men alone heavy night was spread, an image of the darkness that was destined to receive them; but still heavier than darkness were they to themselves.”
Because they belonged to FALSE GODS
Because they had conspired to kill the males of all the Jews, the males of all the Hebrew parents
And heavier than darkness were they to themselves
Wisdom 18:1, “But for your holy ones there was very great light.”
It talks about the Jewish people being delivered by God’s vengeance, by his justice, from slavery in Egypt
We have 1 chapter left in 2 Maccabees and 1 chapter left in Wisdom of Solomon
But this last note in Ch 18 is INCREDIBLE
Go back to your Bible and HIGHLIGHT THIS
Wisdom 18:14-16, “For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.”
This is talking about the night of the destruction of the first born
This is the JUSTICE OF GOD upon the Egyptians that had killed all the males that were born to the Hebrew people
There is also a PROPHECY here right?
Fr. Mike always thinks of CHRISTMAS
THIS IS THE NATIVITY!!
“For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone (middle of the night!), your all-powerful word (the Word Made Flesh, right?) leaped from heaven, from the royal throne, into the midst of the land that was doomed, a stern warrior carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command, and stood and filled all things with death, and touched heaven while standing on the earth.”
Obviously we know that Jesus Christ came to BRING LIFE
He also came to CONQUER DEATH
He also came to FIGHT FOR US
This is the POWERFUL NEWS of the GOOD NEWS that we are about to launch into for the REST OF THE YEAR the day after tomorrow
Here is JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF
THE WORD MADE FLESH
LEAPING FORTH FROM THE THRONE
A VOICE OF THUNDER
LEAPING FORTH WITH A SWORD OF TRUTH AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
FIGHTING FOR YOU!!
THAT IS THE KEY THING!!
FIGHTING FOR FR. MIKE!!
FIGHTING FOR US!!
Because as we all know here is God who is saying, “YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR. There are things that are trying to kill you and YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR.”
SO BE FOUGHT FOR
THE WORD LEFT FORTH FROM THE MIGHTY THRONE OF HEAVEN TO COME TO THIS EARTH AND FIGHT
SO WE TRUST IN HIM
WE TRUST IN HIS ABILITY TO FIGHT
WE TRUST IN HIS WILLINGNESS TO FIGHT, THAT HE WANTS TO FIGHT FOR YOU TODAY
SO WE TRUST IN THAT
And we ask, “Lord Jesus please, fight for us”
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
LAST DAY TOMORROW FOR THE OLD TESTAMENT
THEN ALL NEW TESTAMENT ALL THE TIME!!