Tuesday, September 15, 2015

It is a Simple Message

Scripture Text: Matthew 3

John the Baptist's message often gets only a passing treatment because he is leading the way for Jesus. Yet, the message being proclaimed is not to be missed, even if it is hard to come to terms with. Matthew tells us the simple message of John, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."

Words like repent and sin are not real popular words in our day and age. This is nothing new, they were not all that popular in John's day either. For the most part people felt if they were generally good people, and claimed their heritage as people of God, everything would be just fine. All this talk of sin and repentance was too much.

Once Jesus is on the scene the message does not change a whole lot. Jesus continues to call people to step away from sinning and to turn to God. The main variation to the message was times when he would say the Kingdom of God is near, or say it was at hand. Whether it was the people of Jesus' day or people today we still struggle with the simple message. The struggle is so great that we make every attempt to clarify it on God's behalf. We make sure to nuance the message and make it more palatable reducing Jesus to a good moralistic teacher. In reality we need to come face to face with the simple message of God as seen in Christ.

The message of marriage is pretty simple as well. Do everything in your ability to remain centered in Christ, and keep fidelity with the one you are married to. Throughout the centuries we have nuanced this message as we continue to do so today. We are not saying there is never a situation where divorce is the best option, that was not even the message Jesus gave regarding marriage. What we are saying is while relationships are complicated the basic marriage is simple.

Another way to think about it has been shared with us by a close friend, "If you are married,there are two types of people in the world, those who you are married to and those who you are not. as long as you remember who is who things will go much better." Whenever one person in the marriage forgets this simple truth, everything gets much more complicated.

Still the message is very simple. When we do our best to keep our focus on the simple message and resist the temptation to make it more complicated than it is, we find we experience more of what it is like to live in the Kingdom of God, which is near. So, we must repent of our sin and turn to God, because the Kingdom is near, and we must remember to remain centered in Christ and in fidelity to our spouse.

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