Friday, October 1, 2010

The Word Made Flesh

Somethings are taught...and somethings are caught.

If you take a few minutes to digest this thought, I think you may agree with me.

After all, how did you learn to tie your shoes? That's right. Someone taught you how to first make a loop, then to hold it tight while going around your thumb and into the loop....and viola!

How did you learn to read? Again, someone took the time to teach you the alphabet and the sound each letter makes alone and in relation to other letters.

How did you learn to drive a car? Your mom or dad (or some other brave soul) patiently...(or maybe not!) instructed you on the ins and outs of maneuvering a vehicle through the maze of other cars, stop lights, and of course, the all too common, construction zone.

Dictionary. com defines teach this way: to impart knowledge of or skill in; give instruction in.

Somethings are most definitely taught.

But, let me ask you this.

How did you learn to bring out a smile in someone else by sharing a smile of your own?

How did you learn to go "awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww" whenever you see something that melts your heart?

How did you learn to learn to talk?

You caught these! You learned these by simply observing the behavior and actions of those around you.

The Bible, of course, is divided into two testaments....the old and the new. The Old Testament is about the Old Covenant.(Death through the Law) The New Testament is about the new covenant. (Life through Christ Jesus). But, have you ever thought about the Old Testament being that which was taught and the New Testament being that which is caught?

In the Old Testament, through the prophets of old and their instruction in the law and the commandments, we are taught about sin. In the Old Testament, through the prophecies were are taught about the promise of the Messiah. In the Old Testament, through the lives of Moses, Noah, Joseph, Daniel and many others we are taught about Faith. Old Testament learning requires our mind, our intellect.

In the New Testament, through the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, we catch a glimpse of who God is. In the New Testament, through the power of Holy Spirit,we begin to feel the power of God. In the New Testament, as we follow the life of Christ and his disciples and journey with Paul, we begin to realize what it means to be a follower of Christ. New Testament learning requires our heart.

Somethings are taught...by instruction. Somethings are caught...by beholding.

One requires our mind. The other, our heart.

Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.But I say, if you are even angry with someone,you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot,you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone,you are in danger of the fires of hell."
Matthew 5:17-22, NLT

The Pharisees and Scribes had been taught the law. They knew all about "Do not kill", etc., but the real truth of the law had yet to reach their heart. They hadn't caught that the Law was not just something you spoke about or a standard by which you judged someone else. It was a matter of your own heart. It's not just enough to have a head knowledge of the law. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the law must be caught by your heart and your life transformed. In Christ's eyes, to hate someone or to harbor hateful feeling against someone was the same as killing that person.

So which is more important? The things that are taught or the things that are caught?

Jesus, when confronted with this very question,summed it up this way:

"Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:35-40

The Old Testaments teaches us about God. In the New Testament we are able to behold His glory in the face of Jesus. In the New Testament, through the power of the Holy Spirit, as we observe Jesus' behavior, His mannerisms, and His heart we become changed. We catch on to what the Christian life is all about.

"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18, KJV

The Old Testament...the law of sin and death...is what teaches us. The New Testament...life in Christ Jesus...is what changes us.

Yes, somethings are taught and somethings are caught. Maybe you have been taught all about God. But, let me ask you this? Has your heart caught on to new life in Christ? Has your life taken hold of His forgiveness, His grace and His love for you? Have you been transformed by beholding Him? Have you caught what Christ came to teach us?

It is one thing to know the Word. It is another thing entirely to know THE WORD WHO BECAME FLESH.

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

John pointed him out and called, "This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word."

We all live off his generous bounty,
gift after gift after gift.
We got the basics from Moses,
and then this exuberant giving and receiving,
This endless knowing and understanding—
all this came through Jesus, the Messiah
. John 1:14-17, The Message

(Note: This first appeared on GRACEFUL SISTERS on September 22, 2010)

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