A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do, huh?


© Jeanne E Webster  –  All Rights Reserved


Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would. “

The above verse is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I would imagine that it holds true for most us. Our bodies are quite hard to control, to rein in, and to subdue. To put it frankly, we’ve got us a full-brewed battlefield. The flesh desires to sin; the Spirit is constrained to obey the things of the Spirit. Every day we face this conundrum of natures.

Paul continues with a stark comparison of the two natures:
The works of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual excesses, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling….

Paul adds some powerful drama here with this warning…As I have told you before in time past, that they which do such things (as a lifestyle) shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. The differences are startling.


“Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;

There’s one that’s brokenhearted for his sins

And one who, unrepentant, sits and grins;

There’s one who loves his neighbor as himself

And one who cares for naught but fame and pelf.

From such corroding care I would be free

If once I could determine which is me.”


As in any war, action must be taken in order to achieve victory. The finger points at each one of us. Will we remain passive and continue to tolerate the works of the flesh within us? Or shall we rear up off our sanctified haunches and give way to the power of the Spirit to crucify this flesh? The victory has already been won; we merely have to give the “Charge!”

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

His Father’s Business

©  Jeanne E Webster

Scene 1

LUKE 2:49  Mary and Joseph lost track of their son, Jesus, a mere 12 year-old, on the way home from their temple visit in Jerusalem.  Frantically searching for three days, they found him in the temple in deep discourse with the rabbis.  Quite distraught, they inquired why he had gone off on his own.

“…I must be about my Father’s business.”

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Scene 2

JOHN 2:4  While attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus’ mother asked him to provide the guests with more wine, as the wine barrel had run dry.

“…mine hour is not yet come.” 

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Scene 3

Luke 22:15-22, John 18:1-14   Many years later Jesus and his disciples shared a Passover meal in an upper room.  Women possibly were present to facilitate the meal, including his mother.   She had perhaps bid him “Shalom, my son” as he left the upper room, heading towards his destiny that awaited him that night in the garden of Gethsemane and later Golgotha.

Did she remember his words as a child?  “…I must be about my Father’s business.”  Did she know to some extent what might lie ahead for her son?

“…MINE HOUR IS NOT YET COME.” Is this his hour?  Mary’s heart and spirit must have shuddered as she trudged home that evening.  A few hours later Jesus was standing before the high priest, arrested and betrayed by Judas. His hour had come.

Agonizing hours later amongst the crowds, Mary caught a glimpse of a man struggling to carry a wooden beam strapped to his shoulders.  This was surely a criminal off to his death on the hill called Golgotha.  Surely.  No…wait!  THAT IS MY SON! 

He was drenched with blood and sweat, glistening in the hot sun as it streaked down his brow, the remainder of his body one dark red mass.  She frantically pushed and shoved her way through the throng, but he was still far off. The din from the masses was deafening.

“Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  “We want Barabbas!”

Breathless and exhausted, Mary scrambled up the hill to the wooden beam that held her son with a mere 3 nails.  Grappling with the splintery cross to catch her balance, she looked up, trying to make eye contact with him, one last time.  HIS HOUR HAS COME!  The brutal leather-thronged whip had done its god-forsaken work on his head, shoulders and back.  A torn mass of bleeding arteries and shredded muscles hung limply from that rugged cross. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother…”  JOHN 19:25

The trial was over, the long excruciating walk to Golgotha concluded, the torture of an innocent man, the Son of God, was almost finished.  The King of the Jews had been dethroned.   Naked, stripped of all his glory and lifted up for all to see, Jesus looked down, searching. Through blood streaked eyes and excruciating pain, he saw his mother standing by. 

“When Jesus therefore saw his mother…”  JOHN 19:26

     


For a few moments close your eyes and envision this event:   a dying son gasping for a glimpse of his mother…a mother in tears and overwhelming heartbreak, peering through the snarled, bloodied hair of her son, trying desperately to make eye contact.  And then….