2 Thessalonians 2
√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken
[NCV] 9 The Man of Evil will come by the power of Satan. He will have great power, and he will do many different false miracles, signs, and wonders.
[MSG] 15-17 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
This chapter is heavy with emphasis on the power of sin to create instability in all of creation and humanity in particular. The work of “the man of evil” isn’t much of a secret for us anymore. Our challenge is capturing this truth: God is still at work in the midst of the instability.
That made me think of this illustration.
The Illustration reminds me of a camera tripod. The tripod has those three legs that reach out beyond the solid center post to provide the stability necessary to support the weight that central post holds.
That Godly tripod supports the full weight of truth: the camera of God’s word. We are His photographers. That’s the combination that makes it possible for us to “take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high,” stabilized and able to capture Paul’s vision for our lives: “May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.
Bartimaeus is sitting by the side of the road begging so an approaching crowd is good but when he hears Jesus is with them he begins to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
*49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
*51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him
*52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
I forgot to add my tag to The Red Thread last Sunday but it would have been something to do with eyesight because I saw a connection between the vision of James and John and blind Bartimaeus. There’s more than one kind of blindness.
It was interesting that Jesus asked the exact same question in both of these stories; “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus really wanted them to focus on their answer to his question. James and John’s vision was of a shared glory. Bartimaeus only knew his vision was dependent on Jesus. Both were responses of faith but are they either/or options?
Instead of making it an either/or option I wonder if the point of these two stories following one another is to show they don’t compete with but complete one another? It’s a new vision of what a whole [holy] person looks like, complete with total dependence AND shared glory.
2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
John 15: 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
My answer to Jesus’s question? I want the complete package, please.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
This would be a perfect world if verse 8 could only be true. Post-election the exact opposite seems to be the case in our nation. It’s a dangerous truth right now. There doesn’t seem to be bottom line of thought from which to begin to work toward agreement let alone imagine like-mindedness. I’m caught trying to figure out who’s the enemy in this whole mess.
There’s an enemy at work, for sure, but contrary to the evidence of the emotional response to this election, it’s not of our making. Evil is the enemy. It’s an enemy that’s chosen to wreak havoc among us. It’s an enemy that’s clever enough to know how to do just that; by wearing the disguise of the choice you “didn’t” want. Either choice!
This enemy is afraid of the truth of these two verses. Verse 8 is God’s vision of what he’d like us to be, and verse 9 is reality of how to see through the enemy’s disguise to get there. When you can’t stand what’s happening, kneel.