The Advent Part 17
Although some do not see it as such, I see the words of the angels of the Lord spoke to the disciples as being a light rebuke. ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?’ Within the same breath however, within the same sentence, the angels also gave the disciples great comfort, strength and hope. For the second time in this chapter, the disciples are rebuked. First, by Christ Himself when they, looking toward earth, and the things of this earth inquired of Him when He would restore the kingdom to Israel, something they were told was not for them to know, but only for the Father to know, and second, by the angels that stood beside them.
During this second rebuke, they no longer looked to earth, or to the things of this earth, but rather they were gazing up into heaven. So how could this be? It is understandable that we be rebuked when we are consumed with the things of this earth, but what could be so wrong as to merit a rebuke from the angels of the Lord in gazing up into heaven?
In essence it has everything to do with how they were gazing up into heaven, rather than the fact that they were doing so. When we gaze upon the things of God as we would the things of this earth, from a selfish standpoint, seeking only our individual salvation, being concerned only with ourselves and with our own patch of dirt all the while indifferent to everything and everyone else, then yes, we are deserving of rebuke. We must look to Christ through the prism of His heart, His eternal Plan, His desire for unity within the Body, His work here on earth through us, and not through the prism of self.
The ‘what’s in it for me’ mentality is running rampant within the house of God, we have even made a doctrine out of it, and countless souls have embraced it with the zeal of a drowning man embracing a life preserver. The ‘what’s in it for me’ doctrine is known by many names, but the most popular name it is known by is the doctrine of prosperity.
‘Come to Jesus and He’ll give you stuff. Come to Jesus and He’ll make you rich, and popular, and healthy and happy and well adjusted. It’s all about you and what Jesus can do for you.’
But it’s not all about us, and it’s not about what Jesus can do for us, it’s all about Him and what He has already done for us. What more could we ask of Christ than what He has already given for you and for me? He shed His blood, He hung on a cross, He died in unimaginable pain all so that you and I could be reconciled unto God. There is nothing greater than this precious gift, there is nothing more valuable that God can bestow upon an individual than what has been freely bestowed upon mankind on the cross.
It is tragic, and sad, and in my opinion even slightly blasphemous to disregard what Jesus has done, to disregard the supreme sacrifice of the Son of God, and demand that He fill our wallets and clear our acne and straighten our teeth.
‘Well, yes, Jesus died, that’s all well and good but what about my Rolex, and my Mercedes, and my summer chalet in the Hamptons?’
Shame on us for not realizing the true worth of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf; shame on us for minimizing and disregarding what it is that He did for us on the cross; shame on us for putting the things of this earth before the eternal ones, and for having our gaze perpetually fixed only on the material rather than the spiritual.
We are mesmerized by the material, consumed by it, devoted to it, worshipful of it, while it is slowly but surely slipping away, like sand through our fingers, and the more we try to clutch it and hold it close, the more it seems to be evaporating before our very eyes. What hollow hearts, what empty souls, what purposeless existence, to surrender our hearts to passing trivial things, while ignoring the eternal and lasting. We pass Jesus by every day and don’t give Him a second thought, because we are so transfixed with the bright, shiny, worthless trinkets of this world.
Even though the things of this world are passing and dying, even though that which once burned bright is but a flickering ember, we still pursue them with abandon all the while neglecting He whose blood would ready wash us and make us clean, He whose breath would readily restore us and make us whole, and He whose reward to those who remain faithful until the end will be beyond what we can presently imagine in our limited understanding.
The hour is late, Jesus is coming, and He will come in like manner as the disciples saw Him go into heaven, yet we are still distracted and disjointed and divided, we are still pursuing our own kingdoms and our own glory, putting off repentance and righteousness and holiness unto God because we have more pressing matters to contend with.
1 John 3:2-3, “Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
So who will see Him as He is? Those who are children of God! Because we have this hope, that not only will we see Him as He is but we shall be like Him, we purify ourselves just as He is pure. We are active in our faith, we are active in our worship, we are active in our obedience, and we are active in our service. We are not indifferent, we are not negligent, and we are not distracted by the things of this world.
Philippians 3:8-9, “But indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.