August 12 / Proverbs 12 / Mark 15

centurion confession

Proverbs 12:3

Doing evil brings no safety at all, but the root of the righteous will not be disturbed.

“One of the marked differences between the faith of our fathers as conceived by the fathers and the same faith understood and lived by their children is that the fathers were concerned with the root of the matter, while their present-day decedents seem concerned only with the fruit.
 This appears in our attitude toward certain great Christian souls whose names are honored among the churches, as, for instance, Augustine and Bernard in earlier times, or Luther and Wesley in times more recent. Today we write the biographies of such as these and celebrate their fruit, but the tendency is to ignore the root out of which the fruit sprang [Pr.12:12]. Our fathers looked well to the root of the tree and were willing to wait with patience for the fruit to appear. We demand the fruit immediately even though the root may be weak and knobby or missing altogether.”  -A.W. Tozer
Focus on the root not the fruit.
We tend to focus on the surface-at what is seen. The fruit. Of unseen labors.
Understandable.
It’s sexy.
But we must look more at what is beneath-that which is the cause of the visible.
If you want to replicate a tree, you don’t begin with the leaves and branches, trying to arrange them in your yard to be a tree. You start with the seed. Underground.
If you want to be Jesus, as we are called to be, you don’t just set out to go do the things He did. You start with intimate connection to the Father, and grow into the unique “tree” you are to be from the Seed.
As we watch these summer Olympics, we realize that if we got the crazy idea to compete in the games at that level, we would not start by doing that which we see on the surface–entering the competition straightaway and performing as a champion. We would start with the unseen–hardcore training under a knowledgeable, experienced coach.

Mark 15:39

Jesus really was the Son of God!

“If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then everything He said must be fully, absolutely true. If He is the Son of God, He would never speak in error. Think of the implications. First, if Jesus’s words are absolute truth, they are the standard by which all other purported truths must be measured. Second, everything Jesus said about you, your life and your circumstances is true. His words describe your life and reveal your immediate and long-term future. To succeed in life, to understand yourself, and to gain wisdom about your present and your future, you need to learn everything Jesus said about you. In that way you will discover what He wants for you and from you.”                            -Steven K. Scott
Think today of the implications on your life, and life in general, if it’s all true….if Jesus truly was sent to earth by the God who created everything we know in order to reveal Himself to us in human form.
The utter ridiculosity of the Gospel is much of what makes it so compelling to me.
There is so much going on with this centurion’s confession here.  Again we see the deep profundity of Scripture–one verse which could take up pages of exposition.
This centurion is the first person in Mark’s gospel to confess Jesus as the Son of God, and his confession is evoked by Jesus’ passion–His suffering and death on the cross. This first confession comes from an outsider, not a relative, disciple, or even a fellow Jew. Therefore it comes from nothing besides the witnessing of this momentous event and being cosmically affected by it.
And it makes little sense in context.
A crucified man goes against everything the Jews expected of a Messiah. It goes against everything the imperial cult of the day expected of  “divine men.” Theology professor James Edwards says, “For the ancients, suffering was not a sign of God’s presence or a channel of redemption, but a categorical refutation of divine election and agency.”
Yet, this captain of the execution squad–the enemy–makes this first profession of faith declaring Jesus as God’s Son. This is too amazing to make up. If you were to invent a god story in the first century, you wouldn’t be writing this stuff. You’d get a big fat “F” in Make Up A Religion 101 class!
A lot of people miss Jesus, and therefore God, probably because they are looking for the powerful supernatural light show in the sky, when God revealed Himself most fully in the suffering servant down here on earth. But I get that. I mean who would naturally think God would make Himself known in stooping solidarity with us, as opposed to fire from the sky, signs, and wonders to force our knees to bend in cowering fear?
This confession of the centurion tells us that the cross is the supreme revelation of Jesus as God’s Son was well as God’s true nature. It is the intersection where God meets humanity. James Edwards again: “Saving confession is not predicated on prior knowledge, proximity to Jesus, or privilege; it is, rather, an act of faith in a divinely revealed act of atonement.”

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