Friday, June 12, 2009

The Nobility in Need

The Bible is incisive and deep, and no less ‘alive.’ It brings fresh living meaning to the words and verses and chapters in ways we’d barely even be aware of. How can it be that quite basic principles can come home afresh like this?

The principle of nobility has captivated me for some time; nobility is mainly associated with royalty but as a virtue it is very confused. Do you know anyone who’s noble? What do they do that characterises them as noble?

Most people will think of the high-minded or at least those with high moral values as being representative of noble demeanour.

But there’s another way of looking at nobility--and it’s the Bible that brings forth the essence of this new meaning. “Nobility is childlikeness--the refusal to make claims of nobility for oneself.”[1] Jesus, in Matthew 18, admonishes those in his presence that to enter the kingdom of heaven (the state and not simply the place) we must receive it as a child, without bias or hesitation.

To illustrate, the Bereans in Acts 17 were said to be of more noble character than the Thessalonians as “they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Verse 11)

This unreserved eagerness and devotion to search out the truth resembles how children play; without question or delay and with freedom from restraint.

I’ve read, listened to and studied Acts 17 in various different ways, like other parts of the Bible; yet this verse came alive for me just recently--in this fresh way.

Better than that, this one verse encapsulates what Jesus meant in Matthew 18 about what it means to be biblically noble. It is to have need. It is to be “open to learn from God what he wishes to teach and receive from God what he wishes to give,” nothing less and nothing more.[2]

Fancy re-visiting childhood… spiritually? That is too big a challenge for most it seems…

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] Ajith Fernando, The NIV Application Commentary: Acts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1998), p. 469.
[2] Fernando, Ibid, p. 469.

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