Wednesday, March 25, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 77)

Jesus said, “Or look at it this way: suppose someone’s son were to ask them for a bread-roll; surely there’s not a person among you who would give him a stone, is there? Or if he were to ask for a fish, they wouldn’t give him a snake, would they?”
— Matthew 7:9-10 (USC)
We are good, aren’t we, for our children?
That is a very controversial statement. In actuality, it’s an aspiration for many, an achievement for some, and just a faint hope for others. But everyone who loves wishes the best for their children. Not a single parent who loves their child knowingly allows ill in their lives, unless to do so would be to respect boundaries i.e. the approach to adult children.
We are good, aren’t we? We want the best for our kids, don’t we? Don’t we give to them what they want or need? We don’t like to allow pain in their lives. Even if to withhold from them what they want, their railing against it causes us pain, though we pretend it not. We are embarrassed in public. We get frustrated in private.
If there is anything that will make responsible persons of us it is to have a child. Our love for our children and grandchildren coerces us into growing up. And if we don’t grow up the task is made harder and our children risk dereliction.
As responsible adults we are charged with the opportunity of giving someone what they need or want. We cannot always do such a thing. If such a thing isn’t good for them at the time, we withhold. Sometimes we have no power over the giving or withholding and the decision is easier.
Jesus’ point is made in the pure nature of humanity’s interest in its progeny. We cannot be uninvolved with our offspring and hope that our lives will work out well.
And these two verses are purely the precursor to the next verse (day 78).
We might say we are good, but on a heavenly standard we are evil. But more on that in the next instalment. This is not to say our evil is ‘evil’, but to say how abundantly good is God’s good?
We would never think of giving our loved ones something bad for them. But we are so far from the goodness of God that the good things we do give pale into insignificance compared the resplendent majesty in God’s good gifts.
1.     We have faith in ‘good’ people, but why is it so hard to trust God who is ‘good’ on an entirely higher plane?
2.     What is it that you’ve given your children or those that depend on you, and they’ve seen a stone or a snake? How did it feel? What did you do differently in response?
3.     Where do you think Jesus is heading in the ensuing verse 11?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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