Why worship Jehovah...?
... because He sees and blesses our hidden qualities
A Greeting from the Heart
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but Jehovah is the examiner of hearts.
Proverbs 17:3

For lovers of Christ and of God’s unfolding purpose, the approaching anniversary of our Lord’s last supper brings sad thoughts of what was to follow. So here is an account of someone who saw those very events approaching and how he might have been moved to act.


A Shining Reputation
Our Lord had made a truly wonderful impression in Israel. The healings and miracles showed that God’s Own power was passing through him – a delight for a nation under the heel of Rome – and his words lifted a weight from the shoulders of the oppressed. But not everyone was pleased…


Matthew records how the crowd were astonished at his way of teaching. He taught the Law as one who had created it and understood its Divine purpose. His words were like hearing an explanation sent by God Himself – a sign that this really was the Messiah, the one promised in the Holy Scriptures. In contrast, the ruling classes taught the Law as a control, without understanding or compassion or spirit of the One Who had given it.

The
Last Prophet

  • The last prophet of Mankind’s era, and the powerful message leading to Christ’s return.

Stepping-
Stones

  • God’s route to Mankind's recovery and reconciliation to Him

Climate Crisis
countdown

  1. Decline of the Species
    - predictions and their consequences
  2. Understanding the Signs
    - when clarity is no longer dependent upon analysis
  3. Facing Our Limitations
    - realisation dawns
Seeing this, those rulers began to fear for their positions: it was as if they had imagined the promised Messiah to be something great for Israel – a crowning glory to impress the nations - but not as one who would disturb their authority. By the time Jesus made is last journey toward Judaea, they had already determined that he should be stopped.


Admirers in High Places
Among the ruling classes were younger men – rulers-in waiting. They had a privileged background, but it was their older peers who held the authority. Two- or three-times their age, they were the ones who were bowed to by other rulers. The crème de la crème! the authority in the land, and the younger men were as princes in waiting.


Amongst these young rulers, one in particular had escaped the murmur of disapproval of the Christ. As his superiors debated all around him, he had let his heart wander to the object of their concern. He saw the Christ as beautiful! Surely the envy of all nations! Rome had power, but this man – this man! – was something very special. He fed people from nothing, he healed people who had been born crippled, and his teaching was so refreshing that it seemed like he was talking about a completely different Law of Moses! Truly wonderful!


And yet, his fellow rulers were speaking of arresting him, of trial, even execution. The beauty of this man of God which had lifted the spirits of so many in Israel – the very Messiah - was to be squashed in order to preserve their own rigid authority, just had Herod had tried to do thirty years earlier.


Act of Desperation
Perhaps he had met Jesus in the past, or heard him preach, but soon he would never have the opportunity to speak with him again. He loved God, he loved Israel, he couldn’t let the opportunity go by. So the young ruler learned the route which Jesus would take to Judea for Passover, and he travelled up the eastern side of the Jordan to meet him.


As he approached he fell before Jesus – this young privileged rulers in fine clothes, in full view of all of Jesus’ Galilean disciples. Even though Jesus had prepared them for his trial to come, some of them must have wondered:


“What has prompted this man from the ruling classes to be so desperate?”


And it was desperation! The young man knew Jesus would be arrested, he knew what his fellow rulers had in store for him. So he pleaded:


“Teacher, what good must I do in order to get everlasting life?”


Perhaps he was anticipating the terrible guilt which would be on his peers in a few weeks’ time, and wanted to show himself before God as truly distinct from them.

Who Makes the Call?

  • The roles of religion and of world leaders in the call for God’s intervention.

Milestones
on the Road to Life

  1. Self-Realisation
    - on Mankind’s powers of foresight

  2. Facing the Facts
    - closing a door behind ourselves and facing the future

  3. Call to the Heavens
    - pointing the way to safety
Jesus looked upon him with real love, and hearing that he was indeed a practiser of God’s standards offered him something very precious:


“If you want to be complete, go sell your belongings and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come be my follower.”
Matthew 19:16-22 (Luke 18:18)


What must have passed through that young ruler’s heart! The route to perfection was to join the Messiah to Jerusalem to be executed! Surely it must have troubled him, to lose all he owned and endure the hatred of his peers and family, knowing that his discipleship would last just a few short weeks – and him merely a young man setting out in Jerusalem! It was too much for him to bear, so he went away.


A Lost Opportunity?
With our love of Jesus, we read this account and wonder at the lost opportunity for that young man! And yet, a few weeks later Jesus was horribly executed by his fellow rulers - the lamb of God was slaughtered the day before Passover, just as it had been since the Exodus - and all of Jesus’ own apostles fled for their lives: the same fear, the same concerns as to what the future would hold at the end of this Messainic era.


And perhaps the young man was not completely lost. The Messiah had been killed, yes, and he missed out on a great opportunity, but some of his fellow rulers – respected, older men – had extended themselves for the Messiah. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea did not cower, but showed that they were willing to stand in the face of the anger at that time. They was courageous and they were light-bearers of the Messiah’s real status right there before the Sanhedrin. So perhaps this young ruler’s enthusiasm was not entirely crushed without hope, would be nice to think that this his love for the Son of God was supported and carried forward under their care in the years ahead.


The Decline of the Species

A recent report stated that up to 900 species of birds could become extinct by the end of the century. The article, published in the journal Biological Conservation details many other degradations which would be likely to occur by the same time.


While the loss of 900 species would be terrible, what is really frightening is that it is predicated on a 3.5°C temperature rise. The 0.6°C rise of the 20th century was seen as huge; at the UN conference on climate change in 2009, Lumumba Di-Aping declared that a 2° rise would mean certain death for Africa; and other sources strongly suggest that 2°C should be the maximum rise if we are to avoid runaway global warming.
To prevent runaway global warming, science recommends that we keep CO2 levels (currently 387ppm and rising) to below 400ppm by 2050 in order to keep warming to a "mere" 2° Celsius by the end of the century.
The fact that this article is basing its predictions on a 3.5°C rise gives hints that limiting temperature rises to the 2°C limit may already be beyond our reach, even at this early stage in the century.


If the headline were to state how many peoples would become extinct - those hidden casualties behind the headline - it might have caused more of a stir. 2°C means “certain death” for Africa, so what will 3.5°C mean?!


What will bring our collapse is less the cause and more our reaction - the collapse of civilisation in the face of the changing environment. So perhaps this report can inform us of the state of the environment without giving rise to panic. To dispel rather than merely avoid promting that panic, is easier. The Divine Rescue is the cure to the nemesis of our age, and learning about that rescue will remove our worries about the climate crisis and many other things, no matter how dangerous the environment becomes.