Oct 28, 2014 - Faith, Worship    4 Comments

WHAT CAUSES YOU TO CELEBRATE?

While I was studying the book of Matthew, for my last two posts, I was struck by something I hadn’t noticed before. As I read the account given by Matthew, of Jesus’ baptism, I was somewhat puzzled by the people’s reaction or should I say lack there of?

Matthew 3:16-17
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like imagea dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.

This portion of scripture ends chapter three of Matthew and then we go right into chapter four where Jesus is lead into the wilderness to be tempted. I don’t know about you but it seems like this was a great occasion to worship almighty God. And yet, there is no mention of anything resembling worship in this account from Matthew, or for that matter, any of the other gospels.

Let me see if I got this right, I said to myself as I was studying this out. You mean to tell me that … Jesus rises up out of the water and the people witness the Holy Spirit descending upon Him as a Dove … the heavens open up to acknowledge it … and the very voice of Almighty God speaks … yet there is no mentioning of anybody falling to their knees in awe of God? There is no mention of John or anyone else’s reaction to this miraculous event? Did the crowd of witnesses just go on about their merry way as if this was no big deal?

Now, perhaps the people there were confused by all they had just seen. They thought that John the Baptist might be the Messiah. Luke 3:15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah.

But even so, to see something so powerful, so supernatural, and not be taken over by the sheer awe of it … how can that be? How do we miss what’s right in front of us? Oh! How we would all do well to read the scriptures with the fullness of heart so that we may truly know what to celebrate and when to celebrate. Maybe if one or two people had fallen on their knees others might have followed suit. I say this because isn’t that just what happens for most us? We wait to see what others will do. Or, we miss what’s right in front of us. Let’s take a look at an Old Testament scripture from the book of Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 5:21-23 Here this, you foolish and senseless people, you have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear. Should you not fear me? Declares the Lord. “Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.” But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away.

If our hearts are not attuned to God we’ll miss who He is and the only true thing worth celebrating – Him. I thought this would be a good message to share this week since many families, including Christians ones, will participate in Halloween on Friday. imageBut how many know what Halloween is truly about? Halloween looks a lot different today then it did centuries ago. But don’t be fooled by the cute pumpkins or seemingly harmless ghoulish characters. This celebration is rooted in occultism and evil. Halloween is a pagan practice that throughout the centuries has been influenced by various cultures. Even Christians in the Middle Ages compromised and accepted some of these practices in an effort to win converts. In the 1800s America was flooded with immigrants who brought their varies Halloween customs with them. In the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween became thought of as a secular, but community-centered holiday with attempts to limit vandalism often associated with some of the pagan practices. Today many consider Halloween just an innocent holiday and something fun to celebrate. But shouldn’t we make sure we know and understand what we’re celebrating? Especially when what we choose to celebrate may be taking away from our celebration and worship of the Lord.

To read about Jesus’ baptism and think, “Wow, the people standing there missed out on a chance to celebrate by worshipping God,” is powerful. But maybe even more powerful and applicable for us today is to think about all the fruitless, meaningless, pointless stuff we choose to focus on and celebrate with no thought as to why. So let’s think about it … celebrating Halloween is about celebrating DEATH and to celebrate God is to celebrate LIFE! In listening to a very revered pastor, Charles Stanley, I heard him share, It’s all about choice. But don’t enter into your choices ill-advised. I hope this week’s post gets you thinking and researching for yourself, not just about celebrating Halloween, but about all the things you choose to celebrate.

4 Comments

  • Man Billy you hit it on the head again! Look at all the events the Catholic church has with statues around the world with blood or a blood like substance come from the eyes of the virgin mary People travel from all over to worship Her.. Makes you wonder why just the presents of the Holy Spirit coming down on Jesus didn’t knock them to their knees , Let alone a voice coming from Heaven. But we are a people who are so easily deceived, everything in us cries out that there is a God . Yet are carnal nature wins out many times to worship the creature rather than the Creator

  • Your post is so right about celebration i.e. while we should celebrate and appreciate, we are too often mixed up about the 5 W’s of who, what, when, where, why and how much we celebrate. I don’t think the mix up has changed over the years. I’d like to think I would be so worshipful and praising God every time if I was present at the time and places when I read how God awesomly manifested Himself with the Hebrews as a close cloud by day, a pillar of fire at night, opened up a sea, earthquaked the ground in front of me and it swallowed scores of the rebellious, water out a rock, a month worth of quail to eat drop out of the sky in a desert area, Manna drops another time out the sky , etc…. However, since this was not All nor Everyone’s response then I think I may have not been a perfect responder either. It’s easy to read after it it all and after God’s response to their response and their outcomes and call them block heads but I’m learning be slow on judgement. In John’s case He wrote he knew The Messiah was coming but he “did not know Him”, just that the sign was Holy Spirit would physically identify Him 1:31. Furthermore, could Jesus have orchestrated an environment to keep people in awe little vs. awe some about Him because they had not even heard His Message or experienced His Grace ( kinda like ripping open Christmas gifts without hearing a word from the gifter). Also my man John, seems to have responded with reverence once he figured it out because Matthew wrote John argued with Jesus that Jesus should baptize him but Jesus said obey me. That makes me think we may want to do celebratory acts and moves which is a right attitude, but we really should respond to God with obedience like when Jesus showed three Disciples some of His glory and was bright like the sun and then was talking to Moses and Elijah, who lived centuries before. They were awe struck and Peter said let’s build some holy monuments, do something reverent, but again God said, This is my beloved Son, hear Him, obey Him. Interestingly, the same Peter also expressed right reverence when Jesus showed His greatness and washed His Disciples feet, but Peter said oh no, You won’t wash my feet, to which Jesus responded Peter should obey because it’s right to do at that time. Responding to God with awe is the right attitude and so is obeying what He wants at the time.

  • Thank Chuck, inspite of our sinful nature, Jesus is faithful to foregive us of all unrighteousness if we confess our sin. Amen

  • Thanks, there are so many things to be thankful for and to celebrate, the difference is celebrating them with the right heart and attitude towards God, as you so wonderfully stated.

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