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Get Behind Me

The term band-wagon first appeared in 1849. This initial meaning referred to a large wagon used to carry the band in a circus procession. Theodore Roosevelt used bandwagon in his writings in the context of politics, “attaching oneself to anything that looks likely to succeed.” Modern day sports talk hosts have adopted bandwagon as a label to highlight fair weather fans. When a local team over achieves, the bandwagon becomes full. However, when a successful team gets off to a slow start, many quickly jump off the bandwagon.

Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also]. 25 For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting], Matthew 16:24-25.

A Jewish disciple explores what it means to truly get behind Jesus. This chapter provides examples of what to do and what not to do. One individual becomes a hero and a goat in a matter of seconds. However, this is what happens when you are not slow to speak, blurting out whatever enters your mind. The context of the passage begins with an open ended question as Jesus asks, “who do people say that I am?” After receiving a few replies, Jesus changes the question to “what do you think?” After Peter correctly identifies Jesus as the promised Messiah, he then proceeds to attempt to stop Jesus from fulfilling God’s will.

Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! 23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men, Matthew 16:22-23.

When God or life doesn’t make sense, this is when human beings tend to improvise. Since Peter thought Jesus would become an earthly king, he refused to believe that his mentor was born to become a living sacrifice. When justice doesn’t prevail and evil triumphs, your allegiance is tested. Just to qualify to become one of Jesus’ disciples involves taking extreme measures. While everyone will wobble from time to time due to uncertainty, your actions will determine who’s side you are on. May the Holy Spirit bring clarity to any confusion so you get behind the right side.

by Jay Mankus

The Tyranny of Things of Space

If you study Old English. tyranny is an expression used to describe a cruel and oppressive government. Whenever people in authority exert undemocratic rule, employ an unreasonable amount of force or suppress the rights of their citizens, rebellion, revolts and uprisings follow.  People who survive war or escape tyranny tend to turn to the Bible for answers in life.  Perhaps, this may explain why the Bible is the greatest selling book of all time.

“No other book of any kind ever written in English has ever so affected the whole life of a people,” Theodore Roosevelt in 1911.

Theodore Roosevelt is one of four presidents whose face is on Mount Rushmore.  The other three presidents are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln.  After his tenure as the 26th president of the United States, 1901-1909, Roosevelt made a profound statement about the Bible.  While the context of this quote is unclear, Roosevelt understood the power that the living Word of God has on the ability to transform human lives.

“Six days a week we live under the tyranny of the things of space; on the Sabbath we try to become attuned to holiness in time,” Abraham Joshua Heschel from The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man, 1951.

Forty years later, Abraham Heschel explored the Bible to make the connection between freedom and the Sabbath.  Depending upon your work schedule, life is filled with monotony, the mundane and tedious tasks that typical occupations require.  Thus, the tyranny of the things in space is a human being running through the rat race called life without any purpose and reason.  However, when you apply biblical principles to keep the Sabbath holy, becoming attuned to God, helps souls see how everything else in life is so insignificant.  When faith is exercised daily, the Sabbath isn’t merely one day of the week, its a lifestyle that enable Christians to escape the tyranny of the things of space.

by Jay Mankus

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