Posts Tagged ‘Masks’

Matthew 15:12 – THE UNMASKED CRUSADER AND THE SCANDAL OF GRACE

KNOXIE, THE MASKED CRUSADER

KNOXIE, THE MASKED CRUSADER

My wife writes in her blog called life-times-two, “This morning my 2 yr old grandson, Knoxie, came to me and asked for my help. He was trying to put a mask on his face. Knoxie’s toybox has all manner of superhero masks, but this wasn’t one of them. This morning Knox had found a different kind of mask to wear. It was one of those masks you are given on aeroplanes to help you sleep. He had the right idea about placing this mask across his face, but he just couldn’t manage to get the elastic bands over his forehead and positioned around the back of his head. So I bent down and helped out. “There you go!” I said as I stood up. Knoxie turned around, poised to walk off down the hall.

“You can’t walk around with that on Knoxie,” I said, “You’ll bump into something.” “No, Nanny”, was his response as he set off down the hall. It came as no surprise that about 5 seconds later I heard – THUMP! Followed by –  “WAHhhhh….” The Masked Crusader had hit the wall. I found him sitting on the floor in tears, still masked. I picked him up, hugged him and repeated my earlier advice, “Knoxie, you can’t walk around with that mask on. You’ll bump into something.” Taking the mask off his poor little head, I put him down on the floor and looked at the egg that had appeared on his forehead.

Still sniffling, he took the mask out of my hand and attempted to put it back on, once again asking my help. So I obliged, repeating the same warning, with added emphasis. “Now don’t walk around Knoxie or you’ll bump into something again.” “No Nanny,” came the reply, again. Off he went. Before I could stop him he tripped over the pram which was lying in the hall. And this time he cried even louder. One of those I’m seriously hurt cries. I went over and picked him up. My poor little masked crusader cried like his heart would break. He buried his little face (still masked) into my neck and sobbed. I felt his pain. Tears welled up in my own eyes … but I’m rather ashamed to say at this point that the tears flowing from my eyes were not the result of empathy. Rather they were caused by a desperate attempt to stifle an incredibly irresistible urge to laugh hysterically. Heartless grandmother… So funny, yet so sad.” (http://life-times-two.blogspot.com.au/) 

Knoxie, the Masked Crusader reminds me of a more serious blindness that Jesus confronts in Matthew 15:13-14. The disciples are concerned that the Pharisees (Religious Leaders) are offended by what Jesus is teaching (Matthew 15:12 NLT) but Jesus makes it worse. He says, “They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch” (Matthew 15:13-14 NLT). They have an inevitable destiny with a ditch, and to align myself with them is to align myself with their destiny.

2 Corinthians 4:4 (NLT) says “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

John 3:18-21 (NLT) says that to follow Christ is to have 20/20 vision and walk in the light. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s One and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” 

Better to be an Unmasked Crusader. We get our word “scandalised” from the original word translated as “offended”. Are you offended by Jesus like the Pharisees, blinded to the truth of the ditch? The invitation Jesus gives is to be unmasked and to see instead the offence of the Cross. Songwriters Matt Crocker and Joel Houston from our Church home @Hillsong have written these beautiful words,

THE SCANDAL OF GRACE

Grace, what have you done?
Murdered for me on that cross
Accused in absence of wrong
My sin washed away in Your blood

Too much to make sense of it all
I know that Your love breaks my fall
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live…

Death, where is your sting?
Your power is as dead as my sin
The cross has taught me to live
In mercy, my heart now to sing

The day and it’s trouble shall come
I know that Your strength is enough
The scandal of grace, You died in my place
So my soul will live

Chorus:

Oh to be like You
(To) Give all I have just to know You
Jesus, there’s no one besides You
Forever the hope in my heart
 

It’s all because of You Jesus!

Pastor Ross

 

Part 3 – Genesis 18:1-15 – WHO WERE THOSE MASKED MEN, ANYWAY?

Who were those masked men, anyway?

Some of you would have no idea of who I am talking about when I speak of the LONE RANGER. He is way before your time and he doesn’t fit into our culture anymore. Pity. He had a strict moral code and even the actor, Clayton Moore, was a great ROLE MODEL for children.

Actually, the Lone Ranger was rarely alone. He hung around with his Indian sidekick Tonto). He rode a WHITE STALLION (I never liked the white stallion as much as Zorro’s Tornado. I guess I liked the black look. I still wear black, but without the cape and mask. They seem to suit Antonio Banderas better).

Anyway, the Lone Ranger would be introduced each episode with the tune of the WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE (then Robin Hood got in on the act and used the same theme music). Towards the end of each episode, as the Lone Ranger galloped away towards the sunset, he would shout to his stallion “Hi-yo, Silver, away!” No-one ever asked what “HI-YO” meant or why he said it, but this was inevitably followed by someone asking “Who was that masked man, anyway?”

And that’s the question I find myself asking when I get to Genesis 18. Abraham meets with 3 men with SECRET IDENTITIES. He doesn’t even ask them who they are? All we know is that they are more powerful than either Zorro or the Lone Ranger and their theme tune would more appropriately be HANDEL’S MESSIAH.

Genesis 18:1-2 (NLT) mysteriously speaks of 3 men who visit Abraham. WHO ARE THESE MASKED MEN? (OK, so they are not wearing literal masks but their real identities are masked from us. Who are they?) I know that One of them is the Lord Himself in human form from later on in the passage, but WHY THREE? The Lord and two angels? The Lord and two prophets? The Trinity in human form? Did the Lord need witnesses concerning the promises He was about to make with Abraham and then the judgment He inflicted on Sodom?

This is all a bit weird and Abraham starts to act even more weird, bowing down, washing their feet, feeding them and waiting on them like a servant before he even asks them who they are and what they are doing here. Even then he doesn’t ask the questions I am dying to ask. He had to be interested, surely? 

The visitors seem more interested in asking the questions and after Abraham waits on them like a servant and provides a barbeque lunch, they ignore him and ask about his wife, calling her by name (Genesis 18:9). How did they know Abraham’s wife was Sarah? And why are they so interested in his wife anyway?

Then comes the bombshell!

In Genesis 18:10 one of them says, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!” Now this is a nice positive word to leave with a couple to encourage them when they have been trying to have a child, but it’s a bit cruel to say to a couple who are BEYOND CHILD BEARING AGE and have always wanted children of their own. They don’t know Abraham’s wife. SHE IS 90 YEARS OLD! Abraham himself is certainly no spring chicken!

“Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent. … she laughed silently to herself…” (Genesis 18:12). I mentioned this story to some women in their 90’s the other day (I work in an aged care facility) and THEY LAUGHED TOO!

In 2006 CBS News reported on a 62-year-old woman, Janise Wulf, who “gave birth to a healthy 6-pound, 9-ounce baby boy, becoming one of the oldest women in the world to successfully bear a child.” CBS didn’t mention Sarah.

In Genesis 18:14 the Lord says, “IS ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR THE LORD?”

The answer to that question is “NO.” It is the most important question in the Bible in a way. It needed to be answered by Sarah as she took a step of faith in believing God. It’s a more important question than “WHO WERE THOSE MASKED MEN, ANYWAY?” or “How did they hear Sarah laugh? Why did they eat a meal if they are angels?” and all the other questions I have about that passage. When it all comes down to it, the really important thing I need to decide about the Lord is whether He is TOTALLY ABLE to direct my life or not. When I get that right then I have acknowledged that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life.

God bless you Church as you acknowledge today that “He is able” as the old song says, “more than able to accomplish what concerns me today. He is able more than able to handle anything that comes my way. He is able more than able to do much more than I could ever dream. He is able more than able to make me what He wants me to be” (© 1989 Maranatha Praise Inc.)

Pastor Ross