Thursday, May 4, 2017

no unions in the kingdom

Luke 22
(written by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Luke 22:14-30
mark this: Luke 22:31-32 (ESV)
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
I have only been a part of one union in my life.
It was not a good experience for me.
I started off my first job at the now defunct Quality Markets , and automatically became a part of the Local 1 Union (of the UFCW). I had no choice- every Quality employee had to be a member. Basically it meant that I had to pay an initiation fee as well as a small portion of every pay check. As far as I knew, the Union did one thing for me- take my money.
But what really turned me off was when I learned that most of the head officials of the union were indicted for stealing over one million dollars from the union. So that's where all my union dues were headed.
I've got good news for you today- whether you've had a good or bad experience with unions- God does not deal with people in unions (at least not anymore), He deals with individuals. This interchange with Simon Peter makes that clear. Moreover, we find that our English grammar actually hinders what is being said here, because English does not communicate the second person plural that well. (For you English dummies, the 2nd person plural is the equivalent of you all or "yous.")
Here is how Luke 22:31-32 reads when distinguishing what "yous" are singular and what ones are plural:
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you all, that he might sift you all like wheat , but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you, Simon, have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
Here in this story, even before Simon Peter betrays Him, Jesus is giving him personal encouragement. Our amazing Lord is giving Him future grace and strength for when he'll need it the most- after his upcoming betrayal of Jesus. This message was for Peter and Peter alone.
Jesus Christ, in His infinity, works uniquely with each individual person. There are no union deals with God. There is no group rate or plan- no tiers or hire dates. Certainly there's no corrupt union bosses. Each one of us comes to Him on our own or not at all. Each one of us is responsible for our own soul. So don't bother trying to get in the Kingdom under any other means besides your personal and unique relationship with Jesus Christ. He forgives, saves, rescues, redeems, and restores you as an individual--just like Simon.

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