Before I read today’s scripture readings, during prayer, I pictured myself on the steps of the CBC first thing in the morning to reproach the employees as they came in to do their daily propagandizing, spewing disinformation that is maintaining an evil campaign I’ll not get into in this reflection. The Gospel reading was just what the doctor ordered!
Same thing happened a while back: I was imagining myself barging into the Premier’s office talking too loud, looking stern, and flipping furniture. That was day the Gospel reading was Jesus doing the EXACT SAME THING in the Temple!
I didn’t do the deeds that Jesus did in the Temple back then, but I wanted to! Why did Jesus reproach the people of Capernaum? Wasn’t that his “home away from home,” where he went when forced to leave his first home?
He did some amazing stuff in Capernaum, so I can appreciate the grounds he believed he had to reproach them like he did, issuing a severe condemnation and warning on what the inhabitants would suffer as a result of rejecting Him – after hearing and seeing His glory manifested in all he said and did in Capernaum LOTS . Understanding the context, we can appreciate how what Jesus said was not simply an exaggerated rant because Jesus was lamenting their rejection and had it with them, I believe he was dead serious!
Before jumping ahead 2,000 years to reflect on our own situation and how the Gospel applies, we want to see what guidance we can first take from the Gospel by understanding what the words meant fully back then, in that situation. I’m going to start by sharing some background research that I found already largely put together in a great short-form on the significance of Capernaum, got question.org.
I cut and pasted sections, but edited to suit my own purposes.
JESUS AND CAPERNAUM – UNDERSTANDING THE CONTEXT
Capernaum is featured in the New Testament but never mentioned in the Old. It was a city located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, and the chosen home city of Jesus after He was driven from Nazareth by the religious officials (Luke 4:16, 28–30).
Capernaum was also where Peter and Andrew lived, and where Jesus called them to follow Him (Matthew 4:18–20). Jesus also found Matthew hangin out in Capernaum, a tax collector, and called him to follow as well (Matthew 9:9).
Jesus referred to Capernaum often and did many of His miracles there (Matthew 8:5; John 6:17–21). He also taught in the synagogue (John 6:59; Mark 1:21).
It was in Capernaum that Jesus healed the centurion’s son (Matthew 8:5–13), the nobleman’s son (John 4:46–53), Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:30–31), and the paralytic (Matthew 9:1–2). He also cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21–25), raised Jairus’s daughter to life, and healed the woman with the bleeding issue (Mark 5:21–42), all in Capernaum.
REFLECTION ON BEING ‘FAMILIAR’ WITH JESUS
It is human nature to take for granted what we become familiar with: I’ve spoken with tourists who have travelled half-way around the world to see something on PEI that I still haven’t gotten around to checking out – elephant rock, big deal…oh, it’s gone now? Yikes! Missed the boat on that one I guess.
Life is serious business, and the last time I checked the definition, the word “eternity” didn’t have an expiration date.
We may be familiar with Jesus. We may even know a ton about Him. But do we know Jesus?
If we miss the boat getting around to getting to know Jesus – REALLY KNOW – Jesus and become his best friend for life, and not just someone familiar with who He is, well…let’s just say missing out on seeing a now-extinct elephant rock I can get over, fairing out worse than the people in the land of Sodom does not appeal to me at all.
Sodom was wiped off the map with fire from heaven, so, I don’t want to draw conclusions on what “more tolerant for Sodom” might look like, but if there was one land on earth that I’d pick if someone was to ask, “What land are you hoping God is more tolerant with you at the judgment than those inhabitants?”…..just saying.
In the last days, the warnings to the seven churches in Revelations speak of losing one’s “first love” by growing familiar:
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. [Rev. 2:4]
The message to another church, the church in “lukewarm” which is to say – evil – because there is no “half-way” point between giving our heart to God or the Devil:
“I know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!” [Revelations 3:16]
Hard to imagine what that would feel like, being an analogy and all, but like hearing that the final judgment is going to go better for the inhabitants of Sodom….not the kind of thing the sparks joyful expectation for sure!
We may fall, and sin, but we scramble back to the source of life quickly, trusting in the mercy and love of our Lord and Savior AND friend Jesus. We have work to do and they’ll be hell to pay if we don’t show up for work.
We’re saved by Jesus and totally dependent on HIm; however, it is the good pleasure of the Father to bestow the fullness that is in Jesus on us, and it was for that purpose He sent him into the world, to save us from sin and liberate us from a miserable life ending in death and eternal “I’m not feeling so well” with no tylenol to be found anywhere.
DO YOU REALLY KNOW JESUS?
The Capernaums probably thought they knew Jesus, but if you don’t hear and do what Jesus commands, the “oh, yeah…I heard that before” response isn’t going to cut it at the pearlies! That’s the “hearing” part of the equation…it’s the DOING part that ultimately matters, and that involves repentance, conversion from a life of sin and selfishness, and a new life of discipleship following Jesus, doing the work He did, striving to do the Will of the Father as He always did, with the graces and power bestowed on us in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit of Jesus by the Father as he gives us “every good thing,” which is found in Jesus:
“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, with whom there is no change or shifting shadow.” [James 1:17]
Our familiarity with Jesus and His Word – going to church every Sunday, for example – can easily give us a false sense of assurance that we are “right with God,” [I’ve honestly heard, “hell, at least I haven’t killed anybody,” or something similar from people likely in the “lukewarm” category a good few times from people over the years. I wonder at the time how they will deliver that argument when it comes time, when it really matters?
One does want to avoid getting the “shock of one’s eternity” when that day comes, and we struggle to look extra confident as we walk up to the gates and say: “Jesus, my man!!…SOOO good to finally meet you in person,” to which he may respond, or at least that’s how he put it in the parable:
“Away from me, you evildoers! I never knew you”
“Then He [Jesus] will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. for I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ And they too will reply, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then the King will answer, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 7:21–23).
The people of Capernaum heard and saw what Jesus did and said, yet they refused to believe (John 1:12; 12:42). We can only speculate as to why, but familiarity breeds lukewarmness for sure! Why EXACTLY, who can say: would believing would cost them too much? Would it disrupt their comfortable religious life? Would it challenge them to repent of sin and pride, love the unlovely, and give up all to follow (Luke 9:57–62; 4:25–33; John 6:59–66)?
Capernaum had a greater opportunity than most cities to hear and believe in Christ, and the residents would be held to a higher standard of judgment (Luke 10:12; Matthew 11:24). Likewise, we will be judged according to the light we’ve been given (Matthew 5:29; 18:6; Luke 12:42–48). If God doesn’t end up sparing Capernaum due to their lack of faith, He will not spare those today who have heard the message, seen the evidence, and rejected His Son (2 Peter 2:4–10; Hebrews 6:4–6).”
I wasn’t joking even a little bit by opening the way I did with this reflection. I was reviewing something I wrote last August 22, 2020 on how the mRNA technology was most likely going to win the day and be pushed to bypass the many years of trials, and their were many signs (fraudulent) even then suggesting that would transpire. It has.
I’ve been researching, writing and posting information and pleas to be taken seriously to no avail since that time, and now I feel it is too late – despite my (and many other’s) efforts, we’ve been unable to prevent our leaders from poisoning us, and it sadly continues as ALL the evidence for a conviction of Crimes against Humanity are now on the table, and that process proceeds on an international scale, with 1,000 lawyers and 10,000 medical doctors behind the effort.
Yet the injections continue in PEI, with now definitive evidence that MANY people will die from the spike protein attacking our bodies. I will post a video of a doctor from Lytton, British Columbia who is reporting that now 60% of his patients who received the mRNA injections are suffering severe, and in some cases extremely debilitating, health decline. He explains that they are being caused by the spike proteins – trillions of them – produced and lodging in our tiniest capillaries.
And now my heart is just aching for us all – those who blindly trusted our leaders telling us they were safe and we had an obligation to do our part for moral reasons – love of neighbour. But a complete refusal to understand that we can’t know how to love if we hate and block our access to truth.
There’s still 70 percent who haven’t received the injections, so we need to keep telling the truth, but it is almost to difficult to tell, and I’m already receiving messages from Islanders telling me of friends and neighbours who are looking at the evidence that I’ve shared on social media, and are now terrified at what they allowed to be put in their bodies and what lies ahead, given the dire prognosis many leading scientists are (themselves reluctantly) providing.
The sense of betrayal these Islanders are feeling, especially when they consider they encouraged their own teenagers to get the mRNA injections, is beyond words and more on the shock, then crazed level. I’m getting frantic Islanders seeking guidance on what they can do to “undo” what can’t be undone (I’ll post one such message later) and it breaks my heart to stare at my messenger app, tapping my fingers, but in a “what now?” nervous tick kind of way, not typing words, which I can’t find to type.
It’s easy to get angry; however, we can’t forget what St. Paul said:
“My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save your souls.” [James 1:20-22].
The key word there is “humbly accept the word”…. humility and truth are the antidote to reckless anger.
The only time Jesus said to his disciples – who were having a tough time understanding His teachings, so it’s surprising only once – “learn from me!” He said that for their benefit, because if they did, they would find “rest for their souls.” To experience that rest, it is necessary to be “meek and humble of heart.” What does that mean?
To be meek and humble of heart is to be completely surrendered to the Will of God, pliable in his hands like putty in the hands of a potter:
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” [Isaiah 64:8].
It is to live by the Will of the Father, in imitation of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit, conscious at all times that all that is good is from God, and all good in us, and all good we and for which we receive praise must honestly and gratefully be given to God as praise and thanksgiving for His great glory.
Familiarity with Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean “Friend” or “family”. We all said this about a family member – an aunt or uncle perhaps: “I guess I never really knew her/him;” despite tons of family gatherings and hours of small-talk with the person.
“GOD, MOST HOLY TRINITY…we ask that you intervene with your great power and might and bestow your goodness on us, heal our suffering situation, dispel the darkness of deception with the light of your truth, illuminate the minds of our leaders, give their hearts courage, and compel them by the mighty arm of your justice to serve your children by standing against the great evil that has come upon us.
Jesus, once again we look to you to be our travel companion – front seat, behind the wheel – this day to give us clarity on what it is you would say and do to magnify the glory of God for others.
Holy Spirit, give us the power and gifts we need to be courageous enough to say what Jesus would say and do, and the inspiration and remembrance of what in Jesus we most need to see and hear to best help those we encounter this day.” Amen.
…And when the Prince of the shepherds appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. But the God of all grace, Who has called us unto His eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself, after we have suffered a little while, perfect, strengthen and establish us. To Him is the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save your souls.” [James 1:20-22].
The key word there is “humbly accept the word”…. humility and truth are the antidote to
Kevin : I thought of my Grandfather with these words who at 16 joined the British army and was shot , bayoneted left to die in a shell hole , lived, immigrated to Canada, married raised 5 children through the depression, never complained, calm in hard times , taught me values, the foundation of western culture that has been eroded to this point in time. A neighbor, a nurse at our local small town hospital told me years after he had passed of Gramps who had become a orderly was the one who took care of the vets , and others , down and out that where dirty, sick that usually had no family or friends and he was the one who bathed them, shaved them and cut their hair. VALUES .
Thank you Kevin