Flesh and Blood Has Not Revealed This To You

Yesterday, driving back from camp, my 11-year-old disciple was recounting how his group was allowed to choose between adult–led group bible study or self–directed quiet time in God’s word. His group selected quiet time. At some point early in the week, as he was passing through the camp, he found a small piece of paper on the ground that categorized the bible by literature types: Law, History, Wisdom, Poetry, Gospel, Epistles, Prophecy, and Apocalyptic Literature.

Now he and I have been going through this together since he was a small child, but you never know when these things will start to make sense and they will own them themselves. As he contemplated what he wanted to read, he selected the minor prophets (one of my favorite sections of all scripture). When I asked him about anything he may have learned, he said, did you know that if you read these books of prophecy, you can look forward into the books of history and see where they came true.

I asked, can you give me an example?

He said, “the most obvious one was in Zechariah where it talks about a king coming on a donkey; that,” he said, “came true when Jesus rode into Jerusalem as told in all four Gospels (Mark 11:1–11, Matthew 21:1–11, Luke 19:28–44, and John 12:12–19), those are the books of history that show it.”

I asked, to clarify, “was this something someone was leading you through? …did your camp counselor teach you this?”

He said, “No, it was just obvious when I read the minor prophet books.” He then said excitedly, “… and there are others!”

I have seen this on many occasions when people are equipped to study God’s word, in order to know Him and follow Him, they often encounter the living God in their study, who reveals truth to them.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 16:15-17 ESV)

Brothers and sisters, this is why we are instructed to teach our children, to disciple them, so that when God speaks, they have ears to hear him.

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.

(Deuteronomy 6:5-7 ESV)

A Jostled Vessel

Whatever you are overflowing with will spill out

This past weekend, I was talking to my apprentice about character and the great potential it brings, if we were truly surrendered to God. Surrendered as if we were empty vessels. I used vessels in the sense that we have capacity to be poured into and then poured out. Imperfect vessels as we are, without holes (in our faith and character), can contain blessings to God and others, in a way that we can daily be poured out as a drink offereing.

Listening this morning to Ravi Zacharias—one of a few men who’s lives I follow, learning from their faith, wisdom and character—he told a story about a tumultuous time in his family growing up in India. As a part of this story, relating his mothers character, he quoted this part of an Indian proverb:

“Whatever you are overflowing with will spill out”

Easy to understand, right? The little boy in the carpenters’ workshop (pictured) appears to be moving cautiously with a filled vessel (bowl) that serves some purpose (poured or somehow discharged to use) in the shop. If his father or master (pictured) were to back up as the boy went behind, he might bump into him, jostling his hands and potentially causing the bowls contents to spill. The question is, if that bowl is us, what spills out?

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-18; Ephesians 3:19 ESV)

Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
(2 Timothy 2:20-21 ESV)

“…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
(Matthew 12:34-37)

The Disciples’ Apprentice

A medieval baker with his apprentice.
A medieval baker with his apprentice.

Since the news came in 1999 that I would be a father, increasingly as the birth day loomed, I began to soberly consider the responsibility that lay before me. Raise a modern day disciple of Jesus.

As a follower of Christ, I knew the responsibility that was expected of me; however, I was not prepared and mostly unsure, outside of scripture, where to find the real guidance I would need.  After all, isn’t it important that I am prepared to show my son by example the ability that he is to master?

Represented here is the collection of thoughts and practices as I lead my son into and through what it means to be a disciple of Jesus, the saviour of his soul.

“…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(2 Peter 1:5-8 ESV)