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I want to tell you a story about someone short.  I can identify.  I mean I have to say I’m real happy there are some new year 7s in here because me and Mikayla are no longer the shortest people here!

 

Anyway my story is about this short guy called Zacchaeus.

Now they say that good things come in small packages but that was so not true about Zacchaeus.  He was the chief tax collector in his area and made a living ripping people off.  People didn’t like him very much and defriended him on facebook and didn’t invite him to their parties or out to McDs for a frozen coke.

Anyway he heard that Jesus was in town and for some reason just kinda felt like he should go and see him.  Like everyone else in his town.

Now short people problems here.   No matter where he stood he couldn’t see.   And people wouldn’t move to make way for him.  So he ran ahead and climbed a tree beside so he could see Jesus.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.

 

Did you catch that.  Jesus was walking by the tree, looked up and called Zacchaeus by name.

In the crowd Jesus saw this short guy.  He picked him out.  He knew His name.

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Does anyone here when they watch movies find that they are linking the movie to stuff in the Bible or seeing parallels between the gospel and the characters in the movie?  Just me?

 

How many times have we seen a film where a handful of brave souls take a stand against evil? Consider The Lord of the Rings, where the fellowship is pitted against the forces of Mordor, or the recent Star Wars, which features a light side and dark side.  It’s Xavier vs Magneto.  Autobots vs Decepticons.

One of the most heart-wrenching moments in The Chronicles of Narnia is when Aslan surrenders himself to save Edmund. It’s a horrible, beautiful moment when power of love is on full display.   How many times have we seen one of the good guys give up their life, or think they’re giving up their life, or give up something else important, in order to save the day?  Beauty and the Beast.  Saving Private Ryan.  Batman vs Superman.

We love seeing the underdog win.  We love seeing the flawed hero overcome their struggle to win the day.  We love happy endings.

Cinderella meets her prince charming.

Nemo and his dad are reunited.

Westly and Buttercup get married.

 

Is it also just me that cries in almost every movie they see?  Tangled.   Yes.  Cinderella.  Yes.  Star Trek.  Yes.  Force Awakens.  No.  Seriously.

And this part in Thor.

I think my favourite Marvel movie so far is Thor.   Thor really is awesome!

Thor in the movie is sent to earth because of his pride and arrogance by his father Odin the All Father to learn some humility.

NOT A PARALLEL to the Bible.

Stripped of his super powers and cut off from his home in the heavens he walks as one of us – an extremely ripped version of one of us but still.

Unable to wield his might hammer Thor comes to accept that he is no longer worthy of his esteemed position as the Crown Prince of Asgard (his home world). Yet when we the good people of earth are threatened by The Destroyer (a super powered Asgardian security guard) Thor steps up to face the threat despite his (relatively) feeble form. He is willing to sacrifice himself to save us.

There are obviously many differences between Thor and Jesus but the similarity of the basic story of the Son of God sacrificing himself in order to save us should be familiar to most of us.

Philippians 2:5-11 says this – this is what Jesus did and who Jesus is….

Jesus who, being in very nature[a] God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature[b] of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!   Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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Always moved by this creative presentation of the gospel

God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son. And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God. You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. Colossians 1:19-22

 

I cast my mind to Calvary
Where Jesus bled and died for me.
I see His wounds,His hands, His feet.
My Saviour on that cursed tree

His body bound and drenched in tears
They laid Him down in Joseph’s tomb.
The entrance sealed by heavy stone
Messiah still and all alone

O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God

And then on the third at break of dawn,
The Son of heaven rose again.
O trampled death where is your sting?
The angels roar for Christ the King

O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God

He shall return in robes of white,
The blazing Son shall pierce the night.
And I will rise among the saints,
My gaze transfixed on Jesus’ face

O praise the name of the Lord our God
O praise His name forever more
For endless days we will sing Your praise
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God
Oh Lord, oh Lord our God

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Jesus breathed His final words on the cross: “It is finished.” Bowing his head, He gave up His Spirit. ^John 19:30

After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples, showing them His nail scarred hands. And with that, He breathed on them and spoke: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” ^John 20:22

His breath gives us life.

Breathe in God’s Word, grace, and Spirit.
Then breathe out your praises to Him.
Each and every day.

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“But the gospel transforms us so our self-understanding is no longer based on our performance in life. We are so evil and sinful and flawed that Jesus had to die for us. We were so lost that nothing less than the death of the divine Son of God could save us. But we are so loved and valued that he was willing to die for us. The Lord of the universe loved us enough to do that! So the gospel humbles us into dust and at the very same time exalts us to the heavens. We are sinners but completely loved and accepted in Christ at the same time. … He saw your heart to the bottom and loved you to the skies.” Tim Keller

Again a fairly new song to me – but wow, the challenge to draw near to Jesus and to live wholeheartedly in response to His great love for us…

 

 

This is a new song that I came across one day.  Love it!  Love the call for us to turn our eyes towards Jesus and away from distractions, to be devoted to Jesus and His ways!

 

Turn my eyes to see you Jesus, in all your glory

Turn my heart to seek your wonder of how you love me

Oh my God, forever you reign

Here and now

Hear the sound of your name

Jesus, there is none more beautiful than Jesus

There is no more powerful than the risen Christ

Centre my life on your name

 

 

How deep is God’s love for us?

Everlasting.

Wide.

High.

Eternal.

Never ending.

Forever.

Unfathomable.

Relentless.

Amazing love, that held Jesus on the cross, paying for my sin, setting me free.

 

 

I love songs about Jesus.

I love songs that are love songs to Him.

This one expresses my heart.

 

Holy is the Lord revealed before my eyes
And my burdened heart can scarcely take it in
As I behold your beauty with unworthy eyes
The only song my soul can find to sing
Is Hallelujah Hallelujah Hallelujah my King

 

 

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