Monday, May 31, 2010

Re: Iliad 15 Writing Assignment

Well, I can't seem to deal with the fact that my address to send posts to my blog and my email address are so very similar. But now readers can get an inside look at what we are doing in our home school.

This is an email exchange that I've had with my daughter about an assignment. On the surface you see that we are looking at Homer's Iliad book 15. Once you look below the surface here's the kind of adventure we have in our home school.

1) The assignment, originally due on Friday evening, was put off over the weekend to allow for some other activities which were coming up. We're trying to be flexible yet move along in our work.

2) Sometimes, especially with oral epic, it's nice to listen to a recording of what you are reading.

3) Sometimes when you pick up a public domain text off Project Gutenberg it's easy to misplace it, so the student who needs to find a simile has to retrieve a copy of the text again.

4) Students who use the computers that have been retired from active duty in the household sometimes find they have difficult computing environments. In this case, a fan malfunction is causing unexpected shut-downs with no warning.

5) Assignments that depend on one particular file on one computer that is malfunctioning are extremely frustrating.

6) Confusion in the overall computing environment may ensue, causing the network administrator to reassign a student to a different computer, leave his own comfortable environment, and try to forward emails from a computer really quickly before it shuts down again.

Always something exciting aboard the Marmoset!
Here it is.

On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 12:29 PM, Hannah Spotts <> wrote:
My computer deleted it. I can't find it anywhere. 

On Mon, May 31, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Dave Spotts <> wrote:
Your completed assignment?  Still waiting.

On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 12:25 PM, Hannah Spotts <> wrote:

On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 12:07 PM, Dave Spotts <> wrote:
Here's another copy of the Iliad.

On Thu, May 27, 2010 at 3:50 PM, Dave Spotts <> wrote:

Today we will listen to and read over Iliad book 15.  Once that is done, I want you to find one of the extended Homeric similes.  You'll treat it as a "fable" like you did when you were working on the Progymnasmata.  Read over this page for a refresher on how to deal with the assignment.  You'll retell it in a sort of bare-bones form for me, then you will retell it, adding dialog.  Write well, as you did for Mrs. Marsch.  Do all your editing, proofing, and all that, and get it in to me as a response to this email (in the body or as an attachment) prior to 5:00 p.m. Friday the 28th.  Make sure you file this email as well.  

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

If Facebook, Twitter and Myspace all were destroyed simultaneously, 90% of teenagers in the world would either go insane, go into a coma, or die. If you are one of 10% that would be laughing, post this in your signature. *snickers*

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

If Facebook, Twitter and Myspace all were destroyed simultaneously, 90% of teenagers in the world would either go insane, go into a coma, or die. If you are one of 10% that would be laughing, post this in your signature. *snickers*

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

Sunday, May 30, 2010

No sermon post for Trinity Sunday 2010

Well, after a week full of a seminary class on Monday, a migraine on Tuesday, a brief extra trip on Wednesday, another migraine on Thursday, constant headache warnings on Friday and Saturday, and a flurry of activity involving the end of a school year, I don't have a written out sermon.  I do have hand-jotted notes and I found them quite edifying :)... 

As we move into the summer months I expect my desire to execute a well-developed written sermon will come to fruition.  Without all those classes to teach hopefully I can get myself a little ahead on preparation so it isn't constantly a mad scramble at the end.

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

Friday, May 28, 2010

Parody on church growth movement

This is decidedly NOT what I'd like to emulate if the Lord places me in a congregation as the pastor..

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sermon for Pentecost 2010

Greetings in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


It is in this Name that we assemble – the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  And it is by that Name that we are adopted into God's kingdom, in the Name and authority of the triune God we confess.  We've seen this idea of the Trinity at various times throughout today's worship.


What are we, in fact, doing when we assemble in this way?  Are we saying that we believe in three gods?  We are not saying this at all.  We confess there is one God in three persons.  We boldly proclaim that we are trinitarian.  We believe and confess that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are one Lord, one God, one and only one.  Yet, as we will celebrate in more depth next week, this one God works as a Trinity to create, redeem and sustain the world.  So I greet you in the Name (singular) of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


Am I the only person who finds this difficult?  How can I rightly view what one God is doing when he exists in three persons?  Do I need to be concerned about which member of the Trinity does what?  Maybe I should be more careful about these matters.  After all, there have been countless books, large and intelligent books, written about the particular works of the different members of the Godhead.  And I'm quite frankly afraid of falling into one of two errors if I go too far here.  What if I divide the work of the persons of God wrongly, thus becoming a tritheist?  Or I might simply refer to "God."  Is there anything wrong with that?  Probably not, but again I might cause some sort of confusion.  The average person in our society, I dare say, does not have an adequate view of who God is.  Wait.  Strike that.  None of us has an adequate view of who God is.  So we want to take the time and effort to be plain about who God is when we talk about Him.


So I am not alone.  This is a difficult issue, but it is one our Lord has given us.  We see, therefore, that Philip is speaking reasonably in John 14.8.  Jesus is showing himself to us, but he is talking about going away, coming back, and all manner of things which boggle our minds.  Philip speaks for us all when he asks Jesus to show the Father.  Won't that be enough for us?


Jesus says it isn't enough to show the Fahter.  The problem is that we can't walk around with the Father.  We can't approach him.  God the Father has hidden himself from us.  We aren't able to sustain his presence.  We can't withstand his glory.  He has had to reveal himself in these last days through the Son.  Even though the Father and the Son are equal in glory, majesty, and divine character, we see that in Jesus we have Emmanuel, God with us.  We have seen him.  We can have fellowship with him, because he has made himself like us in the fullness of humanity.


So in the Name we see the Father and the Son.  Jesus goes on to tell his disciples that he is, in fact, doing the Father's works.  He is acting in the Father's authority.  There is great comfort in this.  Do we want to see God?  Look to Jesus.  What would the Father do?  All that the Son does is the work of the Father.  What does God say?  He says whatever Jesus says, for Jesus speaks with the full authority of the Father.  Jesus does the works of the Father, all those works which the Father wishes him to do.  Jesus himself reveals the will of the Father, his good and kind will, reconciling the world to God.


At this point the story gets better.  Look what Jesus tells Philip and his other disciples.  Those who believe will be doing the Father's works and the Son's works.  Yes, believers will be going around doing what their Lord, the God of the Universe, in whose Name they assemble, wishes to do.  If we thought Jesus' talk about going ahead of us where we can't go and then coming back to take us with him was mind-boggling, now we should be completely astonished.  Do God's works?  Me?  You?  Really?  What in the world could Jesus be thinking?


Again we've come to a little bit of a crisis point here.  I wonderif I count this statement of Jesus, that I will be doing his works, as a blessing or a curse?  Does this exalt me?  Does it humble me?  And what about when I think about other people, people I know, being told they are doing God's works?   I know in some circles there are believers who use a passage like this to deny that they enter into sin.  They use it to proclaim their victorious life right here on earth.  They use a passage like this, in short, to proclaim what we call a "theology of man's glory."  


Briefly, here's how that theology of man's glory works.  I've been redeemed by Christ.  My life is no longer mine.  Jesus is living in me.  He has bought me for a price.  He will use me in his kingdom as he wishes.  And his desire for me is good.  All things work together for good, especially for me.  I'm a chosen generation.  I'm blessed.  I am a joint heir with Jesus.  These are biblical descriptions.  And they are wonderful!  If I have the opportunity to live in those promises I am blessed indeed.  There's a problem, though, with this theology of man's glory.  Here's the heart of the problem.  My life, my experience, does not bear out the truthfulness of God's description of me.  I may be one of the immortal redeemed.  But I don't feel or look like it.  I may be cleansed from all sin, but it doesn't take me a long time or even a whole lot of honesty to see that I'm really good at entering into sin.  If I take a good look at God's holiness then I look at myself I can see that my life doesn't really seem to match the new creation the Scripture says I am.  Any doubt about it?  Ask your wife, your husband, your teenager, your parents. There's plenty of sin to show me that I can't depend on this theology of man's glory.  I just don't have experience that makes me think I'm doing the works of the Father and the Son, and certainly not with the attitude they have.


So where are we to go?  What are we to do?  Maybe this is the point in the sermon where I start haranguing us all.  Maybe if I smack my fist down on the pulpit a few times and act really threatening and scary it'll help?  Maybe  I should come up with a list of the rules we need to follow so as to show true godly character.  If we post it on our refrigerator maybe we'll live by it?  How do you think that will work?  No, that's not where we're going to go.  God has given us plenty of rules.  He's given us his Law in the Scripture.  And we've already seen that we can't live up to it.  We're to be holy as our Lord is holy.  Are we doing that?  If we are, why do we doubt God's provision?  If we are, why are we pleased at how well we are doing?  If we are, why are we comparing ourselves to other people and despising them?  No, ultimately when we proclaim God's Law as that by which we become holy, we always lose.  We always show ourselves arrogant, hopeless, or, more likely, both.  This is not our answer.


So how are we going to deal with this?  Our Lord has said that those who believe will do the works of the Father and of the Son.  So how are we going to do this?  We're back to the place where we started.  How did I greet you?  In the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  It is in this authority, the authority implicit in God's Name, that we live as Christians.  It is under the protection of the Name of our Lord that we find immortality.  It is in the power of the Name of the Lord that we have the hope to live as his people in this world.  It is in the power of the Name of God that we live and work in our society.  It is in the Name of the Lord that we love and serve our neighbors.  It is not in our own name and authority.  Those are bankrupt, they are invalid, they are non-starters.  It is in the Name and authority of the triune God that we live, that we move, that we have our being.


There's still something missing in this equation.  God the Father is unapproachable.  God the Son is going away.  So what are we going to do?  Our Lord promises the gift of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity.  This helper, sent from the Father at the request of the Son, comes to his people and indwells the believers.  The Holy Spriit does not depart from believers.  Remember, after all, this Trinity is ONE GOD in THREE PERSONS.  As Jesus is the fullness of the godhead, so also is the Holy Spirit.  But the Holy Spirit is not departing from his people.  By the Holy Spirit the promise of Jesus in Matthew 28, "I will be with you always," is fulfilled.  He will never leave us or forsake us.  It is he who is working in and through us in all we do and say.


We're still left with a credibility gap.  Remember what you said this morning when your alarm clock went off?  Remember what you did when you were cut off in traffic?  Remember what you said when... Well, we won't go there. We've already remembered the depth of our sin, at least some of it.  So what in the world is the Holy Spirit doing in us?  Some of the features of my life would seem to indicate the Holy Spirit is pretty ineffective.  The other features of my life would seem to indicate the Holy Spirit is entirely absent.  


We see the work of the Holy Spriit in our passage today though.  He teaches his people.  He reminds his people.  He delivers the peace of the Lord.  He delivers us from all reason for fear.  He is active in his people.  Has he not done this today?  Did the Holy Spirit speak through me or through other people and circumstances to remind us all of God's greatness, his righteous demands, and his merciful care for his people?  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  Did the Holy Spirit speak to remind us that it is by Jesus' death on our behalf that we live?  Did the Holy Spirit remind us of the depth of our sin?  Did the Holy Spirit move us to repentance, to express our sorrow at our sin?  Has the Holy Spirit spoken through the Scripture and through other words people have said and deeds people have done to proclaim the peace of God?  Has the Holy Spirit told us that in Babel we are scattered due to our own exalted self-opinion and that in Pentecost we are gathered by one spirit as one people for forgiveness of sins in one Lord Jesus Christ?  


Truly, our Lord, one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, has delivered us from every reason to fear.  He has purchased our life by his death, burial, and resurrection.  He has shown that the resurrection and ascension are complete by sending the Holy Spirit to indwell us and to work in and through us.  He has delivered us from death into life.  We have no reason for fear. We have no reason for doubt.  We can see the depth of his forgiveness in the broken body and shed blood of Christ, applied to us by faith.  We have this life, in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Acts 16.9-15 - Sermon for the Sixth Sunday of Easter 2010

How quick we are to blame other people for what we do!  See if this conversation is familiar to you.  "Why did you hit your brother?"  "He made me do it."  "What do you mean by that?"  "He made me mad."  So we go through many of our interactions, even as adults.  We may be more sophisticated in our laying of blame, but the blame is assigned to someone else just the same.  We do wrong and we consider that someone else is responsible for our wrongdoing.  We are angry and we don't accept the responsibility for our anger.  We are late, but it's because of those other people on the road.  We make a mistake at work but we were distracted by something else that was happening in the office.  Or maybe we simply choose to assign blame.  "I didn't say you were responsible for it, I'm just blaming you." 


Here in Acts 16 we see a different sort of casting responsibility.  We see the apostles blaming the Holy Spirit for what they do right.  Let's read some of our passage again, a little bit at a time, and see what we find from the Scriptures.  I'll be quoting from the English Standard Version.


v. 6 "And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia."


We should probably try to answer a burning question and get it out of the way.  Who are "they"?  It isn't completely clear.  Judging from chapter 16 verse 3 it is at least Paul and Timothy.  It seems from chapter 15 verse 40 that Silas is also one of them.  The book of Acts is typically considered to be authored by Luke, who seems to be with "them" judging from chapter 16 verse 15, where he uses the pronoun "us."  Yet he does not use "us" or "we" here, which leads us to assume Luke is not with the others at this point.    So we can assume at least three traveling companions: Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  There are possibly some others with them.


As we read in verse 6 we see the places where Paul and company are.  But at this moment I want to consider that as relatively unimportant.  What do we see?  They have "been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia."  Why is this?  We don't know.  The Bible doesn't tell us.  We can't speculate in a fruitful way.  All we know is what Luke tells us.  Yet we know Luke assigns the responsibility for this decision to the Holy Spirit.  So I'd like to ask a question.  How many times have we been forbidden by the Holy Spirit from speaking the Gospel in a particular place?  Never?  Actually, we can't say that.  I've been prevented by the Holy Spirit from speaking the Gospel in all sorts of places.  It's quite simple.  I've never been to a lot of places, and have been unable to go to those places.  There are lots of temporal reasons I can see, but ultimately they are reasons Luke assigns to theology.  God didn't allow this group of people to go to Asia.  Maybe they were sick when a convoy was leaving in that direction.  Maybe they found they didn't have money that would be needed to pay for their trip.  Maybe they found that one issue or another kept them in Galatia.  Maybe their donkey was stolen.  We don't know.  But we know that ultimately the Holy Spirit did not let them go.


Reading on, in verses 7-8 we see, "And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas." 


These verses make me think about a situation when some of us would love to cast blame on the Holy Spirit.  "Lord, I would have liked to have given money to the flood relief effort, but, you see, I didn't have any money left after going to the community dance on Friday night."  "Lord, I would have liked to speak the Gospel when I was talking with my Dad in the hospital before he died, but you just didn't lead me to do it."  "Lord, I would have liked to be kind to the clerk at the store but I just didn't feel led."   Now wait a minute.  Wait just a minute there.  That's on the same level as saying "I punched my little brother because he made me mad.  He looked at me."  This isn't what the Lord is doing in Paul and company.  They didn't fail to go to Asia because they were enjoying the cheese in Galatia.  They didn't miss the convoy because they were busy eating in that really nice cafe by the Hellespont.  They didn't blow their money because they wanted to go out dancing.  They wanted to do the Lord's work.  They were burning for the Lord's work.  They were trying their very hardest to bring the Gospel to all sorts of people.  Look where they went.  Where's Mysia?  Where's Troas?  Just think about it!


Okay, did I let you think blankly for long enough?  I confess I had to look them up to confirm it, even though I have a lot of background in this.  So let's hit a little geography.  Technically, Mysia is in Asia Minor.  When Paul talks about wanting to go to Asia, if he gets to Mysia, he's kind of in Asia, but he wants to go farther.  He seems to want to go inland.  How do you get there?  You go to Tros, the more modern location of Troy.  Know what's there now?  Istanbul.  He's beyond the Hellespont, into Asia Minor, but isn't able to go inland, which seems to be his desire.


Quite the contrary of our efforts to dodge God's calling and the opportunities our Lord has given us, Paul and company are trying to get into Asia. They are trying for all they are worth.  It's like when I go to a museum and look at ancient Greek vases.  I want to see them up close.  I take off my glasses and get right up to the case.  I'd like to see them closer, handle them and look from all sorts of angles.  Of course, if I were to try to open the case . . . we won't go there.  These people want to bring the Gospel, the precious gift of forgiveness in Christ, to the people throughout Asia.  They try to get there.  Something interferes again and again.  Really, we should be ashamed of ourselves.  Do we really try to bring the Gospel into all our situations?  No.  We missed the trip upland into Asia because we were enjoying that great Trojan salad at the restaurant.  We missed the opportunity to share the love of Christ because we were intent on our own plan, on our own timing, on our own agenda.  Then we went and blamed the Holy Spirit.  This ought not to be.  We should be ashamed of ourselves.  And I dare say we are.  Look at these people with Paul.  They gave up everything for the cause of bringing the Gospel to foreign lands.  For the most part, what did we give up?  I wonder.  Not what "they" did.


Then again, maybe we have fared a little better than the picture I painted at first?  Maybe we are starting to feel proud of ourselves.  After all, we were telling people of the love of God right here.  We've been shining the light in our community.  But what we really wanted to do was be a missionary to Abu Dhabi.  Or we were really intended to bring the Gospel to tribal people high in the Himalayas.  We were really called by God to run an orphanage in Russia but we're stuck here changing our own children's diapers.  Maybe I was supposed to be a missionary pilot but I'm stuck here flying a crop duster instead.   I'd like to feed the hungry but I'm stuck here working in this grocery store.   Doesn't the Lord care about the calling He gave me?


I guess we'd better have some good news then.  Right then and there, while Paul is in Troas doing whatever he is doing, he has a vision from God.  "Come here and help us!"  See how Paul responds?  The place he planned to go, the things he planned to do, his hopes seem to be falling apart.  But when he has a moment, when there's an opportunity for him to go somewhere and do something, he finds a place to go and something to do.  This he reads as the calling of the Lord.  In obedience to this call Paul and company go to Macedonia.  They end up in Philippi, where they hang out, wondering what will happen next.  What does this apostolic band do?  Naturally, they look for ways to share the Gospel.  That's what they do.  So as they are in Philippi, doing what they do, they wind up sharing God's word with people, being taken in by Lydia, a new convert, and the Lord plants a thriving church through their life and witness.


Where is the good news for us in this sermon?  The good news is that all this work of the Lord happens when the believers are simply living out their lives where they are, doing what they would naturally do as believers, living for Christ in their community, and loving their neighbors as themselves.  They are simply bearing the fruit of the Spirit, allowing it to be picked by the hungry people all around them.  All they do is let the Lord direct them.  You see, like Paul, we've been crucified with Christ.  We no longer live.  It's the Lord living in us.  And what we do isn't really what we are doing.  It's the life of the Son of God.  Just like Paul is directed by the Holy Spirit by this circumstance or that, you and I are also directed by the Holy Spirit.  We don't always know what his reason is, we don't always recognize the means by which he directs us, but we can have confidence that our Lord is directing our paths.  Are we living as the redeemed of the Lord?  Then he is setting up circumstance after circumstance for us.  He is arranging all manner of opportunities for us to live out the life he has given us in our community.  And when we change that baby's diaper, when we trim our rose bushes, when we clean up after our annoying dog, or our neighbor's annoying dog, when we talk to the clerk in the store, when we ask the librarian a question, when we see someone on the street or in the office, when we work for our employer or when we employ people for our business we are living out the life our Lord has given.  We are living proof of the resurrection, because we have been called, we have been justified, we have been sanctified.  The truth of God comes out of our lives.  Do we mess up the situations our Lord puts us in?  Sure.  And by God's grace we will continue to repent and be forgiven.  But sometimes we get the privilege of seeing the Lord working out his mercy and his grace in and through us.  What if the Lord moves us somewhere else?  That would be fine.  Thanks be to God who has provided us with a new opportunity to love and serve our neighbor.  What if the Lord leaves us right where we are?  That's fine too.  What if we are people who have needs and we end up depending on others?  That's to God's glory as well.  What about that Macedonian man?  If he was a real person, did he not serve as a catalyst to move others into service and draw people to Christ?  Did he provide believers with an opportunity to live out their faith?  There's nothing wrong with that, is there?


In all we do, let us do it seeing our Lord's glorious work in and through us.  May we look to the risen Lord, Jesus Christ, who uses our hands to demonstrate his love.  May we have many opportunities to show and tell those around us that we are not living for ourselves, but that our Lord Jesus is living in us, giving us his forgiveness and grace, working through us his forgiveness and grace in others.  May the Lord grant us repentance of our foolishness which says we are going to do things on our own, that we are sufficient, that he is not a relevant part of this situation or that situation.  May our Lord Jesus Christ dwell in us, being all in all.

Dave Spotts
blogging at and

Sunday, May 2, 2010

roblems with my comuter

Did you ever have a roblem with your comuter keyboard?  Mine seems to be having a roblem.  When I strike the "" key, often nothing haens.  It seems like a minor situation but really it can cause a lot of difficulty when eole try to read what I write.

It strikes me that the Lord has made all of us with different gifts.  He uses eole according to his divine lan and gives them exactly the gifts the need to fulfill their function in the body of Christ.  We are his workmanshi, the secial eole he has made for his lan and urose.

Dave Sotts
blogging at htt:// and htt://

Saturday, May 1, 2010

John 13.31-35, A Sermon for the 5th Sunday of Easter

Our text for today is from John 13.31-35.  In the ESV it reads,

Joh 13:31  When he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.

Joh 13:32  If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once.

Joh 13:33  Little children, yet a little while I am with you. You will seek me, and just as I said to the Jews, so now I also say to you, 'Where I am going you cannot come.'

Joh 13:34  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.

Joh 13:35  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Rejoice in the Lord!  God is glorified in our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Lord is with his people.  We have seen this theme of our Lord reigning in glory throughout today's readings.  Yet we see another theme here in John 13.  If we look at the broader context around this passage we see that the disciples have been talking with Jesus.  They don't quite understand what is happening.  They have questions for their Lord and master.  We have the same questions.

Jesus is talking about going away.  We can imagine the confusion the disciples would have.  Where is the Lord going?  He seems a little secretive about it.  For the past three years he has made his comings and goings very public.  But now he is saying he will leave and we won't be able to find him.  Are we like those disciples?  Do we wonder what our Lord is doing?  Do we question his willingness, maybe even his ability to work in our world?  Do we try to set up our own ideas of how to bring his kingdom, to make sure his will is done on earth as in heaven?  Jesus' disciples in the first century had to wait for their Lord's response, as do we.  We don't know his timing or his plan, at least not exhaustively.  We must wait on him, trust in him, and watch him unfold his will in his own way.


The disciples also wonder when Jesus is planning to go.  Maybe he plans to slip away somewhere at night without them noticing?  Maybe he is not as trustworthy as they thought he would be?  Maybe, after all, he is just a gifted preacher and has managed to pull off a few miracles?  The disciples don't know his timing.  He doesn't seem like someone who is preparing for a long trip.  He seems to be planning to stay with them.  Again, like those first century disciples we wonder about our Lord's timing.  Things hapen in our lives, things don't happen, and we have the audacity to correct God!  We think we wouldn't have planned the situation out that way.  We would have arranged for this provision or that provision.  We would have changed people's timetables.  How could our Lord have allowed it to rain on that day?  Why did the Lord allow me to plan my journey in such a way that I was present to be in that auto accident?  How come the Lord gave us this current tax code?  We're full of questions, often accusatory questions, just like Jesus' first century disciples.


In the end we want our Lord to do things on our timetable.  After all, we are intelligent.  We are wise.  We have studied our lives and we think we know what would be best.  All this about God not revealing himself to us?  Nonsense.  We'll be able to figure out our way to heaven.  We'll be able to come up with a way to make the Gospel relevant to our modern society.  We'll be able to arrange ways to do great things for our Lord.  We can plan it all out.  After all, Jesus has called us to be his witnesses in this world.  So we try and try.  We are his witnesses, but maybe we want to be his witnesses a little differently.  We want to change with the times.  We want to schedule a revival.  We want to do something that people really need, like provide day care or other social services.  We, after all, in the twenty-first century, are modern eople.  We can be progressive.

What does our Lord and Savior say about this attitude?  In this very text he addresses it.  Jesus says we don't, in fact, know where he is going.  We may look for him, but we won't find him.  We will not be looking in the right place.  He is going to be about his business and we are unlikely to understand it.  In fact, we aren't going to understand what he is doing.


As well as not knowing where Jesus is going, he tells us we can't go with him now.  He has a plan for himself and he has a plan for us.  For now, we are to do his plan for us.  He isn't telling us his plan for himself in detail.  Our responsibility is to do what he has set us to do.  He will take care of everything and we don't have to worry about the rest.  We just carry on.


What about the timing of it all?  Jesus, are we going to see you again?  When you go will it be forever?  Take courage.  Our Lord is not departing from us forever.  Where he is going we can't go right now.  But he knows the timing.  He knows that he will later come to bring us along with him.  He knows that when he leaves he will not leave us alone.  He knows that we can have confidence in him, even if we don't know we can trust him.  Our Lord does know about the timing.  He is working it out in his perfect will.


So what is Jesus doing?  He has a job we don't understand.  If he told us in full we still wouldn't understand it.  After all, to our minds, how would someone be able to die as a substitute for our sin?  How would the death of one man, no matter how good, atone for the sins of all humanity?  How could it be that Jesus would love us so much that he would give his life to become sin for us?  No, we don't understand this.  It is Jesus' job, not ours.  It is something that only he can do, only he can understand.  If we were to follow him where he is going we would simply die needlessly.  Our death atones for nothing.  His death atones for everything.


Even with all this that Jesus is saying, does he not think we will be faithful?  After all, we love our Lord.  He can surely count on our following him to the very end.  Yet only a few verses later Jesus points out that we will betray him, deny him, flee from him.  We are not trustworthy servants.  No, on the contrary, counter to all our desire, when the rubber meets the road, we make every attempt to distance ourselves from our Lord.  When social pressure turns up, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.  And we get going straight for the exit door.  We deny our Lord rather than stand by him in love and trust.  That's the way we are.


So where's the Gospel?  It certainly isn't in what we do.  It certainly isn't in all our good intentions.  It certainly isn't in our superior understanding.  No, it is in what our Lord is doing.  He is the one who knows the way.  In fact, he is the way, the life, and the truth.  We don't go with him but he himself goes to death on our behalf.  We don't know when the right time is, but when the fullness of time had come, he came on our behalf.  We don't understand even the beginning of what our Lord is doing.  He understands and accomplishes it all.  We will deny our Lord, but he will never deny his people.  


In this, then, Jesus is glorified.  He lays down his life for us.  This is the glory which the Father has accomplished in the Son.  This is where he goes ahead of us.  And he has accomplished that death, that victory over death, hell and the grave, on our behalf.  He has done it at a particular, definitive time.  He is risen from the dead as the firstfruits of the resurrection, which will also be completed at a particular, definitive time.  Our Lord is going to bring us to be with him, at some particular time in our future.  Therefore we do not need to fear.  Our Lord has glorified himself.  He has done it all.  Let all heaven and earth sing praises to our Lord and King, seeing his mighty works.  Let us rejoice as we look to his coming.  Let us exult in our Savior who has worked all these wonders.  Our Lord, the very one who died on our behalf, is gathering people from every nation, tribe and tongue to sing his praises.  Our Lord, the creator and sustainer of the earth, will sustain us by his body broken for us and his blood shed for us until his coming. 

Dave Spotts
blogging at and