Wednesday, 4 December 2013

"THE REPROACH OF CHRIST" Bible Reading Thoughts for Dec. 4th

   The word “reproach” is not in common use these days, it means you are looked down upon because of something you are doing or have done. As a result you are often lower, often a lot lower, in people’s estimation. 
     Today’s familiar 11th chapter of Hebrews is well known to those who read the Bible; even to those who do not read it as often as they should.  It picks out the outstanding examples of faith exhibited by men of God of old – to illustrate what faith is – in practice
     We all talk, or should, of having faith, but we prove its’ reality by our actions.  The writer to the Hebrews, presumed to be Paul, highlights among others, Moses as a man who showed faith: he selects certain examples from his life.  “By faith Moses when he was grown up refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.  He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the (ultimate) reward.  By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible.” [v.24-27]
     It is interesting to consider the use of the phrase “the reproach of Christ” when Christ was not to come for almost 1500 years!  What is clear is that the writer sees Christ as the ultimate role model for those who endured reproach in living the life God required of them.   Moses experienced “the reproach of Christ” in considerable measure although we are left to imagine the details of the reactions in Pharaoh’s palace when his adopted grandson supported those he had chosen to make slaves.
     Today, maybe more than ever, there is a constant encouragement from a great many directions to “enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin”   How few think of their behaviour as “sin” – the word is synonymous with ‘godlessness.’ In his old age John was to observe,  “no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.” [1 John 3 v.9]
     When one is “born of God” one endures “as seeing him who is invisible.”  Our constant reading and meditation on God’s word will enable this form of “seeing” to become more and more evident to us: a “seed” develops within us – made evident as we become more and more like Christ, proving we are an adopted child of God.   How clearly are you “seeing” that which is “invisible”?