Pastor's Bible Study
Every Wednesday morning during the school year, Dr. Furr teaches adults on a wide variety of topics with discussion – often a book of the Bible or some aspect of the Christian life or doctrine. All you need is a Bible and an inquisitive mind! Occasionally, a particular book is ordered for everyone who wants to purchase a copy. This group meets on Wednesday mornings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Adult Seminar Room across from the Library. Find current topics under Latest News. Please join in.
numbering our days
march 13, 2018
The counting time is when you start numbering things—how long until that certain birthday, when you have to start getting annual exams and screenings that are unpleasant enough to consider avoiding them. You begin some realistic thinking about how many years are left on this earth. Morbid, I know. But we come toward Holy Week, when only one man in the Jesus crowd numbered correctly, and that was Jesus himself. He added it up right—he was going to die.
Maybe this was fitting. Jesus was born when Caesar was numbering Israel. That’s shorthand for “tax assessment.” Caesars, Pilates and Herods were always calculating—about when the Wise Men had seen the star and thus how old they had to start the killing in Bethlehem to insure domestic tranquility. Better one innocent man to die, reasoned Caiaphas, than a whole nation to perish.
Pilate gave Jesus thirty-nine lashes—usually considered just short of killing a man—to make some point about power. Three crosses. Two criminals and a rabbi. Two choices—Barabbas or Jesus. His garment divided into four parts and gambled away by the soldiers, just killing time while they killed men. Seven last words from the cross. A hundred pounds of spices for his body. The third day, the first day of the week. All numbered.
Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart.” Maybe it’s when time gets precious that we start numbering, noticing. “Only so many Easters left in this life, so many springs, a few more years.” When a loved one nears life’s end we are usually sitting around together, counting breaths, measuring heart rate and watching blood pressure. Indicators, they are, that our time on this earth is precious, valuable, fleeting, good.
Then came resurrection and a fishing trip to Galilee. A hundred and fifty-three fish almost capsized the boat. Three denials turned into three questions to Peter about whether he loved Jesus. And finally John tells us that if we wrote everything there was to say about Jesus that “the world itself couldn’t contain the books.”
Maybe that’s how it is. We have to take inventory, count the days, and we see the limits of life. How many more Christmases? How many more days? How many more years of good health, sunny springtime days and feeling good? Better smell it, slow down, savor it. They don’t last forever.
And yet the final word is like all those books John foresaw. The truth is, since those seven days in Jerusalem the words about Him have poured forth endlessly. We never seem to run out of things to say, wonder to express, worship to offer or hope to hold onto. You count and evaluate and see that you are just one little life on this earth, here for a few days, and yet, mysteriously, it opens up to eternity itself. When life is young, it’s easy to believe anything, but when you’ve numbered your days, it’s a miracle indeed to believe. One cross, one lonely death, one empty tomb. Count ’em yourself and see.