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Archive for June 2nd, 2014

 

Acts 2: 24-25  They prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”

 These Scripture verses record the one sentence prayer[1] for the Lord to guide the Apostles to choose between Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias to replace Judas.

  The word “place” is used twice in verse 25.  There is a distinction between places:

 Christ’s place (“in this ministry”)

or

Judas’ own place.

 

The place in and by Christ is eternal life.

By Judas it is eternal death.

 “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…”  Satan said in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.  Judas knew his mind.  Judas no longer knew the mind of Christ (cf. Philippians 2:  5-10);   Philippians 4:7  ) Judas’ own place made heaven of hell and hell of heaven. So can we all.  Once we give the devil an inch, he will take the soul and mind on the short mile ride to hell.  The Lord called Judas to the Lord’s place alongside Him in “this ministry and apostleship”.  Another devil quote from Paradise Lost:  “It is better to rule in hell than to serve in heaven.”  At first the rule seems beneficent: my place, my domain, my realm, then, without the Lord and godly repentance, when we have “turned aside” to go to my own place, it becomes the dead end of hell. The road is easy and wide that leads to destruction and many who find but the road that leads to life is hard and narrow and few find it (cf. Matthew 7:12-14).  And the Way finds you in His Way (cf.  John 14:6;  Luke 15) to you day by day in His Word.

I probably have made too much of the word “place” yet the contrast is Biblical.  A place of my own is only possible in Jesus Christ who took my place and died for me, and lives that I live by faith in Him, and so even the meanest earthly place is good. The only time we are to turn aside is to help our neighbor in his need, however small or great, along the way/Way (see Luke 10:33). And the call is to be a “Good Samaritan”, and we too know what is it is like to fall along the way, needing someone to pick us up.

In this prayer, the Greek word for “who knows the hearts”, is one word:  Heart-knower.  The Lord is our heart-knower, from whom no secrets are hid.  Turning inside ones’ self, in one’s own place,when anxious troubles mount,  and the Lord bids you to cast all your anxieties on Him, He know how to (see the Cross), for He “cares for you” (1 Peter 5:  6-11)

[1] “So brief a prayer on so important an occasion would in this voluble age be scarcely regarded as a prayer at all.”  From Pr and Prof. Paul Kretzmann’s 1920 Popular Commentary

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