The Chief Cornerstone

Scripture Reading – Matthew Matt. 21:18-22:46
Sunday had been an exhausting day. Jesus and His followers returned to Bethany that evening and He returned to Jerusalem the next morning, Monday morning. Monday morning. It begins. Having created something of a stir on Sunday by overturning “the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves” for sacrifices (Matthew 21:12), Jesus returns to the city. Jerusalem is crowed with thousands of people who have come to the city for the Passover. Crowd wise it was probably like Spring break in Panama City, FL. People everywhere.
It would be a hard week, a long week for Jesus. Only He understood why He had come to Jerusalem for this Passover. This would be His last. His days on earth were numbered. His time had come. He told two stories according to our reading: The story of two sons, one who obeyed his father after saying he would not, and the other who said he would but did not. And then, the story of the landowner sending servants, whom the renters killed, to collect his produce and finally sending his son, whom they also killed. The landowner eventually came with force and brought the renters “to a wretched end.”
These stories were not exactly meant to “win friends and influence people!” The lines were drawn. The die was cast. The religious leaders intended to seize Him then but “feared the people because they considered Him to be a prophet.” The decision had been made to “take care” of this troublesome Person form Galilee.
It’s not all that different today. Our culture is determined to “seize Him” and His followers. One example: A recent opinion in USA Today exposes the hatred toward Christian values (Christ) prevalent in this culture. Hemal Jhaveri writes: “As a private university and under the banner of fundamentalist Christian beliefs, the school is free to impose whatever standards of behavior they see fit, even if those standards are wildly out of line with modern society and the basic values of human decency. Now, as Oral Roberts gains national attention, the focus shouldn’t just be on their very good men’s basketball team, but on their prejudiced teachings and moral regressiveness.
That Oral Roberts wants to keep its students tied to toxic notions of fundamentalism that fetishize chastity, abstinence and absurd hemlines is a larger cultural issue that can be debated. What is not up for debate however is their anti-LGBTQ+ stance, which is nothing short of discriminatory and should expressly be condemned by the NCAA.
Yet, Oral Roberts, with its decrees banning homosexual conduct, stating that marriage is only between a man and a woman, and specifically banning male students from wearing makeup, earned a ticket to the Big Dance even though the university’s foundations expressly go against the very things the NCAA say they value. The fact is, any and all anti-LGBTQ+ language in any school’s polices should ban them from NCAA competition.”
“Ban them from . . . .” It is now out in the open. Ban them! Seize Him . . . them! This is about Christ and the Christian values that flow from faith in Christ. The word of honor for this culture is “inclusiveness.” It is the ultimate expression of goodness as our culture sees it. In many circles, morality is viewed as
“prejudiced teachings and moral regressiveness.”
It’s Holy Week all over again!
On the journey . . .

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