Digging in Deeper: Romans 12:19

Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for God’s wrath, because it is written, ‘Vengeance belongs to me; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you do when you can’t decide between two options? If possible, you choose both. This past week I finished watching a miniseries and finally watched a movie that first came out a couple of months ago. I had always planned to write a review of both once I finished watching them. I hadn’t planned on finishing both in the same week. And yet, as I have gone back and forth on which one to write about first, it became clearer and clearer that they both covered a whole lot of the same theological ground, although from different directions. Trying to treat them separately just didn’t make sense. Today, then, we are going to span two totally different media universes and talk about the recently completed Marvel series, Moon Knight, as well as the fairly recent latest offering from DC Comics, The Batman, and see how two different visions of the world reveal the Gospel is still the greatest vision of reality there is.

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Digging in Deeper: Psalm 37:7

“Be silent before the Lord and wait expectantly for him; do not be agitated by one who prospers in his way, by the person who carries out evil plans.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever seen someone get away with something? Maybe it was something small and didn’t really matter, but maybe it was entirely more significant than that. Either way, when a person escapes justice, something in us rises up to say, “No!” Injustice is simply out of sync with our souls. What do we do in times like this? David offers some wise counsel here in Psalm 37. Let’s explore what this does and doesn’t mean together this morning.

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Morning Musing: Isaiah 61:1-3

“The Spirit of the Lord God is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of our God’s vengeance; to comfort all who mourn, to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the Lord to glorify him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Who did Jesus come to save? I know the “right” answer to that question is everyone. But let’s actually think about it for a minute. Who did Jesus come to save? Here’s an answer that’s just as correct but isn’t in terms we usually use. Jesus came to save people who are in need of saving. Now, if that seems tautologous, it is, but that doesn’t make it any less important to understand. In this prophecy from Isaiah that Jesus claimed for Himself, we get a better sense of just what this means.

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Digging in Deeper: Mark 14:55

“The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they could not find any.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Every now and then we learn of the simultaneously joyous and heartbreaking story of a man being released from prison after spending decades locked up for a crime he did not commit. Each one of these instances – far, far too many borne on the backs of black men who were unjustly locked up by a system laden with subtle racism that has proven far more difficult for our culture to eradicate than we once thought – is a tragedy. Innocent people being made to suffer unjustly is an outrage to all clear-thinking citizens of any nation. And the greater the suffering of the innocent, the more it should enrage those who learn of it. It certainly does our God who is fundamentally just in the core of His character. This is what makes the death of Jesus of Nazareth so scandalous. Have you thought of it in those terms before? We celebrate it because of what it accomplished for us, but this morning let’s pause a moment to remember that it also represented the absolute pinnacle of injustice.

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Digging in Deeper: Matthew 5:38-39

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you know what some of the least popular words in the Scriptures are when we have been offended? “‘Vengeance is mine,’ says the Lord.” When we have been offended, we want to deal with it. We want to deal with it because when we deal with it, we know we’ll be satisfied that justice has been pursued to our satisfaction. If we leave it in the hands of anyone else, they might stop short of what we know is right. And yet, if we would claim to be a follower of Jesus, that’s a right we’ve got to give up. Let’s talk about it.

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