GNB 130

October 17, 2022


“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5.8)

“But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.” (2 Timothy 4.17-18)


I wonder if Peter had in mind, with the verse posted above, that first Pentecost Day following the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth validating and authenticating that Jesus wasn’t “was” the Christ but that He “is” the Christ; the same yesterday, today and forever. His advice was “be alert and of sober mind.” Remember in the beginning of the Gospel of the Church: The Acts of the the Apostles, how the first sermon preached by Peter was under the full influence and authority of the Holy Spirit? Jesus had told them, in the transition of the Gospel of Jesus Christ written by Luke to the Gospel of the Church written by the same, following His ascension to wait in Jerusalem for the blessing of the Holy Spirit. They had already spent 40 days with Jesus after His resurrection in refresher courses on a daily basis. This was a time for them to “feast on the manna from heaven” which was in bountiful supply. It was bountiful because Jesus was with them still. Yet, He had taught them, as we learn later from John’s gospel rendering of that Passover night, how Jesus had alerted them again of His impending death which would serve as the providential sacrifice for the sins of the world. In that lesson, Jesus told them He would have to go away for a time to prepare a place for all believers to dwell with Him in eternity. He promised, too, that He would never leave them nor forsake them. To keep that promise He guaranteed them the “on-dwelling and indwelling” of His Holy Spirit. He prayed to Yahweh Elohim, Abba Father, to send His Spirit to them to lead, guide and direct their thoughts and actions in the days to come. Jesus was true to His word. Ten days following His ascension into Heaven, the Holy Spirit descended from Heaven and filled the Upper Room where the disciples continued to gather as their spiritual home base. In today’s terms, we might say it was their “Holiday Inn Express” venue out of which they possessed great knowledge, power, dominion, authority and unshakable faith in the gospel of Jesus the Christ. As these disciples moved out of the Upper Room and descended the outside steps leading to the street which lead to the Temple, they stopped on the stoop and begin to speak to the people below. Those people were on their way to the Temple for the Pentecost, First Fruits, blessing. That blessing of a fruitful harvest was another lamb sacrifice conducted by the Chief High Priest. He was the same man who had authored the plan to have Jesus of Nazareth crucified as one guilty of blasphemy, or treason against the nation of Israel. The hope was that eliminating the major threat to their means of power, the Temple Arcade, would then silence and scatter the flock He had tended for three years. In other words, “kill the messenger and kill the message.” The battle line had been drawn as to who was really “the way, the truth and the life” which leads to the Father.

Now, the truth would be told again of the righteousness of God and the kingdom authority which was not of this world. The truth would be espoused of a house destroyed by those who sought only to “steal, kill and destroy” being rebuilt in three days. It was not built by human hands but was established as eternal in the heavens and come down to earth to dwell among all people. It was from the mouths of the disciples that this message, and primarily from Peter at this point, fell down on the people below. Like the four friends who carried their lame friend’s litter to the roof and broke in to lower him to the healing hands of Jesus, the words of the disciples broke through the canopy of tradition which covered over the people. That breakthrough came in the languages of all the Diaspora, the Jews who were scattered across the world by another attempt of a foreign power to silence the word of God given to Israel to be shared with the world. As all these “nations” began to hear the gospel of Jesus as the Christ in their own languages, they assumed it was just drunken chatter from those who had partied too much the night before in preparation for the “big day.” But, Peter, hearing their doubts, declared that it was too late and too early to be drinking. This “chatter” was not of human origin but of the Holy Spirit of God. Now that they, the disciples, had their attention, the people from around the world, the real work of the Church began. It was a true breakthrough event on that first day of the week as had become the practice of the faith community bound by the belief in Jesus as the Christ of God and Savior of the world. Peter was laying the groundwork for what he later had written in his letter to Gentile Christians, probably but not necessarily in Rome. In that letter he urged, “Be alert and of sober mind.” In other words, be clear thinking and uninfluenced by the toxifications of the world. He wasn’t limited in this regard to the typical drunkenness caused by consuming too much wine or strong drink. He was not simply speaking of whatever drugs of the day that were used to induce euphoric states of being. He included in that foray all kinds of “intoxicating” pursuits such as the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth.

Let’s contextualize this, shall we, with a reflection on today’s world. The pursuit of these deadly intoxicants is in full throttle. They seemingly control person, place and things from individuals who declare their “own rights as God-given or self-made” to entire nations and governments who do the same. There seems to be a total lack of sober judgement and spiritual decorum. The sin-fected state of being will soon bring down the divided house. I am not speaking of partisan politics mind you as the divination of divided. I am speaking of the house of humanity that is divided in its psyche and ego between right and wrong, good and evil, divine and profane. If both ends are working against the middle and the middle is “spew worthy” from the mouth of Christ, the righteous Judge of the living and the dead, then what purpose does either side serve? Perhaps their purpose is to highlight the futility of human thinking divorced from the very spirit in which and by which human life and all life was conceived and created. In the words of William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, “A plague on both your houses.” It is time, mighty ones of God, believers in Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, who is Lord and Savior, that we “detox” ourselves from the things of this world and prepare ourselves to receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit which certifies our place eternal in the heavens which shall come to us on earth. In our leisure and in our work. In our worship and in our governance. In our contemplation and in our desperation. Let us be alert and of sober mind to discern the truth about life in this world because “the Devil is a roaring lion seeking many to be consumed.” The world is making itself easy prey by being indulgent in the things that can never satisfy. The world is becoming drunk with the wine of contradiction and contradistinction. There is only One God, One Lord, One Faith, One Birth and One Spirit which binds us “man to God.” There can be no other way, no other truth and no other life than one which is spirit-led, spirit-bound and spirit-intended. These are those dangerous times where evil lurks now in the realm of humanity without cover and without shame. The sheep’s clothing is off and Satan stands boldly because the Church bows weakly. Put on the full armor of God and stand strong against the Enemy of both God and humanity. Resist the influence of Satan and he will flee.


Father, this is the day which You have made. It is time we rejoice in worship, in service, in truth and be glad for it! AMEN.

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