In the mid-1400s, the thrilling Renaissance Period, an imposing summer residence was erected for the Archbishop of Salzburg. A beautiful and lasting castle.
Since then it has been captured, confiscated, sold, rented, and auctioned. That marvelous building was intended to bring honor to important men. Today it serves as a novel vacation spot for tourists.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:19, 20).
Archimedes, a Greek mathematician of the second century before Christ, said, “Give me a place to stand, and I shall move the world.”
When a king demanded a demonstration, Archimedes had a huge ship brought ashore; then, using a series of pulleys and a carefully placed fulcrum, with the one-handed turn of a lever, he moved the ship.
Jesus once gave His disciples a promise like that. He said, “If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible unto you” (Matt. 17:20).
In other words, faith is our fulcrum. So where is our place to stand? “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (v. 21). We stand on prayer and move the world through faith.
Scripture is full of ridiculous things – armies fleeing in inexplicable terror, parted waters, walking on water, and formerly dead people. However, there is a verse quite near the beginning of the New Testament that could lay claim to the prize for most socially ridiculous statement in the Bible. Matthew, when writing to the religious Hebrews of all people, said, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child.”
This is how it all started, he wrote. It was time for the wedding, but Mary was pregnant, and it wasn’t Joseph’s baby. Well, now, there is a nice start to a story. What a conversation piece! And Matthew was not finished. “She was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” If that is not ridiculous, nothing is. It is the very definition of ridiculous: “That which may justly excite laughter with contempt.”
How could anyone believe that the God of the universe would actually choose this poor, unknown girl to carry His Child? If she was pregnant, she was guilty! She needed to be punished!
Yet God’s ways are higher than ours. He saved her from the humiliations that could have legally come. Joseph did not leave her. She was not punished. In fact, she did not even need to send out “It’s a boy!” announcements. Angels took care of that for her.
Yes, the idea of God Himself coming into a poor family and living the life of the required sacrifice is crazy to any thinking person. But I am glad He doesn’t think so.
Have you ever noticed how often we use food in our spiritual word pictures? The need for food is universally understood, even though the sorts of things we will and will not eat varies wildly. Food, no matter what our preferences, must be consumed if we want to stay alive and healthy.
That is exactly why the Scripture calls Jesus the Bread of Life. In the Old Testament, the Garden of Eden had a tree which provided life-giving fruit. Adam and Eve had to stay close to the tree if they wanted to live. In the New Testament, we learn about a life giving Bread which not only sustains us but also is available wherever we may be. You may be physically present in a land with no Bible, but with Jesus in your heart, you will always be spiritually near His life-giving bread.