When you and I think about who we are, we often think about where we come from. Our sense of self is shaped by our family of origin, the city where we grew up, and our ethnic background. The same is true for Jesus. He grew up as a Jewish boy in a small town in Roman occupied Israel two thousand years ago. Following Jesus, first requires us to understand who he was and the people he came from. Starting on September 10th, we will explore the story of the Ancient Israelites in order to better understand who Jesus was. Here are the notes from this past Sunday’s sermon.
“An oven and torch were seen passing between the pieces (v. 17) and these are mentioned in Mesopotamian documents as implements distinguishing particular kinds of oath ceremonies. There was also the manner of God’s personal appearance on this occasion. His presence was manifested in the two ascending columns, one a cloud of smoke rising from the oven and the other the soaring tongue of flame from the torch. This form of theophany will be recognized as an anticipation of the double-columned cloud-and-fire revelation of the Glory-Spirit at the exodus. As we have observed above, these two pillars represented the legs of God, standing in oath stance as divine witness at the Sinai covenant-making. At the ratification of the Abrahamic Covenant they were beheld walking the way of the oath-passage.
Graphically symbolized by the slain and halved animals, soon to be consumed by the birds of prey (Gen. 15:11; cr. Jer. 34:20), was the curse of dereliction and destruction. To pass through the way between the rows of severed carcasses was to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The frightful horror of this death-curse was overwhelmingly communicated to Abraham in his experience of the abyss of sleep and the terrors of unnatural darkness. Such was the malediction that the Lord conditionally invoked upon himself.” ~Kline, Kingdom Prologue p. 296
“He points out that friendship is based on shared goals, and distinguishes between different kinds of friendship: carnal friendship, based on shared pursuit of pleasure; worldly friendship, based on mutual advantage; and spiritual friendship, grounded in shared discipleship.
The dialogues helped me to see that although Christian discipleship is costly, it need not be lonely. [However] Christian [friendship is not] the same as the kind of casual friendship that is common in our culture (Facebook informs me that I currently have 554 “friends”).
Aelred insists that, contrary to the transitory nature of so many contemporary friendships, a friend in Christ “loves always” (Proverbs 17:17). He and the other monks discuss how to select and cultivate lasting and Christ-centered friendships.” From: https://spiritualfriendship.org/2012/08/29/spiritual-friendship-in-300-words/