Only got two suckers to jump in and post corny preacher and corny Bible jokes yesterday and early this morning. I thought we needed a little humor after a couple of days of pretty heavy stuff on the blog. Sure enough, that’s what we got. Very little humor. If you have corny Bible or preacher jokes, it’s not too late to share. Just hit comments on yesterday’s blog and pile on.
IF the Pats win it Sunday, they end all debate about the best team in pro football history. Period. It’s over. As we’ve said all season long, especially as it pertains to the Cowboys, it’s difficult to get wins in the NFL. Forget beating everybody, it’s hard beating anybody in that league. They’re all so equal in talent and skill and coaching and scouting and payroll. To do what New England has done is remarkable. And if they pull it off against the Giants on Sunday, it blows away what the ’72 Dolphins did.
How many playoff teams did that Miami squad beat during its run to 17-0? Zero. They didn’t play a single playoff team that year. In fact, they only played two teams with winning records: the 8-6 Chiefs and the 8-6 Giants. And you can’t downgrade what New England has done this year because the AFC East is so weak. The ’72 Dolphins’ division opponents that year were the 7-7 Jets, the 4-9-1 Bills, and the 3-11 Patriots. One of thier other wins was against the 1-13 Oilers.
Contrast that with what the Pats have done this season. New England faced seven teams with winning records, seven playoff teams, during the regular season and won by an average score of 37-17. New England scored at least 27 points in every game but two and only gave up more than 28 once.
In their two playoff games, the ’72 Dolphins barely squeaked by the Browns 20-14 and beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh 21-17. (Why did the undefeated Dolphins have to play the AFC Championship Game on the road? I might be looking at a bad list.) And they won Super Bowl VII 14-7 over the ‘Skins. The current edition of the Pats has won their two playoff games 31-20 and 21-12.
Go Giants. And if New York can pull off the biggest Super Bowl upset since Joe Willie’s Jets shocked the Colts in Super Bowl III, then the Greatest Ever tag belongs to the Dolphins without dispute. But if New England does what they’re expected to do, it’s over.
Jesus preaches the Kingdom. “Repent!” he says, “The Kingdom of God is near!” And then what does he do? He frees the prisoner, heals the blind, rescues the oppressed.
Those are the signs of the Kingdom.
John the Baptist sends to find out if Jesus is the Messiah and Jesus says look, you know what the signs are. “..the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.”
That’s the Kingdom.
Jesus, show us the Kingdom. What does the Kingdom look like, Jesus? Where is it?
Not once did Jesus ever say, “See those people over there meeting every Sunday for Bible class and worship? That’s the Kingdom.” Jesus never once pointed out, “That group that takes communion weekly and sings acappella, that’s the Kingdom.” The Son of God didn’t say, “When you see three songs and a prayer and announcements either at the beginning or the end (or both), you’ve seen the Kingdom.”
Distressed people being encouraged. Cold people being warmed. Hurting people being comforted. The outcasts being brought in and made family. That’s the Kingdom.
When we talk about the Kingdom strictly in terms of Church and the institution and the rules and the order — when that’s our whole idea of Kingdom — we quickly lose sight of the very things that make the Kingdom of God what it is. Centuries of church development and decision-making and rule-making can cloud our vision. When we see the Kingdom exclusively as Church, we tend to focus only on the features and characteristics of the Church.
Our challenge as the Legacy Church of Christ is to occasionally flex our autonomy — you know, that autonomy we brag about — to insure that our identifying characteristics genuinely correspond to those of the Kingdom Jesus was preaching. Maintaining our institutional status quo is not necessarily the same as being faithful to Jesus and his mission. Being a member in good standing or being a middle of the road church isn’t necessarily the same as living under the reign of God.
The true marks of the Kingdom have very little if anything to do with what happens between prayers and announcements in our building. The
Our King came into this world in order to serve and to save. And that is the business of his subjects, as well. May our Lord bless us as we serve and rescue and save in his name.