Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Basic Bible Math
May 14, 2016
Okay, I’ll say it—I’m a math geek. I love numbers. They’re honest. They’re concrete. They’re dependable. There’s no looking for hidden meanings—they simply ARE.
For instance, what if I’m at the grocery store and there is “supposedly” this great sale on laundry detergent for a brand I don’t usually buy, but I’m tempted to buy it anyway because of this amazing sale? Well all I have to do is a simple division problem. Take the price and divide it by the number of ounces in the container. Do that for both brands and I will easily find my answer. All things being equal as far as the quality of the detergent, the best price is the lowest one per ounce. Simple. Honest. Concrete. No questions.
In fact, I have this awesome Casio scientific calculator that is my very favorite. It is the exact one that I had in high school for my math classes. Well, to be honest, the one I have now actually isn’t the original one anymore.
Several years after we were married, Ryan and I were having a heated “discussion,” and I just happened to have my calculator in my hand. (No, I didn’t throw it at him, although that probably ran through my mind.) But in order to make my point just a little more clearly, I emphatically slammed my hand down on the kitchen counter. The addition of the calculator in it made for a wonderfully loud bang.
However, when I looked down at the screen and saw various shades of black and gray now swirled there, I almost passed out, cried and threw up all at the same time. That calculator had cost around $30 in the 1980’s. How much more was it going to cost now? Uugh!
To my delight, it was only a sweet $9.99 at Wal-Mart. But that’s not the point. The point is just how much this math geek loves numbers.
There’s a math equation in the Bible though that I have a really hard time with. Not a hard time in understanding it, but a VERY hard time in applying it.
See if you agree.
It’s based on the basic equation that if A=B and B=C, then A=C. Makes sense, right?
To put it in numbers: If 2+2=4 and 1+3=4, then 2+2=1+3. Simple. Honest. Concrete. No questions.
But it gets a little harder when applying to God’s Word.
When Jesus was addressing the crowd in the section of Scripture that we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount, He said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14 NASB) We understand in reading Scripture that Jesus’ words apply to us today just as powerfully as they applied to those actually present when they were spoken. So we can accept the phrase, “You are the light of the world,” as Him speaking to us as well.
Jesus’ cousin, the apostle John, tells us of another time when He used this same phrase, only it was changed slightly. “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12 HCSB)“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5 HCSB)
You can check Scripture, but you will only find the exact phrase “the light of the world” in these three passages. In the first, He says that YOU are the light of the world, and in the other two He states that HE is the light of the world, particularly while He is present in the world.
So if YOU are the light of the world and JESUS is the light of the world, then that would mean that YOU ARE JESUS TO THE WORLD. This is not a new concept though. We know that we represent Christ in our lives. At least we’re supposed to.
Where it gets difficult is in the last part of the Matthew passage. You see, we seem to think that we get to choose WHEN we want to portray the light of Jesus to the world. When things are going well or we suddenly feel compassion for someone, that is the time we might just want to shift into Jesus-the-light-mode.
But after telling us that we are the light of the world, Christ added the image of how a city set on a hill cannot be hidden. It CANNOT. Even in the world of electricity today, if an entire city lost power, imagine all of the candles and flashlights that would be shining. A city on a hill CANNOT be hidden, just as the light of Christ in us CANNOT be hidden if you are a born-again, Bible-believin’, resurrection-claimin’, Christ follower. It CANNOT.
But not all lights are created equal. Ever had a flashlight with dying batteries? Might as well walk around blind-folded for all that flashlight is worth. It’s still a light, but it’s not making much of a dent.
So what kind of a light are you for Jesus? If you ARE Jesus to the world, how brightly are you shining? And are you aware that you ARE shining ALL the time in some way. The light CANNOT be hidden.
So when the guy cuts you off in traffic…
When the umpire makes a bad call…
When you haven’t had much sleep this week…
When you don’t feel well…
When your kids are driving you nuts…
When the bills pile up…
When the diagnosis isn’t good…
When your heart is breaking…
Basic Bible math—easy to understand, but difficult to apply. Simple. Honest. Concrete. No questions.