12
APR
2019

The Beauty of the Ashes: Wisdom, Let Us Attend

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Wisdom, Let Us Attend

“Let us test him with insult and torture,
so that we may find out how gentle he is,
and make trial of his forbearance.”

Wisdom 2:19

It’s only one more week till Good Friday, a day which no doubt is one of our high holy days as disciples of Jesus. We mark special days and times with special readings of scripture, so that we may ‘enter in’with our spirits, to the very remembrance of what we celebrate. In our ‘entering in’, we hope to see anew our souls as they are before God. We seek to hear Jesus’ words to them then, as His words to us today. We want Him to search us and see if there is any wicked way in us (Psalm 139:23), that we may repent and be saved.

Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, is one of those times we ‘enter in’to such remembrances. Today we reflect on one of the readings of scripture for next week on Good Friday. However, the scripture is not one you may have heard before as it comes from what many Protestants call the ‘Apocrypha’ – The Book of Wisdom. 

In our ‘entering in’, we hope to see anew our souls as they are before God.

Such books were set aside for holy reading, but not viewed as inspired by the some of the Protestant Reformers, which was a departure from the historic view of those books by both, Western and Eastern Christians. Whatever your opinion may be on what should or should not be a part of the Canon of Scripture, one thing is certain; you can’t read the Book of Wisdom and not see its inspired prophetic tone. 

Wisdom, chapter two, is voiced as the thoughts of the evil men who put Jesus to death. Their thoughts speak of how they detest Jesus for what they see Him as, a self-righteousness man who professes special knowledge and condemned their ways:

12 ‘Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
he reproaches us for sins against the law,
and accuses us of sins against our training. 
13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
and calls himself a child
* of the Lord.

Wisdom 2:12-13

In their evil thoughts, those who condemned Jesus to death, didn’t realize how prophetic they were. Jesus is ‘the righteous man’, ‘the Messiah’. They saw Jesus as, “…inconvenient”. I pray we never see Jesus and His ways as an ‘inconvenience’, but I’m afraid we often do. How many times do we put off His urgings to us and dismiss them as just our own contriving’s? Jesus’ words do bring conviction to our souls if our hearts are open. Sadly, we know many hearts are not open to the Spirit of God. 

As you prepare for Holy Week, I invite you to read Wisdom chapter two. You can read the entire chapter here. Listen for the voices of evil and notice how contemporary they are to the thoughts of so many today. Jesus challenged their way of living and thinking then, as He still does ours today. 

In the ancient liturgies of Eastern Christianity, before scripture is read, the Reader chants out, “Wisdom, let us attend!”Let us attend to the wisdom of the Word today. May Jesus search us today and see if there be any wicked way in us… and let us repent, that He may turn our ashes into beauty.

Pastor Brad

Shalom for a Holy Lent,

Image credit: https://www.ubiquityuniversity.org/wisdom-school/GreatBooks.htm

About the Author
Brad is Associate Pastor of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, and the founder of the Merciful Servants of Christ, a spiritual formation teaching ministry of Brad Riley Ministries.
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