Friday, December 21, 2012

Mathetes 11 - You can trust me

This is a continuation of my series on Mathetes letter to Diognetus. If you are unfamiliar with Mathetes or his letter to Diognetus, you may want to first read the introduction to this series.

Mathetes assures us that we can trust him is what he is saying. He is well acquainted with the message he is teaching and he learned it directly from the Apostles of our Lord. Jesus communicated His message to the Apostles and he learned it directly from them. Having been taught this message from God, he has subsequently become and teacher and disciple to the gentiles. Not of his own accord but by the will of God.
"I do not speak of things strange to me, nor do I aim at anything inconsistent with right reason; but having been a disciple of the Apostles, I am become a teacher of the Gentiles. I minister the things delivered to me to those that are disciples worthy of the truth." (Mathetes 11)
Those whom he deems "worthy of the truth" are those who, not only believe, also have a desire to accurately learn this message sent sent to us by God; they not only graciously receive salvation from God but have a burning desire in their hearts to fully learn, understand, and share this glorious message that has been delivered once and for all to mankind.
"For who that is rightly taught and begotten by the loving Word, would not seek to learn accurately the things which have been clearly shown by the Word to His disciples, to whom the Word being manifested has revealed them, speaking plainly [to them], not understood indeed by the unbelieving, but conversing with the disciples, who, being esteemed faithful by Him, acquired a knowledge of the mysteries of the Father?" (Mathetes 11)
Jesus came not only to save us but also to teach us God's message; to teach it to all who wish to know and understand that message, Jesus willingly reveals that message to us and helps us to understand it and to apply it to our lives. This is, in part, the reason why He came. Speaking of Jesus, Mathetes says,
"This is He who was from the beginning, who appeared as if new, and was found old, and yet who is ever born afresh in the hearts of the saints. This is He who, being from everlasting, is to-day called the Son; through whom the Church is enriched, and grace, widely spread, increases in the saints, furnishing understanding, revealing mysteries, announcing times, rejoicing over the faithful, giving to those that seek, by whom the limits of faith are not broken through, nor the boundaries set by the fathers passed over." (Mathetes 11)
Oh the blessings of knowing Christ, who being from old is ever new in our hearts, who disperses grace and love to all who believe.

It is interesting that Mathetes speaks of the "limits of faith" and the "boundaries set by the fathers." Jesus not only teaches us God's message but He also keeps us from going into error; from "going too far." I'm sure he had in mind some of those Gnostic sects who took God's word and re-imagined it after their own unholy reasoning to create a new religion for which Christ was no longer the head. However, when we hold fast to the Son, His grace keeps us within the bounds of faith and sound doctrine; a doctrine that is consistent with the "boundaries" of the fathers.

If we will yield ourselves to the Son and to His teaching, then our lives will be changed and even our desires remolded into conformance with His own. The things that are precious to Him will become precious to us and the things known to him will be revealed in us.
"Then the fear of the law is chanted, and the grace of the prophets is known, and the faith of the gospels is established, and the tradition of the Apostles is preserved, and the grace of the Church exults; which grace if you grieve not, you shall know those things which the Word teaches, by whom He wills, and when He pleases." (Mathetes 11)
This journey begins by coming to Jesus, continues by devoting ourselves to understanding and living according to His message, and is rewarded by the many blessing to be found in His presence.

It is for the love of this message, and for the effect it has on the lives of people, that Mathetes and men like him, devoted their lives to teaching and disciplining the world.
"For whatever things we are moved to utter by the will of the Word commanding us, we communicate to you with pains, and from a love of the things that have been revealed to us." (Mathetes 11)
Let their love for the things of God become contagious in our lives. Let their love for God and His message become our love for the same. In doing so we too will find the righteousness, peace, and joy they have found in Christ.

David Robison

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