The Logic of a paradox

 

(Luke 6:38 KJV)  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

                                                                                                                    

(Luke 17:33 KJVA)  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

 

(Luke 13:30 KJVA)  And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

 

(Luke 22:26 KJVA)  But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

 

 

Give to receive.

 

You must lose to life to gain life.

 

The last will be first and the first last.

 

He who is the least amongst you will be the greatest.

 

It all makes so much sense, in an upside down universe kind of way. It really is no wonder the unbelievers have such a hard time getting their minds around this Christianity thing. Our human minds want everything to be in a logical order. Jesus reveals the truth through the reality of the paradox of eternal life.

 

I am once again reminded of Longfellow’s poem “The Psalm of Life.” in it he talks about life and death and things not being as they seem….

 

“Tell me not in mournful numbers

Life is but an empty dream.

For the soul is dead that slumbers

And things are not what they seem….

 

I believe it was Aristotle  who first put logic in a mathematical format.  If A = B and B = C then A=C….. or something like that. OK, I’ll look it up real quick…

 

Check this out. I copied this off the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

 

As an example of the procedure, we may take Aristotle's proof of Camestres. He says:

If M belongs to every N but to no X, then neither will N belong to any X. For if M belongs to no X, then neither does X belong to any M; but M belonged to every N; therefore, X will belong to no M (for the first figure has come about). And since the privative converts, neither will N belong to any X. (An. Pr. I.5, 27a9-12)

 

Now, there is some perfect logic for you….. Some how I think the paradox of the first being last suddenly begins to be easier to understand.

 

But, I digress. What I hope to get across today is really the logic behind all the paradoxes we find in the Bible. Now, if you have spent any time searching other religions you will recognize the similarity of paradoxical logic. Especially in the eastern religions and that of India. An example would be Chuang-tzu who said

 

 "That which is one is one. That which is not-one, is also one."

Now that makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? NOT! OK now that we are all good and confused……

 

Let’s look at this from a more logical perspective. What is it that we desire?

 

It has been said that the two prime motivators in life are accomplishment and recognition. We want to get things done. We want to accomplish things with our lives. William James talked about how the best way to live your life was to spend it on something that would outlast it. We want our legacy to go on after us. We want to be remembered. We want, want, and want.

 

In America it seems that the American dream is fame and fortune. It becomes a rat race. But if we take the time to step back and look at things we can see how what we are really looking for is peace of mind. We want to be at peace with God. We want to be at peace with ourselves and our environment. We want to be at peace with our relationships we want peace in our households we want to have financial security that will provide the inner peace we are so desperately looking for in some of the strangest places. So as we look for our financial security that will lead us to peace we work and work and struggle and strive and worry and count our money and balance our check books and check and recheck our bank account…… Not much peace there!

 

The paradox that Jesus gives us is not a means to an end. We should not be literally killing ourselves so that we can have eternal life. We should not be walking around like the lowliest of lowly slaves in order to be great in the kingdom. And we should not be frantically giving every penny we have in the hopes of getting rich.

 

Jesus gives us the paradox to show us the folly of our vain strivings. Too often we waist our precious lives chancing the wind. We chase after money, as if money is going to give us the peace we are looking for. We chase after relationship thinking this person will give us the love we are looking for. We chase after fame thinking it will give us the comfort we are looking for.

 

Stop chasing the wind. Look within and discover the peace that passes understanding. Look to Jesus and find the true love that is unconditional. Look to the Holy Spirit and never, ever be alone again.

 

What I want us to do is to take a good close look at the four verse above and see exactly what Jesus was telling us in the paradox.

 

In the first on He tells us to give and it will be given. When studying the Bible the first thing you should do is to take the passage in question into context. In other words read the verses before and after to discover exactly what the passage refers to. Beginning at the 20th verse of this 6th chapter of Luke we have basically the discourse of the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount.

 

If we just take the verse before and the verse following this passage about giving we can discover a deeper meaning than the prosperity people would have you chase after.

 

Now do not get me wrong. I am into prosperity. I know that it is God’s will that His people prosper and be of good health. But let’s make sure we know what The Father is saying to us before we just run off chasing the wind.

 

(Luke 6:37 KJVA)  Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:

 

(Luke 6:38 KJVA)  Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

 

(Luke 6:39 KJVA)  And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch?

 

OK, so first of all He is not really even talking about giving money here. He is talking about giving mercy. He is talking about our relationships with others. Do not forget what is the main thing. Jesus tells us over and over again. The first love the LORD your God with all your heart… and at the same time love your neighbor as yourself. It is not about the money it is about your relationships. It is about not being so judgmental of other folks. It is about forgiveness.

 

Do you see why he puts the verse about the blind leading the blind right after the verse about giving? Because if you do not open your eyes to see the truth, someone will lead you down the road of destruction.

 

Now for the sake of time let’s quickly move on to the next verse.

 

(Luke 17:33 KJVA)  Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

 

For this paradox you must know what Jesus is talking about. People were asking him when the Kingdom would be coming into existence. The key to this paradox is found in the 21st verse.

 

(Luke 17:21 KJVA)  Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

 

Too often we are looking for a sign, or waiting for that grand and glorious day. Jesus wants you to live experience the kingdom for yourself right now right here in the land of the living. No one can rob you of it.

 

OK, OK, I can see I am going to have to carry this over to another message. But we can see what God has given us today and let is sink in. Search it out for yourself. What exactly is God telling you through this message and how can you apply it your personal day to day life.

 

I wish I could simply say to let the peace of God dwell richly within you and we would, but we all continue to be chasing after something. Too often we get confused between what we need and want we want and in going after what we want we get so wrapped up in it we forget why we were going after it in the first place.

 

Don’t let you job take you away from the family that you are working to support. But make sure you are taking care of your family. Sometimes in a paradox we need to find the center to discover the goal.

 

Life is not in the destination, it is in the journey. And you are not in this alone. The more you open yourself up to others around you the more love and real joy you will be able to experience in your journey.