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The Burst of Excitement
by Terry Barlow
01/27/14
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Those of you who have ever watched or played basketball might have noticed that oftentimes immediately after a player makes a good play like sinking a much needed basket, he or she gets excited and over-eager on defense committing a foul and thereby potentially undoing some of the good just achieved. It also happens when a player has been embarrassed somehow on the offensive end and tries instinctively but uselessly to undo or compensate the offensive mistake in order to vindicate himself, thereby adding insult to injury, so to speak, compounding the problem. Something much like the former happened in Matthew 16 when Peter had just made that historic confession about the identity of Jesus which excited him so as he heard the praise of his master that he proceeded promptly to rebuke Jesus very strongly for speaking of the death and suffering that was part of the messianic calling. Jesus understands this, knowing we are human and inclined to such folly, especially before we have sufficiently matured to have a better chance of avoiding those kinds of pitfalls.  Long before Peter in Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu may have been victims of the burst of excitement,  for God's glory had just fallen amidst the joyous shouts of the people when they impetuously employed their "strange(unauthorized)fire" and were struck dead because of it.  What a wise and good shepherd Jesus is, though,  knowing the propensity of sheep to get disoriented and to forget about his strength and affection. He knows that we, as the human sheep of his fold, need frequent reminders of his grace and skill in guiding us. He chose the apt metaphor of shepherd and sheep for good reason.



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