For many reasons, and we can’t possibly tell the ‘why’ for all of them. For one thing, medical doctors would not have a job. (New thought: no sickness so no doctors needed in heaven.)

Many people make themselves sick by eating the wrong food, or too much wrong food. And almost every month I hear of a new sickness being discovered that was unknown in my youth. In the time of Jesus and up to the Industrial Revolution (around 1750) the air was clear of most pollutants. No cars, smoke belching chimneys, no aeroplanes, diesel trucks, and such like. We have grown to see them as necessary and mostly harmless. But now, all put together they are a threat. We breath in their exhaust ‘muck’. Today (5/12/11) a world campaign has begun in Australia to end asbestos mining and its use. The damn stuff can kill people!! MONEY is made from mining and using it to make asbestos sheets for roofs and walls – same as Australia did 60 years ago. This time it is India who uses it, supplied by Canada. Who cares about the thousands who will get sick and die? Some big business is only in there for the money – people, we will worry about tomorrow. Yuk!

Fast food, preservatives and other additives can, and do, make people sick. You need to be able to read and understand the labels. Many people cannot or don’t bother to read the label.

In John chapter 11 when Jesus raised Lazarus back to life He said: ‘The purpose of his illness is not death, but for the glory of God, I, the Son of God will receive glory from this situation.’ (John chapter 11 verse 4).

After that miracle a great many people believed that Jesus was the Messiah (God’s chosen one) and they told many others about Him. Such news spread like wildfire! Never happened that a person is raised from death before. Such things are rare today, but lifesaving operations are common!!

Today many doctors and caring people are trying to warn about the wrong foods. Many get too fat and that leads to several bad sicknesses like heart disease and diabetes. Both can kill you.

Finally, a thought. People who have never been really sick mostly don’t care much about those who do get sick. Sometimes do not even believe that they are really sick – until a serious illness knocks ‘em flat. Yes! ‘Oh, I feel really bad!’ Suddenly they have compassion for those who are sick. Big change of attitude indeed, and it changes them for the better. Sickness can lead to more understanding and compassion.

Thank you for a good question – I had not thought of it before. First, I guess that God knew that they were ‘Good for the job’, the right people and He knew that they would not mess it up. Think about it: God must have thought: “Who can I trust with this job? I need a couple with integrity above normal people.”

Because God, somehow, knows our every thought, He knew Mary, even though only a teenager, would do the right thing as the Archangel Gabriel unfolded the future to her. Gabriel came to Mary, while she was engaged to Joseph and told her: “Congratulations favoured lady! The Lord is with you...God has decided to wonderfully bless you... You will become pregnant.” (All in Luke Chapter 1 verses 26 to 38) There is much more in there too. Most men in those days would have had Mary publicly stoned to death for such an affair...‘an angel visited you- rubbish! You can’t get pregnant without having sex’. Joseph had not yet had sex with Mary. But Joseph was a man of integrity too. (Integrity means without serious faults or weaknesses.)

Matthew tells of Joseph’s character. “Then Joseph, her fiancé (husband to be), being a man of stern principle (a just man) decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn’t want to publicly disgrace her.” There is a gentleman who cares for another person’s feelings!

An angel came to him in a dream and told him the whole story about him (Joseph), being from the line of David and to fulfill Biblical prophecy that tells about a virgin having a Son. Joseph accepted the angel’s message and had no sexual relations with Mary until after the birth of Jesus. (That’s in Matthew Chapter 1: verses 18 to 25)

So God chose a ‘Son of David’ (Joseph) and Mary to raise Jesus to manhood because He knew they were the best couple for the task.

Thank you for a truly great question. Many ‘groan-ups’ never think of it, but it is very important to think about.

I guess that because I believe in God, ‘The meaning of life’ involves Jesus and life after death because we humans are only here on earth for 70 to 80 years. Not very long really if you realise that Moses and Elijah ‘came back’ and were with Jesus for a little while and talking with him. Peter, James and John saw them talking-and Moses had been dead for a thousand or more years,and Elijah for over 500 years (see Mathew Ch.17 Verses 1 to 9). It is interesting to note that Jesus told the three disciples. “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (v.9) ‘Wow! What’s he mean?’ I wonder what they thought of that? So, life after death has indeed, got a lot to do with the meaning of life.

If a person does not believe in God, then, as one of my ‘rellies’ said: “When you die you’re dead and that’s the end.” I guess that means you are like an animal in the wild: a buffalo, zebra, bird,a rabbit or a camel and so on. It dies and the body decays and only bones are left.

I believe that man (people) have a living soul, put there by God and a spirit too. This is tricky to understand: man is three parts: body, soul and spirit. God made us that way: the body is what you can see, our soul is who we are in our thoughts and behaviour and these can change as we grow up and our spirit is the immortal ‘God’ part that goes to God when we die. Our soul and spirit and very much ‘one’ in that my dictionary says: soul: ‘spiritual and immortal part of human being’ and: spirit:’life principle animating a body’.

When we die our ‘earthly remains’ are buried in a grave; or as some people like, cremated and their ashes kept for remembrance sake, mostly in a container called an urn, or are sometimes scattered over that persons favourite place like the sea or a forest.

So, I believe that we are born onto this earth to learn about everything we can, including God, having a wife or husband with a family and living a good useful life and be prepared for death to be in heaven with Jesus after we die.

While living here,I believe we should learn to have common sense, love (true care) for others and to leave this world a better place for us having been here. Look up at the sky on a clear night: “Who made the 400 billion stars up there?” (that’s our galaxy The Milky Way). There are thousands, or maybe millions of other galaxies as well. Who, or what, caused them or made them? We humans are really only a very small spec on an exceptionally beautiful planet, in an ordinary ‘Solar system’ in a corner of The Milky Way. Yet, God’s son came here to show us the way, die for us and guarantee a place in heaven – if we want it. That is ‘Good News’ indeed. I often wonder is there life in other galaxies. Are we (us) the only living souls in the whole universe? I think ‘No, there must be others.’

A very popular song in the 1950s (when I was young) was ‘Nature Boy’ sung by popular guy named Johnny Rae. Two lines I recall were: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love, and be loved in return.” Jesus also said as much to his 12 disciples “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John chapter 13: verse 34)

To ‘love’ someone does not mean you have to like that person. It means you treat them like Jesus would have you treat them, with compassion and fairness.(‘love’ has at least four other meanings). I think that I can say truthfully: ‘love is the foundation of the whole Bible, God’s love for his created children (us).’

Finally dear reader: God gave us a sense of humour – laughing at something funny. Do look for good clean fun because laughter produces endorphins in our body and they are very good for your health and mental outlook. That has been proved true by scientists:eg. “What did the hat say to the necklace?” “You go on ahead and I’ll hang around.” And: “What did the shorts say to the shirt as mum put them in the washing machine?” “I’ll see you on the clothes line – that’s where we hang out.”

Yes! He certainly does, as He did when He was here on the earth. A quick read of the Bible could give the impression that everybody loved Him. Not so. Jesus upset the religious and political leaders – the Pharisees and Temple Priests because most of them were cheating the ordinary people and living ‘The good life’; even cheating widows! Jesus gave them a terrible tongue-lashing (told them off) in Matthew Chapter 23). There were no books, radios or newspapers then for the ordinary people to discover for themselves just what the Bible said. People only found out about God from what their leaders told them; and in many places the leaders changed the ‘rules’ to suit themselves and neglected compassion and a ‘fair go’ as we understand it today in Australia.

Some Christian leaders today would not ‘pass the test’ in Jesus’ eyes because they ‘Love the praises of men’ and preach the Bible to make money and to have people say nice things to them, and about them. Some people just crave the praise of other people. Jesus did not.

I reckon He would have made a cuppa tea, got a biscuit and had a lie down! The Bible simply says: “So on the seventh day, having finished His task, God ceased from the work He had been doing, and God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when He ceased this work of creation.” (Genesis Ch.2:verse2-3, The Living Bible)

Why did I put in the bit about a cuppa tea? For a bit of fun – but also to indicate that He may have been tired. Read Genesis chapter one – it would seem a mighty lot of work even if He had ten zillion angels helping.

So, what did God make? He made an ordinance to rest on the seventh day and that is in The Ten Commandments: “Remember to observe the Sabbath as a holy day. Six days a week are for your daily duties and your regular work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest before the Lord your God.” (Exodus Ch.20.Verse 8-9)

Today the Christian church only partly follows this commandment. Some say that Jesus changed it because salvation removed that requirement and every day is a day to worship and do work for Him. Policemen, doctors, nurses, firemen and so on must work on the ‘Sabbath’ day (Sunday). The Jewish people and Seventh Day Adventist people worship on Saturday which they call the Sabbath. A bit confusing sometimes isn’t it.

Jesus was accused by the Temple religious leaders for doing work on the Sabbath. Jesus asked them: “If your cow falls into a pit, don’t you proceed at once to get it out?” (see Luke Ch.14:verses 1 to 6) They were humiliated because Jesus showed them up as hypocrites for not having common sense. Of course you would help a cow out of a pit on the Sabbath.

In Jerusalem today, some Jews throw rocks at other Jews who drive to the Synagogue in their Mercedes-Benz cars – ‘that’s work on the Sabbath,’ they say, and say that all Jews should walk to the synagogue. I heard that on the radio. Bit of a problem there.

A little personal view: At more than 80 years old now, I find that the society I live in seems to be going too fast. We never seem to slow down to ‘smell the flowers’, to be still and just rest. Too many people work too much or too hard and get Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, have mental or emotional problems, and get just ‘worn out’ and finish up in a hospital having a forced rest. Maybe God did know that a day of rest is best for us all.

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The Answerer

The Answerer - Peter Harris, answered children's questions from his many years of teaching "Scripture" classes.
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