Well, I’ve been rejected by my own flesh and blood…
My homecoming meetings were really badly received…
I’ve got a bit of fame, but nobody is really understanding who I am.
Oh, and my big team mate has had his head chopped off by a despot.
That’s how it’s going.
Steady Upward Progress isn’t the path Jesus walked.
So if you’re following Him disciple, expect a few up and downs in this age.
One step along the path of discipleship is being instructed to do something that is seemingly way beyond your current capacity and resource. Impossibly so.
Heal the sick. Love your enemy. Sell all you have. Cast out a demon. Turn the other cheek. Feed 5,000. Walk on water.
Once you’ve come and seen, and given it a hearing, it moves on into – do the impossible.
Of course you can’t do it.
Apart from Him you can’t do anything.
The impossible imperatives are designed to drive you to a strength of connection that you would never throw yourself into if you always remain sure on the shore.
They push you beyond your abilities, and on into His.
And on the other side you’ll sometimes be disheartened with your suspicions confirmed – “that was never going to work”.
But occasionally you’ll find yourself filling twelve baskets with leftovers, shaking your head and wondering, ‘did that really just happen?!’
If it’s not beyond you, it probably isn’t transforming you.
You give them something to eat.
You may be absolutely swamped. Or spinning out of control.
But be sure of this – His poise is perfectly maintained.
He remains, perhaps frustratingly for his followers, absolutely unflustered by the disaster, or the drama.
It’s not that He’s in anyway cold, or aloof. In many ways He cares more than you do. He still lives and breathes compassion.
But he knows that worry won’t add anything to the situation. Stressing out about it won’t lead to success. He’s secure in the love that Father has for him. Full of faith and hope and love.
Disciple, He is your Rock, and your Redeemer. He is bringing about your rescue and your redemption.
You can trust Him today.
The church I’ve jumped in with is very upfront about what lense we view the bible through. We have the fancy theological term: inaugurated eschatology; the movement slogan: now and not yet (Vineyard); and a day to day meme: grubby orange.
It’s the language we speak, and it’s helpful vocabulary because it’s also the life that we live.
We’re expectant for miracles – there is gold to be had. We’re unsurprised by disasters – the waters are dark red sometimes.
We’re delighted that the Kingdom of God is now – close enough to be grabbed! We’re hungry for the Kingdom to come – we’re not kidding ourselves that we’re in heaven yet.
The King has come, we welcome Him and honour his rule. The battle still rages – so we take the knocks and the blows.
People can be honest about their frustrations, their fights and their failures AND we can push on into being transformed and making an impact.
We don’t do escapism – you have to keep it real, but nor do we fully accept the status quo – there’s a resurrected King about, after all.
You are here.
In between resurrection and return, with all that that entails.
Disciple, you won’t see ministry success in every setting.
Jesus didn’t. Nazareth doubted, Jerusalem kicked back, the Pharisees took offense.
And He was perfect!
You’ll walk into some scenes, persevere for a bit, then look around and think – ‘this just ain’t happening here’.
It’s ok to move on. We endure in our faithfulness to Jesus, and, when confronted with shut doors, we shake off the dust and go on to the next town.
In one of four ways:
a) your body will mend itself. Remarkably, those white cells, or some other self-healing mechanism will charge for it, and you’ll be healed. How incredible to have been given a self healing body.
b) an intervention from the medical profession will sort you out. A surgery will be successful, or a plaster will help, or the medicine will work. Thank God for this.
c) the last trumpet will sound and all will be made new – including your body. No more crying, no more sickness, just gloriously fully functioning resurrection bodies. Though it’s a wait away, this will happen.
d) ‘inaugurated eschatology’ sometimes means that the reign of c), through Jesus, breaks into this age and you receive a healing. Somebody will lay a hand on you, anoint you with oil or speak to you in His name and what is popularly called a miracle occurs in amongst the mess and pain of this grubby orange age. Giving us a token, and stoking our yearning for what’s on its way.
Healing will come… in this age, or at the start of the next.
So Lord let your Kingdom come and your will be done today we pray.
H/T The Life You Never Expected