Stop Looking for Signs

March 16, 2022.

Humans are tentative by nature. I supposed that is the reason we are referred to as being sheep-like in scripture. While there is merit to being thoughtful, Christianity needs simple and bold follower-ship  too.

#JesusStory: Mark 8 tells of a time when some Pharisees started arguing with Jesus, and wanted him to give them a sign from heaven. When Jesus heard this, he groaned and said, “Why are you always looking for a sign? I can promise you that you will not be given one.” And with that he turned, walked away, got into a boat, and crossed over to the other side of the lake. Why did Jesus so completely and abruptly leave them in his dust? I think it was because they started off argumentative. They were not looking for a confirmation or an assurance that Jesus was there to open up the Kingdom of God for them, they were defending their leadership, their will, and their authority. Anyone, past or present or future, who is arguing with Jesus isn’t looking to follow the leadership of Jesus. And those people will not be given confirmations or assurances about Jesus’ authority. But, this isn’t just a Pharisee problem; sometimes our self-will arises, doesn’t it? When that happens, we find ourselve’s saying things like: “Lord, if you are really asking me to do this, then give me a sign?” And when we ask this, we usually find a silent heaven. Because our hearts are defending our own will, rather than yielding our life to “following Jesus’ life”. Maybe it is time to stop looking for signs and simply follow Jesus’ ways.

Following Jesus does not mean agreeing to be a Christian; it does mean replicating the things Jesus did in our life situations. Jesus healed people, so we follow Jesus by starting to pray healing over people; Jesus spent time with the poor, so we follow Jesus by spending time with the poor; Jesus confronted evil, so we follow Jesus by confronting evil in prayer when it shows up in our lives or the lives of those around us. But, this is where the rub is – actually engaging in the behaviors of Jesus. We can follow Jesus in theory, but when we are asked to follow the actual behaviors of Jesus like preaching to the poor or square off with evil, our self-rule sometimes rises up. It is then that we become a bit Pharisaical and find ourselves saying: “Jesus, if you really want me to be with the poor, you’re going to have to give me a sign!” You’ll probably hear crickets. Because Jesus already told us, “Follow me!”

#DinnerChurchQuotes: The Greek word for hospitality in the New Testament is philoxenoi, which literally means a love for strangers solely because of their disconnectedness. (David Lim)

#PracticalStuff: This is a great time to sit your team down, read the verses about “taking up our cross and following Jesus”, and discussing what is actually being asked of us around these Jesus Tables. We are called to replicate the works of Jesus, not recite the verses about Jesus. We are not disciples that speak Bible well, we are disciples that do the things Jesus did. There is a difference. Only the latter disciples will be able to advance the Kingdom. What do you think about such a discussion with your team?

Blessings & Boldness,

Verlon

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