weekly theme #7*
week containing the first Sunday after Epiphany
Mark 1:22 says, “They were amazed at [Jesus’] teaching, for he taught as one who had real authority – quite unlike the teachers of the religious law.” I think it was more than his style or method of teaching that impressed those who listened to Jesus. I believe it also held a depth that was only possible because of his communication and confidence with Father as well as his knowledge of the life beyond death. I believe eternity will be more marvelous than I can imagine, and one of the highlights will be peace in all the relationships there.
Jesus said that he could only do what he saw his Father do (John 5:19), and he gave huge quantities of time to the relationship with his Father. (Luke 6:12, Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46-47) He filled himself with what the Father modeled and that bore good fruit. What fills me determines my beliefs, then my values, then my behavior, and ultimately the fruit I bear. My fruit indicates my filling.
I’m sitting in a room with several chairs scattered about, and one chair sits alone in the middle – facing my direction. I imagined Jesus sitting there and asked him how I can balance all the things that beckon for my focus. In a patient voice he said, “Focus on me.” I cannot focus whole-heartedly on more than one thing, and nothing is more worthy of my focus than Jesus. Only he can save me, and just as importantly, only he can improve me. My best effort at improvement is cooperating with the LORD. Thinking that I improve myself leads to pride and judgment of others. I put myself on a pedestal to look down at others.
My call should send me to my knees, not a pedestal. Jesus has trusted me to do his work, and I can only do his work if he possesses me. “He will not crush those who are weak or quench the smallest hope. He will bring full justice to all who have been wronged. He will not stop until truth and righteousness prevail throughout the earth.” (Isaiah 42:3-4a) This is what Christ’s Body, the Church, is to do. This is what I am to do.
When confronted by people who say, “Why doesn’t God do something?” I must honestly answer that he has. He has empowered and commanded his followers to let him work through us, but we refuse to cooperate faithfully. Honestly, I’m part of the problem when God designed me to be part of the solution.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.