Wednesday, May 04, 2011

What I'm learning - part 1

I feel like the past month God has been teaching me so much. I'm going to try and write out a bit of it on this blog over the next few days/weeks as a way of processing. And if you're a Hub City Slicker then you're probably going to hear a lot about this come June.

There's this story in Matthew 11 where John the Baptist is in prison. While there, he sends his disciples to find out if Jesus was really the one.

Now, if you think about it, that really doesn't make any sense. John knew who Jesus was before he even came out of his momma's tummy. John was there at the baptism of Jesus (he actually did the baptism) and he saw the spirit descend on Jesus and heard the voice from the father. If anybody should know who Jesus was it should have been John.

But John's life didn't quite turn out like he'd hoped or planned. I'm pretty sure he never planned on being arrested and thrown in jail. He was a man with connections to the Son of God for crying out loud, yet he ended up in prison.

So John did what any of us would do in that situation: He doubted. And he sends his followers to find out the truth about Jesus. Maybe he'd got it wrong. He needed to know for sure.

Look at how Jesus responds: “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."

Now, these miracles weren't a big surprise to John. He knew what Jesus had been doing. Everybody knew what Jesus was doing. But it's verse 6 that jumps out: Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.

What the heck does Jesus mean here?

I think what Jesus is getting at is this: John, I know things haven't quite turned out how you hoped they'd turn out. Prison wasn't in your five-year plan. But blessed are you if you don't fall away when things don't turn out the way you think they should turn out. When following me doesn't get you where you thought it would... when following me doesn't get you an easier or better life... when following me leads to suffering... when following me is more difficult than throwing in the towel... when following me costs more than you thought it would....

Honestly, following Jesus has cost me more than I thought it would. Planting a church has been way harder than I thought it would. Things haven't turned out like I thought they would. Maybe they never will. I'm not who I thought I would be. Maybe I never will.

But I don't want to fall away on account of following Jesus.

I take comfort and get motivation from Hebrews 12:1-3

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

That's all for today.

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