Journey to Awareness Lent Day 28

NIV Acts 14:19  Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.

It has never been easy to be a follower of Jesus.   There have always been those who have tried to stop the influence of the impact of the incarnation (both human and demonic).  Jesus himself warn those who would follow him that (Luke 21:12)  they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.

In another of the gospels Jesus says: (John 15:20-21)  Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

Then there is the world of the North American Christians.  We have freedom of religion.  We have prosperity.  We have options and choices and a church market that works to meet our needs.  Doesn’t seem like it is so difficult.  Maybe a person risks being called a Jesus Freak or a Bible Thumper if the talk about their faith at the office or any other place outside of church but that is about the greatest “persecution” we face.  Isn’t it?

Jesus told a parable about a rich man and a man named Lazarus (Luke 16).  In this parable it is the rich man, the one who has it easy in life that ends up suffering the most.  The pop theology of that time would have said that the rich man was blessed by God.  He was not.  I wonder if the principalities and powers that have sought to  stop Jesus, prevent his influence, eradicate his followers and destroy his church has decided to take the parable to heart.  What if the worst form of persecution is to be made content and irrelevant?  In the book of Revelation there is a pronouncement made against a particular church.  The Scripture states:  (Revelation 3:15-17)   I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!  So, because you are lukewarm– neither hot nor cold– I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

Lent calls us to listen carefully to the words of our Lord.  It is a time to repent (change directions) when we have been headed the wrong way.  It is a time to be penitent when we awake to our sins, our errors, our wrong choices.  We need to believe the words of our Lord.  Either Jesus is wrong about what he said we would face or else we have allowed a great deception and delusion set us up for something far worse than being stoned by an angry crowd.

Pray for awareness.  Seek what we should be seeking.


The Fifth Sunday of Lent

NIV John 12:7  “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial.”

In our culture most people do not like talking about funerals, especially if they are in their early thirties.  This is why insurance marketers sell “life” insurance rather than death insurance which is what the product actually is.  As we get old and become more aware of our mortality we do sometimes think and even plan for the eventual reality.

In the passage above the inevitable is faced.  Mary knew Jesus would die and that she would care for his body.  How she knew this we are not told.  Perhaps it is because of what we are told in Luke 10:39:   Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what He said.  She listened.

Jesus knew that when he entered this world as God incarnate, God as human, he was coming to face death.  He knew that he would not grow old and die an easy death.  He knew he was walking into a realm in which the powers and principalities thought they were in control.  Jesus taught about the reality of his death and the promise of his resurrection.  Mary had taken appropriate measure to be ready.

But why did she use this valuable perfume now?  We are not told her the reason for he motive, but it is obvious the motive was one of love, appreciation, and a desire to make someone feel special.

We are very special to Jesus.  Jesus has proven this by the incarnation and his acceptance of the cross.  But how special is Jesus to us?  Is Jesus just special in our minds or is Jesus special in our acts and worship?

During Lent we do things to draw us nearer to our Lord.  We do thing to remind us of how and why he died.  In Lent we seek to walk with our Lord toward his destiny.  Hopefully during this time these events will motive us to do something special for him.  Hopefully out of love we will seek to give, support, tell, share, and generally move the priorities of our lives more toward our devotion to God and the perfection God calls us to seek.

As you worship on this Sunday, do something special for Jesus.