Summary: Jesus is not ’out there’ but he’s right where you are, in your world.
Jesus Loves to Work in Your Life and World
September 18, 2005
Do you live expecting Jesus to work in your life and in the world in which you live? Or do you believe that Jesus has stopped that kind of work, and leaves things pretty much to you to figure out, with just a promise for future union with Him at the end of your life?
It is important to know, in order to be open to experiencing its reality, that Jesus is alive and well and living and active today, even as in the past.
Today, let’s look at ‘a day in the life of Jesus’. In reality, this may have been a little longer than a day, but the focus, at least, will be on one short season of life and ministry, during his 3 ½ year ministry. Please turn to Mark 1. As you may know, the gospel of Mark is very much focused on action. More than words, you see action in this shortest of the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ life. This gospel seems to have had a wider audience, than just Jewish people, in mind and, in the action, it focuses on the superhuman Jesus. His deity is being shown in his action, including his miracles.
Mk.1.14-15- Jesus began his ministry in Galilee- near where he had grown up. Other accounts confirm this. In some ways, this seems counter-intuitive. Often, we feel, when entering into something new and radical, that it would be easier to begin where people don’t know us. For instance, when it comes to ‘doing missions’, it’s easier, often, to think in terms of going to Africa or Asia than to begin in our own back yard. On the other hand, there is certain wisdom in beginning close to home, in order to have a body of support or familiarity, at least, and this seems to be what Jesus was doing.
Jesus’ message is important here. As I said, Mark is more about action than message, but what is said is vital and gives certain form to the actions.
“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe in the gospel.” This is a powerful message. ‘The time is fulfilled’ had great meaning to those who listened. They were part of a nation looking for the arrival of Messiah, and he said it had happened. People wanted God’s kingdom, as opposed to the Roman kingdom which oppressed them, so this was good news, on the physical level, which was about as far as many got with it. For Jesus, of course, it meant more, but he was one to allow the people to come to that ‘in their time’. Let’s focus on ‘repent and believe the gospel’ for a few moments. What does ‘repent’ mean? Any ideas, please?
- stop not believing
- stop not accepting Jesus’ grace given to you. What did repentance mean to Zacchaeus? Was it about the restoring of money to people and the like? Or was it about his accepting acceptance, and then acting out of that? I believe it’s very easy to simplify and trivialize repentance and to think only in terms of ‘sin’. That’s easy to do- if we steal a chocolate bar and are sorry for that and think of that as repentance- which it is- but it keeps our spiritual life at a very low level- it’s only about rules and following them. However, repentance, and following Jesus has more to do with response to love and acceptance, and living from that. This expands our concept of repentance and puts it at a higher level.
- Stop and go with God- this is NOT the same as stop, turn around, go the other way. You can’t do that, really. What we aren’t on about it simply retracing steps. What we ARE on about is going with God.
So, beyond all other ideas, when Jesus calls one to repent, he is calling someone to be willing to go with Him. Someone has to give up going with himself and be willing to go with Jesus.
We see this immediately.
v.16-20- these men stopped what they were doing and went with Jesus. He wanted them to go with Him and they did just that. This action showed more than words, alone, can show. They were willing to drop what they were doing and go with Jesus. Do you think Jesus ever does this today? Is there any chance that he might come to you and ask something like this of you? Could he ask this of you? Whatever your thoughts on this, he did it with these, who became the early leaders of his movement- the church- after his ascension to heaven. You have to guess that they knew Jesus already- maybe they had grown up together- at least some of them- and maybe Jesus had already talked with some of them about what he had coming up in his life. Maybe it seemed like a dream or impossible to these boys, then as men. Or maybe, as teens, they talked, then it all faded away as they all go into work, and here it was, as he said. We really don’t know the human dynamic here. However, something monumental happened and they were in on the ground floor of it.