We’ve essentially come to the end of Epiphany, the Season of Light. In this scene from Matthew 26, Jesus knows his journey is ending.
It is a dark time, only to get worse. After the Last Supper with his disciples and friends, he goes to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was anguished and distressed.
In the parable of The Sheep and the Goats, Jesus says:
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” Matthew 25:35-36
Clearly the actions we put to our faith matter. They matter to the Lord, they matter to “the least of these”, and they matter to our eternal destiny.
John the Baptist was a forerunner. His mission was to point people to the One who was to come.
In our generation there are many who have a similar calling – to prophetically prepare the way of the Lord, and point people to Jesus.
Back in the day I wrote a song called “A New Song”, the first line of the chorus is based on this scripture from Psalm 22:3.
But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel. (World English Bible)
Who do you say Jesus is? That’s the defining issue of life.
By the time Jesus asked his disciples this question, they had quite a bit of history with him. They had seen his miracles, heard his teaching, and knew his character intimately.
First on a personal note, it snowed this weekend in Nashville and shut down everything. In fact, even our church services were cancelled, which I can never recall happening before.
The ministry of Jesus begins with the end in mind. The culmination of history is going to be a heavenly wedding. The final scene of God’s story is the feast of the marriage of the Lamb, Jesus the bridegroom, to His bride, the body of Christ.
A lifetime of rejection might just leave you predisposed to hopelessness.
Leprosy is a horrible disease, about 5 million people still suffer from it today, mostly in impoverished areas of the world. In the ancient world there was a terrible social stigma associated with leprosy, and sufferers were banished to live isolated in leper colonies. Talk about adding insult to injury!
After his baptism, which must have been a wonderful moment for Jesus, he faced his first test of character. And it was titanic.
Does this sound familiar to you?
“Our mission is to make disciples for the transformation of the world”.
To make a disciple, you must first be a disciple. That’s where your journey begins, at that moment of decision. Your response orients the entire trajectory of your life journey.
Everywhere, all the time – God is speaking.
He’s talking specifically, personally to you and to me – and to “us”.
He’s speaking through His Word, He’s speaking through his Holy Spirit, He’s speaking through your pastor’s preaching, He’s speaking through the conversations you have, He is speaking through the prophetic signs of our day, He’s speaking through your circumstances.
“Be fruitful and multiply” is the the Divine Directive for the human species.
Since the dawn of creation the Lord ordained this mandate:
“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over …. every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
Part of that mandate means to procreate prolifically. No objection there, have fun with that.