Making Service Personal Reflection

February, 2015

Jesus did not come to discuss the Law nor to challenge the Roman Empire.

The main thing in life is learning to keep the main thing the main thing. I know all too well how easy it is to become distracted and lose sight of what should be my everything. I catch myself becoming anxious or becoming worked up and debating passionately over matters that simply do not deserve that much energy or allegiance. O Lord grant me the Grace to know Your heart; to make my thoughts Your thoughts, my worries Your worries, my words Your words, my passions Your passions, Your foolishness my foolishness, and let go of all that is not you.

From Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel

In first-century Palestine, the people of Judea and Galilee fudged and hedged on the proclamation of the reign of God. Jesus announced that the old era was done, that a new age had dawned, and the only appropriate response was to be captivated with joy and wonder.

His listeners did not say, “Yes, Rabbi, we believe You,” or “No, Rabbi, we think You are a fool.” Rather, they said, “What about the sap-suckin’ Romans?” or “When are You going to produce an apocalyptic sign?” or “Why aren’t You and Your disciples within the Jewish Law?” or Whose side do You take in the various legal controversies?”

Jesus replied that the Romans were not the issue, the Law was not the issue, and cosmic miracles were not the issue. The relentless love of God was the issue, and in the face of that revelation, the Romans and the Torah were secondary. But His audience stubbornly refused to concede that the Torah could possibly be secondary or that the Roman domination of Palestine could be marginal. The Torah and Rome - these were the relevant issues, the gut problems. “What do you have to say about them, Rabbi?”

Once again Jesus responded that He did not come to discuss the Law nor to challenge the Roman Empire. He had come to herald the Good News that the Really Real is love and to invite men and women to a joyous response to that love.

Sober, hard-headed, realistic critics simply shook their heads. “Why doesn’t He address the critical questions?”

Since the day that Jesus first appeared on the scene, we have developed vast theological systems, organized world-wide churches, filled libraries with brilliant Christological scholarship, engaged in earthshaking controversies, and embarked on crusades, reforms, and renewals. Yet there are still precious few of us with sufficient folly to make the mad exchange of everything for Christ; only a remnant with the confidence to risk everything on the gospel of grace; only a minority who stagger about with the delirious joy of the man who found the buried treasure.

It was cynicism, pessimism, and despair that shadowed the ministry of Jesus and, as the old French proverb goes, “Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” - the more things change, the more they stay the same.

At the risk of sounding like a country cracker cowboy preacher, allow me to raise some intimate, personal questions about your relationship with Jesus of Nazareth.

Do you live each day in the blessed assurance that you have been saved by the unique grace of our Lord Jesus Christ?

After falling flat you face, are you still firmly convinced that the fundamental structure of reality is not works but grace?

Are you moody and melancholy because you are still striving for the perfection that comes from your own efforts and not from faith in Jesus Christ?

Are you shocked and horrified when you fail?

Are you really aware that you don’t have to change, grow, or be good to be loved?

Are you as certain of the triumph of good over evil as the fermentation of dough by yeast?

Though on a given day you may be more depressed than anything else, is the general orientation of your life toward peace and joy?

Are you diminished by other people’s perception of you and your own definition of yourself?

Do you possess that touch of folly to transcend doubt, fear, and self-hatred and accept that you are accepted?

Do not settle for anything more than Jesus lives for!!

  Archive of past Reflections, Below  


February 15, 2016 God's Economy 
March 8, 2015 Christian Ideal 
February 1, 2015 Jesus did not come to discuss the Law nor to challenge the Roman Empire 
January 4, 2015 A Liberating Mission 
August 7, 2011 Jesus is the Lord of all Things 
July 3, 2011 Geographical Proximity 
April 3, 2011 Are the Poor with us? 
February 13, 2011 War & Peace 
January 30, 2011 To Give or to Get? 
December 12, 2010 We're all waiting for something 
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