“Dear God, we thank You for the inspiration of Jesus. Grant that we will love You with all our hearts, souls and minds” (M. L. King Jr.). RUN UP
Read Mark 3:7-19
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“In love’s service, only the wounded can serve” (Brennan Manning, 1934–2013).
Jesus is the archetypal Kingdom Worker: filled with the Spirit, compassionate, self-denying, often uncomfortable and desperately needed. Can you imagine the manic rush of desperate souls Mark describes? Jesus cannot keep the crowds at bay. Picture the incessant and frantic pushing and shoving, people falling over and a cacophony of demons shrieking. What frightful confusion! People were desperate for Jesus; nothing put them off getting to him. Jesus did not despise their need and he certainly was not squeamish; instead, he had compassion, beautiful self-denial and the power to help them.
Jesus chose the apostles so that “they might be with him” (14)—to learn and be shaped by his example and to share with him in the mess and dirty work of the kingdom. Jesus is looking to the future of his kingdom and preparing for it. He is preparing the apostles so “that he might send them out” (14)—to do the work of the kingdom with power and authority, not only when he is on earth but also after his death and resurrection.
How do your expectations of following Jesus compare with this messy, crowded, uncomfortable, intense ministry that Jesus practiced and for which he prepared his disciples? Sadly, we can become squeamish, apathetic, timid or stubborn disciples. Look out into our world and our immediate neighborhoods. The need hasn’t changed at all! Nor has Christ’s purpose for his disciples. Anyone desiring to be Jesus’ disciple and to learn from him needs to work with him in the mess and be prepared to be sent into it. By our word and action, in the power of the Spirit, desperate people will become aware of their desperate need of deliverance through Christ.
Pray for the heart, will and boldness to join the messiness of kingdom work. He chooses us to bear fruit that will last (John 15:16); this is our purpose and privilege.
Sometimes my eyes are closed, Lord, to the desperate mess that You see in the world. Sometimes kingdom work is not to my taste. Forgive me. Teach me, compassionate Savior.