Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Come and follow Me

They were amazed at His way of teaching, for He taught with the ring of authority—quite unlike the scribes. Mark 1:22

In just this little section of Mark, the word “immediately” appears nine times.

 And really the whole point of this bit is what is this good news sound like and look like. We know from Luke more about what Jesus said: He began by saying to them, Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled. The Kingdom is now. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, and to set the oppressed free.

 There is nothing the same old, same old about it. The good news, gospel of grace, the Kingdom of God has arrived, and we must change our hearts and minds.  

There is an article being passed around facebook about how what the American church is doing is bringing up a new generation of pagans. Do you teach your kids “be good because the Bible tells you to” or do you teach your kids that they will never be good without Christ’s offer of grace? There is a huge difference. One leads to moralism; the other leads to brokenness. One leads to self-righteousness; the other leads to a life that realizes that Christ is everything and that nothing else matters.

We’re drinking a cocktail that’s a mix of the Protestant work ethic, the American dream, and the gospel. And we’ve intertwined them so completely that we can’t tell them apart anymore. Sort of what the scribes were teaching. But Jesus came to announce a new way of thinking.

Weston did a little word study on the blessing, Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

This verse comes like the most beautiful, soothing, lovely comfort. Grace and peace to you. Wow. Grace has two parts, both work together to encourage and comfort. 

The first part of grace is the forgiveness. Grace is this cleansing word, like a hot spring. Sink down into grace, for your burdens are heavy and you are dirty and tired. Grace is so warm and good, just melt there in it and be renewed.

The second part of grace is identity. Grace is God loves me. God loves me because I am His son, made by Him, in His image. This is agape love. Strong's Concordance describes it as "the active love of God for his Son and his people."

The active love. That permeates everything that I think. And do. And say.  This is who I am.  The Kingdom of God has arrived.

Immediately coming up out of the water. ..Immediately the Spirit impelled Him… Immediately they left their nets… Immediately He called them…Immediately He began to teach… Immediately the news about Him spread… Immediately they came into the house…Immediately they spoke to Jesus about herImmediately he was cleansed.

And nothing else matters.