Monday, October 20, 2014

More Than Many Sparrows...

"Do not fear, therefore -
You are worth more than many sparrows..."
Matthew 10:31

Who is this Jesus that I love?

The Jesus I love doesn't have long flowing girlish hair and a halo shining over His head.  He doesn't tell me to just sit back and put my feet up, because I "deserve a break today."  He doesn't cover my eyes so that I won't see the nasty things that are going on in the world today.  He doesn't promise me that I will never be hurt by any of these things because I belong to Him.  He doesn't follow the script written for Him by false teachers of a phoney gospel.  No. The Jesus I love has a radical agenda.

The Jesus I hear speaking in my ear is on fire.  He is deadly serious.  He's speaking about life and death.  He isn't "playing at religion."  He demands that we take Him seriously or not at all.  If we want an easy chair to soften our ride into heaven, sipping a Margarita while we have a mani/pedi, we're going to have to find another Jesus.  I can't squeeze the Jesus of the Gospel into the round peg so many churches have pounded out for Him.  I don't know what God they're serving, but, it isn't the One who suffered and died for me.

"Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing,
but inwardly, they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit."
Matthew 7:15

This is the Jesus that captivates me -

"These twelve Jesus sent out saying: ... As you go, preach saying 'The kingdom of God is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons...  Whoever will not receive you, nor hear your words... I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!"  Matthew: 10: 8, 14,15 What?  Really?  My that sounds awfully harsh, doesn't it? Where is the "nice" Jesus, we've all grown to love?  The one who accepts everyone and everything and never calls a sin a sin, let alone, even thinks of sending anyone to hell, if there really is such a place! This can't be the same guy! That's right.  It isn't.  This is the real Jesus, calling us to wake up, pay attention, come out of our fairy tale and preach the real Gospel. The one that He died for, and, for many of His followers, the one they will die for also.

Here's another golden nugget from the lips of Jesus as He sent His disciples out.

"Behold I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.  Therefore, be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and beat you in the synagogues. You will be brought before kings and governors for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles..." Matt. 10:16-18

"But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak.  For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak, for it is not you who speak, but, the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you." Matt. 10: 19-20

"You will be hated by all for My name's sake, But he who endures to the end will be saved...If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of His household. Therefore, do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed and hidden that will not be known.  Matt. 10:22

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.  But, rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell..."  Matt. 10:29

I am captivated by the Jesus who calls us with fire and passion to follow Him, to sell out to Him, to fear nothing man can do to us in this life, but to shout from the rooftops what he tells us "in the dark." I don't want to be bothered with cheap imitations of this Jesus, who is worth everything I have to follow Him.  

Believe me, I am not, by nature, a courageous person.  I run and hide when I see a spider.  Put a mouse in the room and I may die of a heart attack!  I know I am not given to this kind of courage on my own.  But, I am in love with this God who promises to be with me, to give me the words to speak, even when I am trembling for fear of my life.  

Terrorists are rampant, kings and dictators torture and kill.  Help me to remember, Lord, God, that You have called us to this glorious Gospel, for Your name's sake, "as a testimony to them..." Matt. 10:18

I don't want to chase after the wind, following a fraud of the gospel.  Give me the real Gospel.  Let me live and die on that Gospel and nothing less.