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Faith is uncomfortable, and is almost always associated with the impossible. It’s this unorthodox dance between God and human beings where God speaks surreal things and then we respond with obedience to produce supernatural or highly improbable results.
As we celebrate this Advent Season, reminded again of Jesus’ coming into the world, I want to reflect on the distinctive vision and driving force behind God’s incarnation in Jesus Christ. What was the mindset that Jesus brought to his work in the world? And, what might that say to us about our work as leaders?
Psalm 52 begins with criticism of a “mighty hero,” whom the heading of the Psalm identifies as “Doeg the Edomite” (see 1 Sam. 21-22). This warrior uses his tongue to boast of his crimes and to lie in order to destroy others. But, in time, God will “uproot” him from the land of the living.
In contrast to this uprooted tree, the psalmist is “like an olive tree, flourishing in the house of God” (52:8).
Three weeks ago, we encountered Jesus’s call to servanthood. As you may remember, in Mark 9 the disciples were arguing about which one of them was the greatest. In response, Jesus said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all” (9:35). In chapter 10, the disciples are once again seeking their own exaltation and Jesus is once again emphasizing the call to servanthood.
We live in a curious tension when it comes to the Lord. On the one hand, we rightly bow before him, offering ourselves in humble worship. On the other hand, we experience friendship with God that invites us to be completely honest with him.
In Mark 10:25, Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. This distressed his disciples, who wondered who could be saved. When Jesus said that everything is possible with God, Peter wanted to make sure his place in the kingdom was secure. So he said, “We have left everything to follow you!” (10:28). Peter was probably hoping for a word of reassurance, something like, “Don’t worry, Peter, you’re in. You’ve earned your spot by your sacrifice.” But what he heard from Jesus must have been both comforting and perplexing.
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21 Mark 10:17-27 is one of those passages in the Gospels that makes most of us terribly uncomfortable. Like […]
In yesterday’s devotion I suggested that in our world of instant-gratification, we need a season like Advent to teach us how to wait. Advent is a season of longing for a Savior to touch our lives and heal our hurting world. Today, on this first Sunday of Advent, the prophet speaks of a longing for change — the desire for God to shape our lives amidst a world that often seems like it’s out to crush and derail us from following the One who came in the flesh to show us the way home.
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