God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
Delving Into The Word: An E-Note From Pastor Asher
12 July 2012Posted by on
Mark 1: 14-15 (NIV 2010)
Jesus Announces the Good News
“14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15”’The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’”
Sometimes I wonder what was it like to know Jesus? What was it like to hear Jesus preach and teach? What did he preach about? What did his voice sound like? What were his facial expressions? How did he move? How did he raise and lower intonations of his voice during preaching?
When we think of Jesus teaching and preaching around Galilee, Judea, and Samaria we may think that his emphasis was on slavery, women’s rights, war on poverty, and resistance to oppression. Reading the Bible, I do not think that Jesus directly addressed these issues. Jesus did not attack the Roman empire nor promote any of the social justice issues; eventually Jesus’ teachings inspired his disciples and followers to work towards reform in all these areas. Instead, Jesus called his disciples and followers to pay their share of taxes, to help the Roman soldiers to carry their packs, to care for the hungry, the sick and the naked, and to turn the other cheek. Jesus’ primary opponents were the religious leaders whom he criticized for their legalism and hypocrisy. Jesus always invited people to love God and their neighbors.
Having said that, I cannot find anywhere in the Bible that Jesus taught about taking him into our hearts and making him our personal Lord and Savior. Such abstract ideas are hinted at throughout the Gospels and Early Christian Writings, but it was not the essence of his teaching and preaching. The focus of Jesus’ ministry was on calling people to recognize their proclivity to turn away from God, to repent, and to submit to the reign of God. Jesus’ ministry was about what the reign of God means to ordinary peoples’ lives as these lives are being lived.
Jesus compared our relationship with him to that of a vine and its branches; when we are connected to Jesus many things are possible. The thrust of Jesus’ teaching is concentrated on how to live our lives in this world rather than emphasizing the rewards we will receive in the next. It is tempting to think that Jesus died so that we could go to heaven instead of hell. I think that Jesus came, lived and died so that God could live, not only in heaven, but also in us.
Questions to ponder:
If Jesus were to walk into Christ United Methodist Church in July 2012, would he be pleased with the way we live out the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives?
If Jesus were to wander around Chestertown, MD where do you think he would stop to teach and to preach telling stories of prodigal children and their loving father who longs for them to come home?
How does our community work towards making the Kingdom of Heaven a reality?
Be Blessed! When we are with God all things are possible!