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Jesus’ Choice

31 May
from Google Images

from Google Images

One of the most surprising things I’ve come to understand in my Bible studies is that I have not chosen Jesus, but he has chosen me (John 15:16).[1] This, of course, is contrary to what I’ve been taught, but nevertheless the word of God claims that Jesus has done the choosing. It puts a different perspective upon my discipleship and what I believe my part in that is. In other words, it removes the reins of my life from my hands and puts them squarely in Jesus’ hands, and to be honest, even my power to respond to his call has come from him (Ephesians 2:8 and Philippians 2:13). This, of course, is getting into theology, and I don’t wish to get too involved there, but what might that look like in flesh and blood?

Consider John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. God chose him and sent him to prepare people for the arrival of God’s Son. It might be said of John that he was a get-back-to-the-fundamentals type of preacher. He made the way back to God clear and uniform for all people. In other words, there were no favorites; all were treated the same (Matthew 3:3; Luke 3:4-5). The problem is John was given a simple message to deliver, but he wasn’t privy to a lot of detail. He couldn’t even tell who the Messiah was without a sign from above (cp. John 1:29-34). It was a little like the blind leading the blind, but God worked it out by giving John a sign. John thought he could simply step down from his ministry and give Jesus the reins to it (Matthew 3:14), but Jesus told him it was necessary that they remain apart (Matthew 3:15; cp. John 3:25-30).

John’s ministry served Jesus’ ministry, but John’s was different in that his was of the Law, while that of Jesus concerned the Kingdom of God (cp. Luke 16:16). In fact, Jesus clearly said that John wasn’t in the Kingdom of God. Yet, Jesus made no apologies for John’s ministry. Rather, he praised him, saying that no prophet born of women had a greater ministry than that of John the Baptist. Nevertheless, he who was least in God’s Kingdom was greater than John (and that would include any other prophet born of women – Luke 7:24-28); and Jesus said this of John just after John doubted whether Jesus was indeed the Messiah (Luke 7:18-19). Jesus understands our doubts and the tension between our ways and his. Yet, Jesus made his choice and will not change his mind, just because we have a little trouble understanding.

One only needs to consider Jesus’ choice in the Twelve to realize God looks at us differently than we look at ourselves or at one another. When they submitted to Jesus’ call they took with them a lot of theological baggage. For one thing, they were impressed with the teachings of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 17:10) and didn’t think it wise to offend them in what was preached (cp. Matthew 15:12). Moreover, they believed they understood what the Messiah must do when he came on the scene (Matthew 16:21-22), and constantly vied for position in what they assumed would be the revitalization of the Kingdom of Israel (Mark 10:35-37). They argued constantly among themselves over who was the greatest (Mark 9:33-34; Luke 22:24). Yet, throughout it all Jesus never once threatened any of them with ostracism, if they didn’t do better. Rather he patiently taught them and encouraged them in the way they should go. He was certain of his choice and never once gave the impression he regretted choosing any one of them. He was confident that they would bear fruit, once the Spirit of God came upon them (John 15:4, 8, 16).

I am retired and praise God for being so. Once, when I was learning my job, one of my workmates asked me: if I owned the company for which I worked, would I hire me? He knew I confessed I was Christian and expected me to tell the truth. I confess that learning my job was very difficult for me, because I was out of my comfort zone. I put in for a promotion, because I knew the job paid more than I was getting, and where I was at the time was a dead end. I was afraid it would be difficult and I wasn’t disappointed, but in the end I learned my job well enough to teach others how to do it. Nevertheless, I never felt less confident or more hopeless than when my workmate asked me that question. I thank God that his ways are better than man’s ways, and his choice in calling me is sure, even when I don’t feel like I’m doing well. It is encouraging to see the flesh and blood choices Jesus made during his ministry, knowing I’m not very unlike them.

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Jesus

 

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