REPENT! BELIEVE THE GOOD NEWS! FOLLOW ME!
The Lenten devotional I receive online from Biola is also focusing on the words of Jesus this year. (Feel free to follow it online—you can even sign up to have it sent to your email if you like: http://ccca.biola.edu/lent/2021/#day-feb-17)
The first day of the devotional focused on Mark.
I’ve always thought of Jesus commandments here as 3 different statements:
Turn from sin, contemplate our spiritual condition, acknowledge how we have sinned by commission and omission
Believe the Good News!
Listen to the gospel. And what IS the gospel? That God loves us and has come to live with us. (I’m not one to think that the gospel is confined to the death and resurrection because Jesus called us to listen to it before all of that happened. We are simply to follow Him. True, it will eventually lead to Golgotha and the empty tomb, but if we’re not following Him, how will we ever get there?)
Come, follow me!
Become a disciple. Make disciples. Be obedient to the Spirit. Make following Jesus first in your life.
However, as I read this scripture today, it’s dawning on me that Jesus is calling us to a much bigger, more all-encompassing way of life, just as He announced it to the people He met in that time. Time is inclusive in the Kingdom of God, not exclusive. God already sees what we have yet to discover. Christ died for us before the beginning of Time. He’s trying to tell us how it all ends up.
What does Jesus mean by “Repent”?
What if Jesus called us to Repent, not just of our obvious sin, but of our old, worn out way of thinking?
That generation had grown up under the Law. They had a depressed, slave mentality from generations of being slaves in Egypt, and now they lived under the Romans who oppressed them mightily. He called everyone, but especially the poor who were starving for relief. Living in that frame of mind makes people slaves to their limitations. They had had 400 years of silence from God. “He must not care about us. Messiah will never come.”
Jesus wanted them to stop thinking that way and listen to a new and living Way.
What IS the Good News?
The Good News was good because it came from God who had come to be with them— Emmanuel! To believe the Good News was to lift their vision from the ground to the place where God meets Mankind- in the Spirit, in Grace, no longer just in the sweat of their brow. God was now among them! The Kingdom of God was at hand! The Bridegroom had arrived! Who has time for grumbling about old stuff?
What does Jesus mean by “Follow me!”
Give up your life of slavery to man and earth, and come with me into the Kingdom of Light. I am the Light of the World. Take advantage of your new vision and stop living in a hopeless mindset. I have more for you than that. Bread. Love. The bounty of our Father who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. Give up your old view of yourself and learn to see yourself and others through My eyes—the eyes of Light and Love. Be like Me—I live in the Kingdom of Love and Light— I AM the Kingdom of Love and Light. Be free from the Bondage of the Old and walk into the Freedom of the New. Reach out to me— the Kingdom is now!
So, just for today, I want to ruminate on what it means to Repent of my way of thinking, of being stuck in a rut that may be discouraging, self-serving, and ugly. Instead I want to open to the Holy Spirit who has really good news— I am free, not in bondage; I am loved; there is plenty of Light for my path; I can pass those words along to others.
I want to follow Jesus with no agenda of my own, no place to lay my head except next to His, no words to speak except what I hear Him speaking, no deeds to do except what I see Him doing.
What does that look like? What does it feel like? What do you hear?
Lord Jesus, minister Love, Light, and Peace to our hearts that we might see and hear and do what You have for us. Help us to spend time with You today.