I wrote last week that I thought I had come to the end of the season of testing. But, like a bad case of hemorrhoids, I've had an unexpected flare up.
All of this has driven me back to a passage I preached on last Sunday at my church, Mark 6, the feeding of the 5,000. I summarized the story itself like this:
Jesus leads his disciples into a place they would not have chosen themselvesAnd as I continued to think and pray on the passage, I came to a place of seeing the gospel in all of this. Jesus is not asking us to do what he has not already done.
He rejects their perfectly reasonable plan to deal with the situation
He instead gives them a command that they cannot possibly fulfill
In order that they might have to rely on him and give him all their resources
So that they might taste and see that He is super-abundantly generous and good.
Do you think Jesus might be doing the same thing in your life?
A couple of years after this event, Jesus will be led by the Father to Jerusalem. He will spend the night wrestling in a garden with his Father's impossible command. In the end, he will offer up to his Father all his resources.
And in the Father's hands, this one man's body is taken, multiplied, and blesses the entire cosmos: "Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the [whole! entire! for all time!] world!"
So Jesus offers himself and through him all peoples are blessed. But Jesus is not a victim of his Father's plan. Three days later, he is raised from the dead and exalted above every other name for all eternity. In the mystery of time and space and God who is over time, somehow an event within time changes the very identity of the Son.
So that at the end of all things, at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord.
So Jesus is called to sacrifice. He obeys his Father. The many are blessed. And Jesus is not forgotten, steamrolled, or a victim of his Father's plan. He is taken care of.
So it is with us, my friends. Jesus, our great Older Brother has gone ahead of us and shown us that our Father and His Father is trustworthy and good not just to the people out there but to us if we will trust him. We can trust him with all our days, all our times, all our concerns, all our fears, all our desires, all our needs, all our passions.
Jesus has gone ahead and shown us that this bridge can carry all our weight. We can cross over. We can give up to the Father all of ourselves because he has already been proven to be faithful and true in our Older Brother, Jesus, who has gone ahead of us. He entrusted his Father with everything and he has been exalted as a result. And so shall we be if we follow in his steps.
All testing is about trust and belief. Who or what will I lean into for life? Jesus has shown us the way. The invitation is to follow him--even and especially when it costs us everything.