He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.
So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:15-17 (NLT)
In the Mark text of this week’s lectionary, Jesus is teaching us something using a familiar theme of seeds. He says that when seeds are scattered there is a growth that happens whether I “tend” the seeds or am just lazy and sleep. He also mentions the mustard seed, such a tiny seeds, that grows and becomes so large that others can make use of it. Mark says that Jesus explained all these parables to His disciples when they were alone.
And there is one of those principles that has no shortcut. If I want Jesus to show me and teach me, I have to take time to study and listen. The real depth of my relationship with Him is not going to happen in a ‘drive-thru’ moment on Sunday morning. I hope that we are getting great teaching there but it was Jesus’ plan that we, His disciples, would come away with Him and spend more time digging into His Word.
And what I heard today, when I was sitting and listening through these four passages was: God is doing so much in my life.
He is taking me, small and weak, and will plant me, water me with His Spirit, fertilize me with His words so that I will produce much fruit in His Kingdom (Ezekiel 17:22-24). But the point is what He is doing to put me in His fruitful garden.
He is doing great deeds and there are great blessings that will come to those of us who are in “right relationship” (righteous) with our LORD (Psalm 92). The lectionary people left out verses 5-11 but I think that is a mistake. I need to know the consequences of not choosing the LORD. I have grown in my relationship with God that I obey because I love Him but it is always a good thing to keep the negative discipline in mind!
He is with me, just as Jesus said, to the end (Matthew 28). God knows my weaknesses. He knows my fears. Most of us when we think of dying know we are going to heaven but we may have some questions, some uncertainty when we come to those moments as we leave this world behind. 2 Corinthians 5 passage tells me that I am reconciled to God. I have no ‘fine print’ in this contract. We are in a covenant together and by faith, I must walk in that assurance. And it is that walk that may persuade others that Jesus died for us all and that all have the same promise of an eternal relationship with Him.
Now I hope, I pray, that when you read these passages that some other point comes to you. Don’t be afraid to disagree with me or your pastor. My relationship with God took a GIANT leap the night that I disagreed with the evangelist, the teacher, that I had been listening to for so many weeks. I do not even remember what the passage was but while he made a great point, the passage that he quoted didn’t make that point. But that’s OK! None of us are going to hit it on the mark every time. That’s just another reason that Jesus wants to meet with me regularly. It’s an opportunity to correct and encourage.
Jesus wants to spend time with me. How important is that to me? Whatever is really important to me is what I will make time for.
The song that I bring today was not recorded as a “Christian” song but it is a love song. The singer wants us to spend time together. I believe that God loves me with that kind of passionate love. And as I listen to this song, I hear Him, lovingly, passionately asking me: Come away with me, Jody. It makes me weep to receive such love from my LORD. It makes me weep to think that I would not make time for us. Come away – Come away.
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones (2002)