Dear friends, I trust that the Lord had been blessing and prospering you. The New Year brings with it promise of hope, change, freshness and risks as well. People make new resolutions, ranging from losing weight to starting a new career. The new beginnings and commitments can be either bless or condemn us this year. Competing voices and motives can propel us in all directions. But the only voice that we need to hear and heed is both soft and irresistible.
Please turn with me to John 1:43. The Lord Jesus spoke these simple words to Nathaniel, His disciple and later an Apostle. “Follow Me” sounds quite simple but comes with the gravity and weight of the Universe with them. The One who spoke those words was inviting Nathaniel into a life unknown and a new adventure. To his credit the Apostle didn’t hesitate but made an instant choice to plunge into the unknown fraught with risks, danger and uncertainty (Matthew 8:20) and no guarantee of instant success (Hebrews 11:13). How many of us would do that? Don’t we calculate, rationalize, reason and prioritize (Matthew 8:21)? No promises are made, no assurances offered, no guarantees are given by the One who calls us at the time of His calling (Matthew 16:24). It’s a high stakes gamble, but there’s something about this Man that compels us and frightens us.
There’s nothing ordinary or logical about His method of training either. In Luke 10:1-23 we see the Son of God sending 72 missionaries into various parts of Israel to evangelize and prepare the way for Him. His training methods are illogical, outrageous and outright stupid. Who would instruct one’s disciples to not take any money, clothing, food or medicine for their journey? Further, who would listen to such a raving lunatic? Yet He empowered them with Divine and supernatural power that overcame Satan and his demons (Luke 10:17-18). Was He a fake, an evil magician (Matthew 12:27) or was He the Son of God? Many of His time thought Him to be the former, a fake.
A life of following Him was hard, but fantastic. Luke 9:51 describes how Jesus set out to Jerusalem. The landscape was breathtaking and hilly (Psalm 125:2), the panorama was splendid, the journey was arduous and certain death awaited Him (Matthew 20:18). En Route they would run into trouble with and be rejected by the Samaritans (Luke 9:51-56), be welcomed as conquering warriors (Luke 19:28-44), have their feet washed by their Teacher (John 13:1-12), and watch one of their own betray their beloved Master (Matthew 26:14-27). The disciples had ample warning of what was to come, but they simply couldn’t understand until He opened their minds (Luke 24:45). Had they understood sooner, would they have followed Him? Would we?
Women adored Him (Luke 23:37, John 20:16), men hated Him (Luke 23:21), intellectuals were confounded by Him (Luke 20:20-26), powerful men courted Him (Luke 7:1-10), but the dregs of society worshipped Him as God (Luke 18:35-43, Luke 7:36-50). Who’re we in the pecking order? Are we too comfortable with ourselves to fully embrace Him and be rejected by our peers or are we willing to join the ranks of the spiritual don’t haves and be crucified with Him (Galatians 2:20)?
Endless possibilities and choices await us this New Year. A humble yet powerful, plain but charismatic man is calling us. There’s something in His voice, His gaze, that’s hypnotic. Yet, He’s simple, gentle and caring. He promises us the Universe but not before a living hell in this life. Adventure and romance are in the air, but so are sufferings. There are no guarantees, yet there’s the absolute assurance of heaven. Is the risk worth the reward? Is the pain worth the eternal pleasure? Do we have the heart and stomach for a gut wrenching adventure? I hope that we’ve all checked the right boxes saints, and buckle up! Happy New Year :).
Dear friends, I’m quite certain that all of you are sanctified, Holy Ghost baptized saints. Should there be any among you that don’t know the Lord yet, I pray that the Lord of the Universe will set you free from sin and disobedience into His glorious light and freedom. Amen.