May 10, 2017


Acts 12:24-13:5a


But the word of God continued to advance and gain adherents. Then after completing their mission Barnabas and Saul returned to Jerusalem and brought with them John, whose other name was Mark.


Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.


So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia; and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.


Psalm 67


May God be gracious to us and bless us

    and make his face to shine upon us,

that your way may be known upon earth,

    your saving power among all nations.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

    let all the peoples praise you.

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

    for you judge the peoples with equity

    and guide the nations upon earth.

Let the peoples praise you, O God;

    let all the peoples praise you.

The earth has yielded its increase;

    God, our God, has blessed us.

May God continue to bless us;

    let all the ends of the earth revere him.


John 12: 44-50


Then Jesus cried aloud: “Whoever believes in me believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in the darkness. I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge, for I have not spoken on my own, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment about what to say and what to speak. And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I speak, therefore, I speak just as the Father has told me.”





It’s mind boggling to think of anyone refusing or rejecting Jesus. Everywhere He goes He heals people, casts of demons, raises people from the dead, and preaches with authority and clarity. He was prophesied for generations and the circumstances of His birth and the characteristics He portrayed lined up with what was foretold. We read in the psalm that what was anticipated was a God who would be gracious - or forgiving- and bring blessing - or health and healing - not just to one people, but to the whole world. Did not Jesus’s time on earth fulfill this expectation?


Unfortunately, Jesus's ways, preaching, and ultimate death and resurrection were not, in fact, what was expected of the Messiah. The people wanted a king to rise up and change their political climate- something many can relate to today- but their vision of liberation was incredibly short sighted in comparison to what God had planned. Yes, the Lord wanted to change their current circumstances, but our Lord devised a plan for long-term systemic change through offering eternal life through the gift of Himself. Because by embracing truth through Him and bringing all people together under His eternal kingship, humanity had the opportunity to once again live in holy community. But many have, and still do, reject Jesus because He fails to uphold the short-term, possibly self-centered, image of a pressing goal or need.


The truth is that Jesus coming into the world as the light gives each human being the opportunity to change. This change in our hearts is what breaks forth into shaping the world around us as we choose to live for Him and bring others to Him. But the change that Jesus requires of us can be painful. He asks us to die to our short-sighted visions and embrace His eternal one. But when our short-sighted vision is all we have, it can be hard to let go. We reject Jesus out of fear of what will happen when we let go of our safety nets, false selves, and sinful crutches and let Him be our strength. It can be scary to let go of what we think we need. But the only thing scarier than trusting God is not trusting God. Jesus tells us that He does not condemn us, but that the words spoken by Him will. Therefore we condemn ourselves when we choose to not listen to the Lord. 


Today consider what ways you may be rejecting Jesus. There may be little things like broken expectations that you need to process with God. Maybe there’s a particular sin that lies hidden but is not yet eradicated from your life that you need freedom from. Maybe you have created a false-self to mask your insecurities and Jesus is inviting you to be who He made you to be. Whatever the circumstance, Jesus desires to be gracious and bless us.


Prayer: Dear Lord, please reveal to me the ways in which I have rejected you. Lord I know that your ways are more complicated than mine and I don’t always understand what you are doing. Help me to be humble enough to listen to you and be led by you into understanding. I believe in your goodness and call upon your grace to guide me into holy repentance, and your blessing to fill me and unite me to you. In Jesus name, Amen. 


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