Chosen

crowd

There’s nothing like being in a crowd of people to make me feel small and insignificant. As an introvert, noise, smells, and sights overload my senses until a feeling of loneliness wraps around me. The world is a large place, thick with conflict and wrought with needs. How do I fit into that? When I read Christianity Today’s article on 33 people under 33 who are making a difference–well, I feel small then, too.

And then I read Psalm 135:4.

Psalm 135, 4

Chosen. The words is full of intentionality. God doesn’t play spin the globe and point his finger. When he invites you into his kingdom, he wants you for his own. A treasured possession, not a forgotten, stuffed in the attic, piece of junk. You have his image stamped upon you. And when you invite Jesus into your heart, you have his Spirit within you–a deposit guaranteeing what is to come. How much more treasured can you be?

So next time the crowd presses in around you and you feel lost in the shuffle, remember the Chooser sees you. He treasures you. You are his.

 

Questioning through Mark: 1:35-38

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else– to the nearby villages– so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”

 

1. Do you feel the intimacy of verse 35? Early, dark, and solitary . . . Jesus intentionally seeks out connection with his Father. How’s your intentionality with the Father?

2. How are we responding to Jesus’s actions? The disciples came with an agenda: that Jesus should be doing active ministry. What are we expecting from Jesus and is it Biblical? What do we expect from ourselves: constant service? Or are we entering the quiet intimacy that breathes life?

3. Is the proclamation of the Gospel high on our agendas? It was the purpose for Jesus’s coming–to preach the Good News and to be the Good (sacrificial) News.

Questioning Through Mark: 1:21-34

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law.
Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are– the Holy One of God!”
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!”
The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching– and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him.”
News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
  1. Are we surprised at what Jesus does in our lives or are we expecting? Today, we have the testament of scripture and the Holy Spirit to teach us. The people who first saw Jesus heal were not expecting a teacher to do miracles like this. Thus they were amazed, or we can translate, “surprised.” May we expect the power of Jesus to be at work in our lives and not be caught off guard by it.
  2. To whom are you bringing your sick and demon-possessed? Come to Jesus first, not the self-help books.
  3. How do we see the kingdom of God at work in this passage? Jesus advances the kingdom through the power of his teaching and healing, not by loud proclamation that He is the Son of God. The testimony of the demons, though true, was out of place and the wrong timing.

Questioning Through Mark: 1:14-20

Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where he preached God’s Good News.  “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”
One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” And they left their nets at once and followed him. A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets. He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.
  1. Is your repentance tied to belief? Jesus instructed people to repent and believe. Repentance is a letting go of sin and turning from sin. Belief in the Good News is what fills the hole when we turn from sin.
  1. How is your response time to Jesus? Is it “at once?” Or is it, “Let me consider?”
  1. How has God used your past and your gifts for his kingdom? Jesus made a great play on words when he told fishermen that he would show them how to fish for men. We all have a past filled with good and bad things. When we come to Jesus, none of that is wasted. He uses who we were in a new and redeemed way.