Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Mark 1:14-15


And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:14-15 NAS

The most popular man of the day, John the Baptizer, was put into prison for the crime of not being a respecter of persons. The man whose ministry excited all of Israel, from the most common of men to the priests and those involved in the Hebrew renewal movements of the Pharisees and Sadducees, got excited about being Jewish again after some 400 years of silence from Heaven. John was put into prison for the crime of telling the sitting king of Galilee that he was not above The Torah of God. The king of Galilee and his mistress, his brothers wife, were told to repent just like everyone else in Galilee and Judah. John was no respecter of persons and for that he went to prison and was eventually executed because one woman thought she could silence her own guilty conscience by forever silencing John the Baptist.
Then the devil left Him (Y'shua-Jesus); and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.

Now when He heard that John had been taken into custody, He withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, He came and settled in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles-- The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, And to those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, Upon them a light dawned."

From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:11-17 NAS
Y'shua (Jesus) could have spent more time in the Wilderness, drawing close to God, enjoying the ministry of angels. He could have gone to Jerusalem and the throne of His father David, to build his army, oust Rome and then conquer Herod. What actually did happen is stunning. The Messiah of Israel went to despised Galilee and picked up the message of the Baptizer in the front yard of the very man who put John in prison. Courage.
Where has courage taken me lately? I love the privacy of the Wilderness. Others are drawn to the glamour of the centers of political power. Neither of these choices are evil. But at the same time, neither of them are particularly courageous (or cowardly). Living a life of faith, letting Y'shua live his life through you, laying your own life down, requires courage. To go to your neighbor with the Gospel takes courage. To speak the truth to your family and friends surly requires the grace that brings courage or more of us would do it. To be part of a grass roots movement of faith instead of just part of an ethical debate is a courageous act. It is not that faith in the public forum is wrong or even a waste of time. If that is your calling, then that is what you must do. God bless those who answer that call, people like Val Stevens of Washington State need our support and prayers. There is no other way for even a woman of faith like Senator Stevens to thrive in office except that people of faith pray for her. But I have in mind being faithful in the otherwise small things that have been placed in our lives. Our friendships, our conversations, who we are when we assume no one is looking. These are bigger issues to me then public office, mountain top experiences or living the simple life.
Where has courage taken me lately? The Kingdom is at hand.

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