Gladstone Christian Fellowship Church

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Challenges!

Posted by kelvinbueckert on April 14, 2019 at 4:45 PM

Mark 14:32-41


I have often been challenged by Jesus’ question in the garden of Gethsemane asking “Couldn’t you watch with me one hour?” Today He might ask “Couldn’t you watch with me for 5 minutes?” Perhaps this is our #1 challenge. How much time do we spend each day watching for His will to be revealed, watching for His return?

 

The Bible records how He healed lepers, restored sight, made the lame to walk, delivered those possessed by demons, pointed adulteresses to a better life-style, even making a missionary out of the Samaritan woman. Samaritans and Jews weren’t supposed to mingle, but Jesus broke that taboo as He did in so many other instances. He was not inhibited by traditions or fears about what people would think. Our second challenge must be to fight our fears in the name of Jesus!

 

He hung out with losers, prostitutes, recovered demoniacs, tax collectors. He healed Jews and Gentiles alike, even honouring the faith of the Roman Centurion by healing his servant without seeing him. What kind of people would we find it difficult to visit? An atheist? A homosexual? A person with AIDS? “Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these….” (Matthew 25:40)

 

I was in a social setting with people of the youth sub-culture, when a young man tattooed and pierced, with spiked colourful hair discovered I had been a missionary. He sat down with me, showing the keenest interest in what I had been doing. Was I surprised! Do we understand our own unsettled feelings?? Do we fear being tainted by association? Do we feel a bit hostile towards those who mark their bodies? Are we disgusted by a foreign life-style? Have we compassion on those who have made such unusual choices? Jesus could say some rather challenging things. He called the Pharisees white-washed sepulchres, a brood of vipers, blind guides, fools, hypocrites, and serpents. I wonder if He could call me any of those things for the way I judge others?


A question came up at my Bible Study recently - who was the first Gentile convert to Christianity? Was it the Syrophoenician woman? Was it the Roman Centurion? Was it the Samaritan woman? Was it the Italian Centurion Cornelius? One important thing to note is that Jesus was not a respecter of persons. He met people at their point of need. Although criticized for hob-knobbing with out-of-favour Israelites like Zacchaeus, such criticism didn’t faze our Lord when it came to associating with other nationalities, with women, with the marginalized and oppressed (1 Peter 1:21).


Was the big challenge behind Jesus’ admonishment to “watch”, to check out the depth of His disciples’ commitment? Are we tempted to think God understands if we are too rushed to pray, to daily praise Him for who He is and for all that He does? What is our commitment to our Lord Jesus today?

 

Temptations hit us at our weakest point. Satan is an expert at zeroing into the most vulnerable areas of our lives and further weakening our confidence, through failure. Jesus knew the temptations that would face His disciples in the days ahead. He wanted them to be strengthened by watching, not so much for His sake as for their own. Let His words challenge each of His disciples today. “Watch and pray!” (Matthew 26:41).


Reflection:

How often do we react out of fear for what other people will think, will say?

How often are we challenged by our own assumptions?

Are we challenged to be more like Jesus when we read about His radical approach to everyday living?

What fears are holding you back?

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