Saturday, September 22, 2012

Great Weakness

"And they came to Capernaum. And when Jesus was in the house He asked them, "What were you discussing on the way?" But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. Jesus sat down and called the twelve. And He said to them, "If anyone would be FIRST, he must be LAST of all and servant of all." And He took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in His arms, He said to them, "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but Him who sent me." (Mark 9:33-37)

Silly disciples. If you're too ashamed to tell Jesus what you've been talking about, odds are you shouldn't be talking about it. Scripture tells us—as well as shows us—that true greatness is unrecognizable to the world. When the greatness of God came to earth in the form of a poor, infant boy, not even those closest to that greatness recognized Him for who He was. When Jesus said His greatness would be found in torture and death, no one believed Him. In fact, most of them left Him at the idea of it. It didn’t make sense. How can the greatest power in the heaven and earth be so weak as to die?

Likewise, we look around at the glimpses of heaven on earth today and don’t recognize them for what they are. The BODY & BLOOD of Jesus in plain everyday bread and wine at the Eucharist. The FORGIVENESS of SINS is given through plain everyday water and the Word of God. We are SAVED by God but remain poor, weak, sick, lonely, and sad as we ever were. We are REDEEMED but still sinful; HEALED but still sick; MADE WHOLE but still so very empty.

Greatness doesn't come from some innate quality of our own, just like salvation doesn't come from being happy and comfortable. And thank God for that because after nearly 10 years of on-and-off (mostly on) illness, there is objectively nothing great about me. And yet, some of the sickest people I've met have also been the strongest. That was the mistake the disciples made. Greatness isn't being the smartest, the best looking, the most eloquent, or the healthiest. True greatness is freely given to us by God alone, and in that greatness we are all EQUAL: from the richest king in the world to the lowliest orphan to you and me. God loves us all equally and completely.

So, which one is the greatest? Jesus is, so thank God for that and relax.

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 54:4a
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"Behold -------> 5 count inhale
God is my helper." -------> 5 count exhale

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