Then Jesus brought his followers together with whoever was around that day and said: â€œIf anyone likes being with me and is liking what I say each one must decide that ‘self’ is not as important. You must take up whatever ‘cross’ I give you and do what I do. If you decide that what you want and focus on getting ‘stuff’ in this world is the more important, then you will lose your real life. But if you follow my example and do what you have been given gifts to do in order to spread the Good News in your lost, dying world, you will have eternal life. What good will it do you to store up ‘stuff’ in this world if you give away with both hands who you are and the good that you can do? What can you get that is worth everything you are?! If you are embarrassed to say that you follow Me and you believe in Me and who I Am in front of this wicked, love-’em-and-leave-’em, get-what-you-can world, then I will be totally embarrassed of you and tell you that â€œI don’t know you!â€ when you are standing in front of Me on Judgment Day â€“ when you see the real Father and all that glory!â€
Jesus then also said, â€œI am being straight with you when I tell you that there are some here right now that are going to see the real Mighty One before they die.â€ Mark 8:34-9:1 (my paraphrase and emphasis)
My pastor preached on this passage yesterday. It was not a ‘Twinkie’ message. I could say it was a ‘brussels sprout’ message but strangely, I like those! I told my husband it was like cauliflower with cheese on it. I love cheese and would eat almost anything if enough cheese covered it but in the case of cauliflower…I might have to pick at it for awhile. That is how I left worship yesterday â€“ picking around at the message I heard. It wasn’t easy for me to digest. This is the paraphrase of the passage that reflects where my musings are going.
I so wish that Jesus would somehow and somewhere tell me that I can ‘get some stuff’ including the big home and the successful high powered job, and show up one hour per week and tell Him thanks â€“ and it would be OK with Him! The so-called ‘prosperity gospel’ isn’t the one I hear Jesus telling. Jesus in His life here on earth was not prosperous in that way. He had one outfit, no horse, and ate bread, fish, and wine. Jesus wants me to understand, through His life, what real success is all about. He shows me what real treasures are. Remember â€œOne Solitary Lifeâ€? Jesus, fully man, and yes, fully God, shows me what one obedient life will do. Me, fully human, obedient to my Lord, living my life as He did, can make a ripple that flows on through eternity to the glory of God.
Now that last sentence in which Jesus says that we can actually see the Lord before we die â€“ that is one of those statements that has reams of controversy written about it! At the least, we can say that John certainly saw before he died. We read it in Revelation. But Peter and Paul and James also saw God. They saw Him work. They had visions. They had inspiration that they recognized could not come from their own feeble minds. They did miracles that could not have come from their feeble limbs or their own weak spirits. God did not create them; He did not create ME to prosper or receive pats on the back. He created me to be His hands and feet and walk and work among His children yet again. That is the beautiful, extraordinary reality in which I live. Hallelujah!