The Cost

Read This Week: Luke 9

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” He said to another man, “Follow me.” Still, another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:57-62 NIV

The cost of following Jesus has both a universal and individual demand. There is a cost that applies to everyone that includes living according to the Bible, turning from the things in the past that are counter to truth, stopping destructive behavioral patterns, and giving up everything that stands in the way of serving Christ. But everyone who crosses the line of faith is an individual and faces distinct challenges within the common framework of being a Christian in this day and age. The cost or sacrifice of following Jesus has to be weighed by each person who desires to do life with God.

Luke 9 shows us a few different types of people that struggled with various things when confronted with the prospect of following Jesus. The first cost the Lord lays down is the denial of self and taking up our cross and following Him. Here and in other parts of the gospels, this is too much a cost for some. Some people are too comfortable, set in their ways, and desirous of control over their lives to be on mission with and follow God. 

A second example of the cost is when other things in our lives are more important than the call of Christ. Jesus personally calls a man to follow Him in verses 59-60, but the man was worried about his father’s funeral. The Lord was not suggesting that this man not care about or honor his Dad but instead wanted to measure the love he had for God compared to anyone else. Unfortunately, the man was more concerned with the issues and affairs of his life to go and proclaim the kingdom of God. His love for others superseded his love for Jesus. The cost was too high.

The last example of failing to count the cost comes in verse 61. This man volunteered to follow Christ but was too busy looking in the past instead of the future. His heart was not wholly on obedience in following the Lord’s will, and Jesus knew he would constantly look back. The man did not have a focus on God, nor did he have a vision of what it would cost him to obey moving forward. Jesus said someone like this is akin to one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back and is not fit for service in the kingdom of God.

Outside of the baseline costs of being a Christian, all of our lives are different, and that variance may constitute disparate costs for practically following Jesus. What may be too challenging for one person may be a mere afterthought to another. What may be a stumbling block for some may not even be a consideration for others. Each of us must count the overall and individual cost of following Christ, and when we do, we must never look back. Walking with Jesus for a lifetime is worth it no matter what.

Heart Condition

Read This Week: Luke 8

The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. – Luke 8:11-15 NIV

So much of who we are and what takes place in our lives comes as a result of the condition of our hearts. Our heart is vital to the content of our journeys, families, relationships, and even our work. Solomon summed up the importance of the heart in the book of Proverbs chapter 4 verse 23: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. It would be difficult to find a more profound explanation on this subject.

In Luke 8, Jesus points out through a parable that the heart is also the place that is central to salvation and receiving the word that God wants to impart to people. The Lord communicates this by identifying four different conditions of the heart through the imagery of four different types of soil where seed can fall and potentially grow. Jesus is explicit that seed is the word of God and the soil is the hearts of men and women. It begs the question of us: what is the condition of our heart?

The hard heart is first and belongs to the person who hears the word but allows the enemy to immediately take it away. Like soil that is constantly stepped and trampled on making it firm and hard, this type of heart is hardened by life and trauma, perhaps even spiritual hurt. Hard soil gives a seed no chance to sink in and grow, just as a hard heart does not give the word of God a chance to change them.

The shallow heart is one swayed and led by emotional swings and feelings. It does not give things enough time to settle and saturate so it can become what it needs to be. Like the rocky soil that appears like a place for seed to grow, it will not allow it to take definitive root. A shallow heart can be deceptive both to the individual and to others. It is as unpredictable as the emotions and whims it experiences.

The distracted heart can’t focus on what matters. It is too preoccupied and busy with everything that comes its way to hone in on the word of God or other life changing principles that will regenerate or develop it. Jesus said this type of heart and soil allows the seed of God’s word to be choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature.

The good heart is one that hears the word, retains it, and by persevering, produces a crop. This is a heart that is receptive. It is not perfect or exceptional in its anatomy or make-up. What makes the good heart different is that it is open, willing, and pliable. It has the receptivity to accept the word, the teachability to retain the truth, and the humility to stick with it no matter what. Like good soil, it embraces the seed, allows it to sink in over time, and produce the fruit that it is supposed to. May God empower us to have a good heart condition.

Look No Further

Read This Week: Luke 7

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’” – Luke 7:20 NIV

There is an old teaching that pain and uncertainty cannot be allowed to change our theology. Our various circumstances, no matter how difficult or arduous, do not have the power to negate the foundational truths about God and His purposes in the world. Yet, personal heartache, tragedy, and a drastic change in our lives can alter our perspectives even on things we had previously been certain of and believed for so long. This shift is called a moment of doubt.

One of the greatest examples of wrestling with doubt and fighting to maintain a grip on truth is in Luke 7. John the Baptist had been the forerunner of Jesus. He baptized him, preached His imminence, and called people to repent and come into the kingdom of God. He had seen the Messiah and watched as the heavens opened and God audibly pronounced His pleasure for His Son. The Bible even tells us that John leapt in the womb as an unborn child when he sensed the presence of Jesus. He believed and knew Christ was the One.

But now, John was in prison, and his situation had changed. He had been locked in a jail cell for months; the Jewish leaders were not helping him, his followers were not helping him, and it appeared Jesus was not helping him either. Anyone in his position would begin to question and even allow doubt to creep in.

The physical and emotional strain on John was intense, and when that happens, the spiritual perspective is impacted. That is why we see him struggling with his faith despite what he knows to be right about Jesus in verse 18 when he sends his disciples to ask the Lord a question: “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Some translations say: shall we look for another?

This wrestling with doubt is common among the greatest of spiritual leaders, and it absolutely can be for us. When things get difficult it can open holes in our heart and mind that are susceptible to being filled with hesitation regarding the things we know to be true.

But doubt is not the same as unbelief. Doubt is more of an issue of the mind and asking why? Unbelief is of the will and refuses to believe God’s word and follow it. In this passage, John’s question of Jesus is not willful unbelief but was simply a moment of doubt brought on by suffering and trial, not unlike what we experience today. It was the temptation to look for another when the only one we need is right in front of us.

Jesus answers the disciples of John the way He answers us when we question. He pointed them and us toward the evidence of His power, goodness, love, and grace. He says in verse 22:

Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

Essentially, Jesus takes John back to the foundations of his faith. He reminded the Baptist of who He was. He affirmed that the principles of truth and the evidence of His glory were real and trustworthy. Jesus wanted John to know that His will, character, and purposes are eternal and true even when bad things happen. The Lord communicated that doubt doesn’t equal no faith, and it certainly doesn’t change one thing about God.

When Jesus said to John’s disciples, “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me,” He was saying, look no further. He was saying I am the One; you can trust me. He is saying to them and us, I am who you are searching for. Hold on and look no further than Me in the midst of your doubts. I will get you through.

Love Your Enemies

Read This Week: Luke 6

But to you who are listening, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them on the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.
– Luke 6:27-31 NIV

One of the most difficult things to do in life is express love or care to someone who treats us poorly. It is equally challenging and improbable to love someone we consider an enemy. To deem another person an enemy is a serious thing unto itself. An enemy is antagonistic to another or a hostile, harmful adversary or force. A person who fits that bill would probably not be at the top of the list of people we actively love.

But in Luke 6, Jesus teaches in a way that assumes that anyone who lives for God and proclaims the gospel will have people who do not like them, hate them and are antagonistic toward them. Therefore, the Lord is careful to teach us what we are to do regarding those people in our lives. He says in verses 27-28: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

Jesus’ words imply that not only should a Christian love someone who is antagonistic, hateful, or spiteful toward them, but they should do so actively and expressively with emotions and actions indicative of a Christ-follower. He said in verse 29:

If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.

This turning of the other cheek and giving to someone who steals from us is a difficult principle to absorb and one that seems impossible to do in real-life scenarios. And it is in our strength and volition, but it is not impossible through the power of the Holy Spirit. God can accomplish these miraculous relational tenets in our lives when we are doing life with and close to Him. We can have a heart attitude that responds with positivity when others are negative, generously when others are selfish, and love when others are cruel and unkind.

Jesus said, Do to others as you would have them do to you. This encouragement from the word assumes the best of us spiritually and suggests that we imitate the example of Jesus himself when it comes to His enemies, antagonists, and those who seek to destroy His name. We can do this as well. Vindication and retribution in front of our enemies is not the goal of God’s children. It is the consistent displaying of His character and glory in our daily lives, especially in situations that are beyond us in our strength.

Our current world could use the example of more people who turn the other cheek to aggression, violence, slander, and cruelty and respond to it with humility, grace, kindness, service, and love. This behavior is what the Lord Jesus wants for us always.

Deep Water

Read This Week: Luke 5

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him. – Luke 5:1-11 NIV

A strange and seemingly debilitating contradiction exists within our hearts. We long to be and feel alive and want adventure. We want the release of endorphin and adrenaline and the desire to tempt fate. We want to be purposeful and leave a legacy. But, we can often lack faith and courage and are so averse to the risk that will ultimately allow us to experience it all. We often want to stay in the shallow, safe part of the waters of life when God may be calling us to go into deeper water with and for Him.

Luke 5 captures this kind of scene with the calling of the disciples. Jesus is teaching the people, and in the background are fishermen, some who would be called disciples of Christ. What’s interesting is that fishermen have a lot of the qualities it takes to successfully serve the Lord – courage, patience, determination, and faith. On this day, though, they lacked these things after fishing all night and catching nothing. Jesus stepped in and said to them: Put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch.

The Lord challenges them to a greater vision and understanding of their lives. Even though they knew what they were doing and were adept at their craft, they limited their potential by lacking faith. But Jesus encourages and challenges them to “launch out into the deep.” He says go farther, dig deeper, and do a little more because there is a payoff if you trust Me. The disciples trust the word of God and verse 6 says:

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.

How much do we miss out on in our lives and mission by not trusting God? Fear and apathy can grip us in life no matter the circumstances, the environment, or what we undergo. Whether it’s huge, or we fear the potential of something being huge, we can be gripped with uncertainty, and not put ourselves out there. The disciples discover what happens when we are obedient to the word of God even when we don’t understand what He is asking us to do. Jesus said in verse 10:

“Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything, and followed him.

God is saying the same thing to us in our generation. This movement into the deep water of life is what He wants; to go further with Him on the mission. Jesus made us a promise that He would be with there even to the end of the age. His promises are real and constant, and we can base our lives on them. We can take them with us and hold them in deep water when tempted to be afraid, relent to unbelief, or give up.

Just as He did for the disciples that day on the shore of the lake, God has great plans and purposes for our lives, and He wants us to risk, place our faith in, and be obedient to Him. The glory of God can often be seen most prominently in the deep water. Our prayer is that God gives us the strength and power to wade into them and be successful with His help.

A Solitary Place

Read This Week: Luke 4

At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also because that is why I was sent.” And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea. – Luke 4:42-44 NIV

Jesus had an eventful time in Luke chapter 4. He was tempted in the wilderness by the enemy, He was rejected in His hometown of Nazareth even while He proclaimed the Good News to the multitudes, He drove out an impure spirit, and healed many people. By any standards, these activities would constitute a busy schedule and one that would require a break. Jesus did just that because He always knew when He needed some quiet time with the Father. Verse 42 says that He went out to a solitary place.

Being alone and practicing solitude are two very different things. One can be comfortable while the other requires discipline. One can cater to self-absorption and the other to self-examination. One can provide less noise, but the other can bring perspective. One can be a conduit for physical rest and the other for life-change. Jesus understood the difference between the two and used it as an avenue to regroup spiritually and stay focused on the mission (v.43). He provides an example for us to find a solitary place to encounter the Lord, be refreshed in our life with God, and gain new energy and resolve for our mission. 

Being alone is not a bad thing. It can be good for the soul. Everyone needs to physically disconnect from the grind and press mute on the voices that bombard us each day. But sometimes, being alone exclusively does nothing more than fuel the things we struggle with, advance false beliefs, and encourage self-interest. 

A solitary place can help us understand our challenges and gain a spiritual perspective that we need to face the difficult circumstances of life. This time with God can shift our emphasis off of ourselves and onto the Word as we are still and listen to His voice. Our negative emotions can be re-centered and brought under the control of the Spirit, and we can learn humility and grow out of our brokenness.

A solitary place can arrange an encounter between selfishness and sanctification. It can help us tear down the false images of ourselves and rebuild a new person alive in the fullness of Christ. Our attitude can shift from personal recovery to spiritual renewal as we go from looking for relief to passionately seeking the will of God. It was more about renovation than rehabilitation.

A solitary place can facilitate spiritual and emotional healing. God deals with our issues in these spaces as we pursue Him without distraction. The Scriptures tell us that if we will return to God and rest in Him, we will find strength and confidence in the quietness. This promise rings true for us in the present as God can strengthen our hearts and minds as we engage with His truth in a quiet place.

Jesus was the Son of God, yet he chose to find rest in the solitary place in this chapter and throughout the Gospels. What Christ practiced should be something we do as well. In a solitary place, we are not just alone. We are face-to-face with our Father, that loves us and wants to refresh, renew, and equip us for our lives with Him. Then we can exit these places of solitude and encounters with the Lord and say as Jesus did in verse 43, I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God because that is why I am here.

Generational Wealth

Read This Week: Luke 3

When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli. – Luke 3:21-23 NIV

One of the most powerful scenes contained in the Gospels is the baptism of Jesus. The day after many people had presented themselves to John for baptism, Jesus approached the Jordan River to be baptized. At first, John did not want to do it because He knew Jesus was the Son of God who did not require repentance. But the Lord wanted to officially start His public ministry by identifying with the sinners that He came to seek and save. He wanted to demonstrate fellowship with God and relate to those who needed his salvation.

When John brought Jesus out of the water, the people saw an amazing display of divine majesty. Father God spoke from heaven and audibly identified Jesus as His beloved Son and even pronounced His favor on Him. Then the Spirit visibly and tangibly came on Jesus in the form of a dove showing the world that He was empowered to do and complete the will of God. Can you imagine being in the crowd that day and witnessing such an incredible moment? It set the tone for the rest of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

Then Luke does an interesting thing on the heels of this awe-inspiring moment. He interjects into the narrative a genealogy of Jesus or a listing of his generational ancestors back to Adam. Verse 23 begins it like this:

Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, the son of Heli. 

The Gospel writer was intentional; he knew that by placing the genealogy here, the reader would be instructed and reminded that the Son of God was also the incarnated Savior. Jesus was born into this world and part of a lineage that began with Adam. He was the God-Man who identified with the needs, hurts, struggles, and problems of mankind. Christ came from the line of David and was heir to his throne, signifying his kingship on earth and for all time in eternity.

This understanding of Jesus’ genealogy gives us a greater knowledge and insight into our status as an heir to Christ. It is the true generational wealth that can not be taken from us or lost in a deal or squandered by those who come after us. All believers, both men and women, become God’s children and heirs through faith in Christ. To know who we are in Him can deepen our love and motivate us to seek transformation by the Spirit. Galatians 3:26-29 sums this up best:

In Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 

Seen It

Read This Week: Luke 2

Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” – Luke 2:28-32 NIV

Luke chapter 2 is probably one of the most recognized Scriptures in the Bible because of its connection to Christmas. Every year, people, both sacred and secular, read and sing passages from the story of the birth of Christ contained in the words of this chapter. But there is so much more to it than the telling of Jesus’ birth. The narrative and theological implications of Luke 2 go from the incarnation and build on it to reveal some amazing truths about Jesus and His mission for us and the world.

This glorious foreshadowing of Jesus’ mission and how it relates to us can be seen in the story of Simeon (v.25-35), a righteous and devout man who was a part of the Jewish remnant that looked with anticipation for the Messiah. Simeon desired to see the Messiah before he died. He wanted to lay eyes on the One who would bring God’s salvation to the nation of Israel and the world. He had a vision of this that we read in verse 26: It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 

When Simeon goes into the temple and sees Jesus with Mary and Joseph, he realizes instantly that He is looking at the Messiah, the Son of the living God. He is so moved by this revelation of truth that he takes Jesus into his arms and begins to sing. What a greeting, right? His joy and gladness are such that he embraces Christ and can not help but break out in a song of praise. He also blesses God for keeping His promise and thanks the Lord for allowing him to see it with his own eyes. Verses 29-31 capture this poignant moment:

Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations.

As followers of Jesus, we are like Simeon. We have seen the glory of Christ revealed in our lifetime. We have witnessed his miracles (principally our salvation), His provision, His grace, His goodness, and His sovereignty that remains faithful even in the midst of the greatest of uncertainties. We have been called to His mission, been a part of His work, and seen the Gospel taken to the utmost parts of the earth just as Simeon sang about in this chapter. We have been witnesses to the kingdom advancing in our age. We have seen it.

May we live in light of this truth. Our reactions to knowing Jesus and seeing the work of the Messiah should be the same as Simeon’s so many years ago. Our eyes should open in the morning, our hearts should be filled with gratitude, and a song of praise and joy should resonate from our lips. Just like the saint of old in the temple that day, our life fulfillment is realized in the privilege we have to know and serve the God of the universe. We should rejoice and live with power because we’ve seen it.

Who Cares?

Read This Week: Luke 1

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm. He has filled the hungry with good things. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful.” – Luke 1:46-54 NIV

We hear so much in our society and culture about the word empathy. We tend to see it in the context of leadership, politics, social movements, and standards of thought. Unfortunately, there seems to be more talk about what certain people think empathy means than actually seeing empathy applied. Instead of asking who displays a myopic, skewed view of empathy, perhaps we should be asking who cares? Who is actually caring for their fellow man regularly in a tangible way instead of merely talking about it like a romantic idea? 

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus performs miracles and mighty deeds, feeds the hungry, heals the sick, and helps others not because He shows empathy but because He is the all-encompassing definition of compassion. Compassion and mercy lead Him to care deeply and translate His feelings into discernable action. Consider the words of Mary’s joyful song of praise (v.46-55) and focus on the language that describes the characteristics of God seen in the person and life of Christ:

“For he has been mindful… He has done great things for me… His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation… He has performed mighty deeds… He has filled the hungry with good things… He has helped his servant, remembering to be merciful.

Mary gives us a preview of what is to come in the following chapters. We will observe Jesus in caring action and words. We will see a servant, a shepherd, and a Savior who is empathetic to people and mindful of them. And He does not just feel or relate to their pain and suffering, but He is aware of how it affects them, and He is careful to express that. Christ shows mercy out of His love and does great things for people of all backgrounds, races, beliefs, and social and economic statuses. He truly cares.

God wants us to care. He desires us to go beyond the rhetoric of who is empathetic and who is not and the faulty social constructs that determine it. This benevolent care on display from Jesus is what God calls His followers to be. He was the compassionate Son of Man, and we are to follow His example of love, care, and kindness in our lives.

We are to be among people and not just ones we like. We are to befriend sinners and those on the margins of life. We are to hold up the weak and share the burdens of the afflicted. Showing compassion and caring for others is a sign of Christlikeness and of one who allows the Lord’s power to be expressed through their heart to effect change in the world.

Who cares? God does. And if we love God, we care too. Let’s allow Him to teach us this and so many other things in the days and weeks ahead through the book of Luke.

Amazed

Read This Week: Mark 16

Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. – Mark 16:6-8 NIV

The morning of the resurrection is interesting for the women who had gone to the tomb when we look back at it. They were not expectant of anything amazing. Expectancy was lacking in the disciples and the women who ventured to the grave that morning. They went to anoint the dead not to witness a miracle. But when they encountered the angel, and he informed them that Jesus had risen, this was their reaction in verse 8: 

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.

The two Marys and Salome did not get what they expected to say the least. The word trembling in this version of verse 8 is better stated as astonishment. It is the Greek word ekstasis that means amazement or the state of one who is thrown into a state of blended fear and wonderment because of the novelty of an event.

Ekstasis is the word that we get the English derivative ecstasy from. In other words, the women had encountered a once-in-a-lifetime event that they were not expecting, and it put them into a state of fear, astonishment, and wonder. This reaction seemed to be a common occurrence throughout the book of Mark:

• And they were astonished at his teaching… (1:22)
• They were all amazed… (1:27)
• So that they were all amazed and glorified God… (2:12)
• They were astonished beyond measure… (7:37)
• When they saw him, they were greatly amazed… (9:15)
• They were exceedingly astonished… (10:26)
• They were amazed, and those who followed were afraid… (10:32)
• All the crowd was astonished at his teaching… (11:18)
• Jesus made no further answer so that Pilate was amazed… (15:5)

These reactions to Jesus should come as no surprise. He is, indeed amazing. The way that He loves us unconditionally is amazing. The grace that He poured out on us through the cross and continues to in our lives is amazing. His mercy in light of our sin is amazing. His goodness when we don’t deserve it is amazing. His faithfulness in the face of our constant disobedience is amazing, and His nurturing when we are hurting and defeated is beyond amazing.

In light of this, we should be a people that are amazed but not surprised. The Lord is unpredictable so be astonished but don’t be unexpectant that an amazing God will do amazing things. He will; He does, and He is. Consider this wonderful quote about our amazing, wonderful Father:

God is often unpredictable. He loves to invade everyday life. He comes to you when you least expect it. He manifests Himself to you even when you’re aware of your own shortcomings and feel as if you don’t deserve His grace. He does this to remind you that His love and desire for you aren’t based on what you do for Him but on who He is. His unpredictable love is meant to amaze you, fascinate you, and capture your heart with His passion for you.