Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 8 January 2015

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.  Mark 3, verse 13.

I know we talked about this same verse yesterday but I ran out of space before making a point that should be talked over.

They came to Him.

Know this:   there is nothing the apostles, Jesus’ followers, you, me, Mother Theresa, Pope Francis or anyone could do to save themselves or ourselves.  We don’t ‘earn’ our salvation; we don’t do anything to deserve it, or make ourselves worthy of it, or curry Jesus’ favor to gain it.   The idea of “work righteousness” is a misleading rabbit hole we’d do well to stay away from…save one simple action:  we acknowledge belief.   We profess our faith and go to Jesus.   Each of us still must choose:   Jesus or everything else.   We must either choose everything else and all the separation from love that entails, or we must choose Jesus.   When we choose Him, we come to Him.  When we do, we find He was already there, waiting for us.   It’s really more of Jesus already proving Himself, giving us all we need, providing everything – especially salvation – and us acknowledging an obvious ‘aha moment’ that Jesus’ Spirit enabled us to see.

And that’s where the ‘work’ stops.   It’s the only thing we do in response to His prompting and His pro-action in our lives.   Professing faith in Jesus, responding to how His Spirit reaches out to us first, is the only participatory action we take in the process that is salvation.   Everything else has already been done for us; everything that’s needed was done by Jesus on Calvary.

Those whom Jesus called during Bible times were the first to experience His call.  It was a practical thing, you see.  Jesus was in a remote location in Judea, preaching around growing crowds.   It wasn’t that He needed help to get His message out.   Instead, WE needed it.   He instituted the practical thing called “Christian ministry;” even it was nothing new, for personal human ministry was as old as Eden.  Still, He called a few of the crowd, those to whom He had reached out and brought into His human inner circle, and He formally touched their hearts with an invitation.  It said “follow me.”  Not “do this, that, and the other,” or “be better than everyone else.”   Just “follow me.”   You could say Jesus was offering them a contract:   follow me and let me do the rest.

It’s the same contract He offers to us.   Follow Jesus and He’ll do the rest.   He’ll give us the chances to grow in faith, to let Him re-mold our ways of thinking, to guide us in making better choices.   When we follow Jesus, He guides us as we discover that we want to live better, to do better than we did before.  Jesus saves us from ourselves, freeing us to live in better ways that we couldn’t do before His calling.   He’s been reaching out to us from the day we were born, yet for a myriad of reasons, you and I sometimes ignore the call.   But He doesn’t.   He still calls to us, just like He called to those apostles, and they came to Him.   We come to Him because He called for us.  His call is always the right one.

Lord, receive me. I hear Your call to my heart and I want to follow only You.

Re-read Mark 3, verses 13-19.

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