“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Mark 10, verse 31.
Jesus’ Gospel is a light burden to bear; He even says that in the book of Matthew. Yet at the same time, while the love of the Gospel is light as a feather, the penalties of a harsh world are still heavy as stone. The world sets itself against believers. Don’t believe me? Then what about that county clerk in Kentucky who is defying the Supreme Court edict on gay marriage? Or bakers in Colorado and Oregon who are being persecuted for not baking cakes for gay weddings? What about Christians in Libya, Iraq and Egypt who are being murdered for simply being Christian? Only a fool could say these things aren’t persecution. Yet, to the world, only fool could cling to a faith in this Jesus when the cost is everything up to and including death.
What’s more, Jesus Himself says everything we know will be turned on its head simply by accepting the light burden of His Gospel. Accept Jesus and accept that facts on which you rely, friendships you’ve had for years, even blood family will be things you look at differently…and those things will look at you differently as well. Some will turn on you. If you think you have it all together, Jesus says you don’t and He’ll put you at the back of the line. And if you think you’re a sinner deeply in need of forgiveness, Jesus says that He’s forgiven you and you’ll move to the head of the class.
More foolishness indeed.
The first will be last and the last will be first. Those who the world thinks are all together aren’t all together in Jesus’ eyes, and those who Jesus eyes as having things all together are eyed as crazy by the rest of the world. My friend Patrick pastors a church in North Texas (Soulthirst Church in The Colony) and, lately, that’s a theme on which that church is focused. Jesus’ love is crazy in the eyes of an unbelieving world. Forgive enemies, love those who hurt you, trust an unseen God, practice grace, live the fruits of God’s crazy wild Spirit: utter foolishness and downright insanity to most of the world.
Yet those who surrender to that foolishness, that crazy love of Jesus, get to see the utter depravity with which we too often wrap around ourselves. We get to see the despicable nature of our sins and realize there is a better way. There is only one other Way, only one Way to heaven, only one Way to peace now and peace forevermore. The catch: you get to give up all the junk that you haul around. Guilt, shame, anger, resentment, grudges, hatred, temptations, a lurid past: those are who you were and Jesus took away all penalty for them. You don’t need to let them define you any longer because a holy God only sees you covered in Jesus and looking perfect.
As Patrick’s ministry partner Bill said on Sunday, “if that’s crazy, give me insane.”
And it’s a lot tougher to live than it seems, especially in a world where, like Michael Corleone, “they keep trying to pull me back.” You too. Jesus doesn’t promise to make the world go away. Instead, He promises to be with is always as we slog our way through it. And in that crazy journey, we find it isn’t as tough as we think.
Lord I want Your crazy love in my life.
Read Mark 10, verses 32-34.