My memory verse this week:
"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart." 2 Corinthians 4:1
NTC Day 23
Luke 3 and 2 Corinthians 4-6
Luke 3 describes John the Baptist's ministry. He was baptizing people and preaching about the coming of the Christ. People started going to hear and see John because it was "the thing" to do...some were "rubber-neckers"....they wanted to see what was going on and what the fuss was all about. John called them out on this.
They listened to John preach about how they must change their lives and they then asked him how they should do that. He gives them a preview of Jesus' teachings...give your things to those who have not; tax collectors should be honest and not take more than they are due; soldiers should behave honorably with no shake downs and blackmails to get more than their due.
John seems so serious and solemn. But, when I read about John's ministry, I can't help but think of the musical "Godspell." I see him as joyously preparing people for something better...inviting them to leave the trappings of this life behind and joining the way to a better life.
In the opening song of the 1973 musical "Godspell" we hear John singing alone "Prepare ye the way if the Lord." He is CALLING OUT to those with open ears to come. You then see a few people in the crowded streets leaving their jobs and old ways, and joining John for a joyous baptizing in a fountain. Even though being baptized is a very serious event, it is such a joy-filled event too! Soon, the whole group is singing along with John about preparing the way for the Lord! They were so happy, they just couldn't hold it in...they were letting their light shine!
2 Corinthians 4 says that the god of this age (the devil) has blinded unbelievers to the light of Christ. We wonder, if people can't see and won't believe, what's the use of sharing our faith in Christ with nonbelievers? But...what was one miracle that Jesus performed over and over? Making the blind see! Through Jesus, God CAN AND WILL take the devil's blindfold off of their eyes and they WILL see!
We who know and believe in Christ have his light deep inside us, treasured away in our "jars of clay"...our human bodies. Through our cracks...the hardships and trials that Christ has walked us through, that light escapes for the world to see.
Those trials and difficulties that cracked our human bodies are only temporary...By comparison, they are NOTHING to the glories we will receive in heaven with Christ!!! So, we fix our eyes on heaven and away from the troubles of this life. By doing so, our light WILL shine and others can not help but see and be drawn to that light of our hope in Christ!
Yes, some may call us "Jesus freaks" or crazy in Christ, as they did Paul in 2 Corinthians 5. But if we stay close to God and his word, and trust in Christ, we know that we are NOT crazy, but are a new creation!
2 Corinthians 6 confuses me a little bit, because it says we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers and that we are to be separate from them. I think many interpret this to mean we are not to associate with unbelievers...BUT...if that is true, how are we to let our light shine to them? I think I understand Paul to mean that we are not to participate in the activities of the nonbelievers. In order to "make disciples of all nations," we NEED to be IN the world...just not OF the world.
The Message Translation of 2 Corinthians 6:17 - So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good. Don't link up with those who will pollute you. Run to your Heavenly Father, be His daughter or son.
I have a friend who has a biker ministry. He looks like a biker and rides a Harley, and has a long beard and tattoos and hangs out in bars with other bikers. He gets to know unbelievers in THEIR environment...where they are comfortable. He is kind and loving to all...and when they know and trust him...THEN he shares the good news with them. He even has a Biker Church now! His clay jar is full of cracks and Christ's light is shining BRIGHTLY through it!!! I want to be just like him, because....he is acting just like Christ!
How can you prepare the way for the Lord in this world and let your light shine so others can see today???