The overall Lenten question: "What Would I Do With Jesus?"
I decided to post them over the next few days before Resurrection Sunday... no photos, nothing fancy, maybe too much to read. But feel led to share them. Thought I should pop the explanation out for #1 so you would understand it's purpose and it's focus.
JAMES, THE DISCIPLE
What would I do with Jesus?
I'd do what I've already done: I'd follow Him.
It hasn't always been that way. In fact, if John the Baptist hadn't pointed Him out to me, told me He was the Lamb of God, and prodded me to follow Him, I wonder if I ever would have.
John was a man of power and boldness...frighteningly certain of his mission and his duties. I followed him as much from awe and fear as anything. I never understood him, but he was so compelling, had such an air of adventure, I couldn't seem to stay away.
Jesus was different. He really didn't stand out to me. He didn't attract any great amount of attention from anyone.
I was there when John baptized Jesus. And, to be honest, it embarrassed and confused me. John was always so rough, demanding--yet, with Jesus he became humble, a servant.
As I followed Jesus, though, I discovered, slowly, that He was every bit as compelling as John had been.
I made Him angry with me--several times. I could see the sorrow in His eyes as He reprimanded me. He didn't blaze against me as I might have expected. But He took a deep breath, shook His head, and became quiet. I always felt so foolish.
His responses and reactions were so unlike mine would have been--or those of anyone else I knew--that I was totally bewildered.
One day that changed, though, and I suddenly saw life through His eyes. He was sitting under a tree, praying. I hesitated disturbing Him, but was in such turmoil, I simply had to talk to Him. He heard me approach and looked up with a smile. Then He said, "James, my friend, what can I do for you?"
"Master," I said, "I've been hearing rumors. People are talking, laughing behind your back, saying you love Mary, and..." And I felt so foolish I couldn't even finish my sentence.
Jesus really surprised me then. He said, "But, James, I do love her, but...I love you and Andrew, Thaddeus and Joanna, and John...all of you are unique and precious to me."
He continued, "James, you must remember, most men have no understanding of the person of God, the part of God that allows, even impels Him, to enjoy what He has created. He never sees these friendships and love relationships as something sordid or sinful or inappropriate.
“There is nothing inappropriate about my love for you or your brother. We are a family with friendship so strong it is beyond the capacity of most men to understand. And there is nothing, absolutely nothing, inappropriate about my love for Mary. Mary is my sister, my friend, my child. If my mission were simply a human mission, that relationship might be different. But my mission is for all men and to all men. No earthly relationship can stand in the way of what the Father has asked me to do.”
Then he said to me, "When ugly rumors and misstatements are made, who is the author of that ugliness? Not the Father. And, if not the Father, then who is?"
For once I knew an answer and I told Him. "Satan, the father of lies." He smiled and nodded. "That's right," He told me, and continued. "If he can discredit or manipulate or create dissension, he will. Remember in the story of the sheep and the shepherd I described Satan as one who steals, kills and destroys. People forget that Satan's scheme doesn't apply only in the physical realm. Part of his plan is to steal peace, joy, respect and courage. He comes to kill reputations and feelings of self-worth and to destroy families, friendships, loving relationships.
"So, James, don't let the rumors disturb you. People misunderstand because they WANT to misunderstand. They enjoy painting pictures of unrighteousness because it mirrors the unrighteousness of their hearts and helps them deaden the pangs of conscience."
He smiled again, as if to say, “I think that's about as much as you can grasp right now.” As I turned to leave, I saw He was already in the presence of His Father.
I'm a slow learner. I'm thankful He was a patient teacher. And I'll gratefully follow Him...forever.