And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? Mark 4:13 ESV
When I as a teenager we used to sing the Andre Crouch song, “Jesus is the Answer” with great abandon and joy. We were super confident that life was now simple and our challenges under control because we had met Jesus and He was our Savior. But now that fifty years have passed, I am discovering that the same Jesus who was the answer for my salvation has also been the Jesus who asks me some very uncomfortable questions, like today’s verse. “How will you understand?”
After five decades my answer is, “I have no idea Lord!” I am often baffled like Philip was when he asked Jesus, “We don’t know where you are going, How can we know the way?” Jesus rarely gives us an easy answer. He doesn’t outline three steps to healing, five keys to church growth or six choices leading to prosperity. Instead He comes each day and asks, “Which one was a neighbor? Will you also go away? Who do you say that I am? or Why are you weeping?”
Why does Jesus do that? My best guess is that when I know the answer, I will not be here any longer to tell you! But one morning when the mist is wiped clear from Heaven’s windows we are promised that will see our Jesus who asks every question and is Himself the answer; our Lord and our most intimate friend. That morning we will know as we are known and there we will see Him face to face!
For my younger readers who likely have no clue as to who Andre Crouch is I am posting a link to a live performance. I was blessed to have the chance to see He along with his sister Sandra and the band in Phoenix in 1972. This YouTube video doesn’t really convey the tremendous energy faith hope (and volume!) that ruled during those live concerts. Have a blessed day all.
I would like to thank Rev James Laurence who writes the blog, My Pastoral Ponderings for inspiring me to write today about the unstoppable power of the love of Christ. His post on the Awe of God got my mind turning back to our time at Niagara Falls. I remember standing transfixed as I witnessed the power of the falls and think they are a clue that God has left us to remind us of Him.
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 2 Corinthians 5:14 NIV
The Niagara River at just 38 miles in length is barely a creek in comparison to the 2,340 mile long Mississippi. But there is something about the Niagara that draws people from all around the world, and that is Niagara Falls. There that little river crashes 167 feet down to the rocks below in an astonishing display of raw power. It is an unforgettable sight but without it’s waterfall the Niagara would only be remembered as an obscure stream, marking the boundary between Canada and the United States.
Niagara reminds me of another short river that started with the man named Jesus. His early life in the village of Nazareth seemed uneventful to neighbors as he worked in a carpenter shop and played with His brothers and sisters in the streets. But His life picked up speed after he turned thirty years of age and was baptized by John. It flowed at a quickening pace as He healed a leper, ate dinner with sinners and gave sight to a blind beggar. Then what had been the gentle current of His life began to rush ahead as Jesus calmed a storm by his word and raised a man from the dead. Yet the most awesome display of all did not come till one dark afternoon as they nailed Jesus to a cross. There His final breath was swept over the edge of the waterfall of death. But the river of His life did not end there. Just like the Niagara River continues to flow past the falls so the love of Christ has rushed out of the grave and into our hearts. Now its depth and power compel us ahead because nothing – no nothing is more powerful than the waterfall of the love of Christ!
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ Titus 2:13
My wife had always dreamed about us relaxing and enjoying a few days on a carefree cruise. Since I was afraid of being out on the ocean that didn’t sound at all relaxing to me, but I finally agreed and we booked a four-day cruise to Cozumel Mexico. Strangely the tension and nervousness I felt as we boarded the ship gradually subsided. As we began to experience life aboard the beautiful ship, Nancy was delighted with the delicious food, friendly staff and the romantic music in the ballroom.
But above anything I found on the ship, the most amazing thing to me was the sunrise at sea. I suppose for those who have been on ships the sight of the first rays of dawn streaking across dark waves is ordinary. But as I held on to the railing with one hand, while, clutching my camera in the other I was stunned by the beauty of an endless ocean painted with the colors of dawn.
In the same way, the Christian life is something like a cruise though not without its storms and trials. Often God blesses us way beyond anything we expect or deserve along the way but we must never forget that we have an invitation to the most amazing event of history – the return of Jesus Christ. Just as the sky had already brightened and the sea begun to shimmer with the approach of the dawn, so also we already have some of God’s light beginning to shine in our lives. But we have a blessed hope and a longing in our hearts for something more. That is a hope which will carry us through every dark night and every violent storm. Our hope and His promise is that one day Jesus will return. We can choose to either live our life fearfully huddled below or we can go out onto the deck with the hope of catching the first gleam of dawn!