Selected by reader, Zachary, from Raleigh
As a Christian who has an artistic calling, I often find myself caught between cultures. Knowing that Jesus was able to live and minister in multiple cultures is so refreshing and encouraging. Jesus truly is the author and perfecter of our faith.
Originally posted on July 25, 2018 with readings from Jeremiah 21 and Mark 7.
People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. — Mark 7.37
Reflection: Doing All Things Well :: Readers’ Choice
By John Tillman
Mark’s seventh chapter begins with Pharisees, who never seemed to think Jesus did anything right. It ends with Gentiles in the Decapolis who proclaimed with amazement that Jesus did all things well.
The Pharisees were a culture within a culture. Paul uses his pharisaical background as a superlative, calling himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” The Decapolis was a region of Gentile cities that many observant Jews would avoid.
Jesus models for us a comfortable and powerful confidence that allows him to move with freedom and authority between these two different cultures. He is equally comfortable exposing the inward sinfulness of the religious elite as he is exposing the bright light of the Gentiles’ faith and both groups’ desperate need for the gospel.
That Jesus would even spend time in Gentile territory would be scandalous to the Pharisees. That he would claim that the only true God is the God of Israel would be scandalous to the Gentiles. Christ’s teaching of the gospel shocked everyone. His gospel was not watered-down, feel-good niceties. It offended easily. But it was, and is, the only source of life.
As we follow Christ, we are meant to take on this mantle of confidence and comfort. This is not a confidence in our ability or a comfort in our own power, but an indwelling, filling, and freeing expression of the Holy Spirit with us.
The crowds in the Decapolis would have known Jesus as a source of transformation and life before he arrived because Jesus had already sent a missionary there to prepare the way. Though not recorded in scripture, it is not hard to imagine that Christ, upon arriving in the cities of the Decapolis, may have been greeted with crowds led by the former demoniac of Gerasene.
May we be so transformed. May we be so sent. May we undertake whatever task is asked of us for the cities to which God sends us. May they say of us as they say of Christ, that we “doeth all things well.”
All the way my Savior leads me;
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my Guide?
Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well,
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well. — Fanny Crosby (recording by Rich Mullins)
Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lesson
One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life… — Psalm 27.5
– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle.
Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.
Jeremiah 45-46 (Listen – 6:41)
Psalm 22 (Listen – 3:49)
This Weekend’s Readings
Jeremiah 47 (Listen – 1:21) Psalm 23-24 (Listen – 2:03)
Jeremiah 48 (Listen – 7:31) Psalm 25 (Listen – 2:18)
Read More about Thankful Workers for Peace
Just as Jesus left the Gerasene man to spread the gospel to the Decapolis, he would soon leave the disciples to spread the gospel to the world, and he has left us here to follow in their footsteps.
Read More about Kingdom Manifestation :: A Guided Prayer
Ask God to make you the answer to this prayer. You are called to make manifest the kingdom of God.
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