There is a cost, but it is worth it

 

Ben Cantelon – Worth it All

 

I cannot imagine what it was like for families making the decision to go back to Jerusalem after spending so many years in Babylon. Some of them had children that were born, raised and were now working and providing for families of their own. In many ways, it was their home, with their friends and their communities.

To go back to Jerusalem was a big unknown. I know my parents and my wife’s parents came to Canada from Europe and started from scratch, so I know a little about what that may have meant. They did this without God, so the people of Israel had a head start knowing that the story of their return to the promised land was shared from generation to generation. They were doing what Abraham had done. I sometimes think about what I would do – am I willing to obey Christ no matter how much it costs? I believe this is what it means to be His disciple.

I look at the Samaritan woman at the well story and know that when I make the decision to follow Jesus, I will have a life transformation moment just like she experienced. I cannot imagine the number of steps Jesus took for her to receive so much healing. Women were never called “daughters of Abraham.” Jesus made the woman feel as if she had equal worth to God. Jesus continues to ignore two codes of behaviour. His conversation with the foreigner, and the fact she was a woman.

All of that did not matter. Jesus wanted to bring out a truth, and that was for a call for those to worship Him exclusively – the heart of Jesus’ ministry on earth.

But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.  God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” – John 4: 23-24  ESV

In this very prolonged dialogue, there is a recognition and then an honouring for her thirst for truth. Jesus reveals He is the Messiah. When the disciples come back that are so confused as to what He was doing.

Another tradition was changed, for Jewish thought gave no heed to a woman’s testimony for it was seen as not trustworthy. But look at the reaction from those that heard her excited words and acted on them:

 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” – John 4:39  ESV

Jesus is invited to spend a few days with this community. Her encounter with Jesus changed her from a stranger – to a learner – to a teacher of others. By experiencing this, she broke through old barriers of distrust and hatred that everyone took for granted.

The cost was a hard time of change she had to go through, and so quickly, but it was all worth it at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No reputation

 

Man of No Reputation- Rick Elias

 

That cuts to the heart of everything – Jesus in Nazareth, continuing in the tradition of His father’s work, working with wood, helping to raise the family.  He had no reputation.

But emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,[c] being born in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:7  ESV

But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. – Philippians 2:7  KJ21

It would seem that since we fell by pride we can only be raised up by humility.  In the beatitudes, was not the first one being poor in spirit. As a disciple, I need to learn from Him who was the example of being meek and humble.  Hard to imagine that Jesus could display the highest values of dignity and conduct Himself with such humility. Humility in Jesus looked like self-denial, patience, forgiveness, gentleness, submission, and self-control.

I know that in my walk as a disciple of Jesus I have to be careful that in my strategies and struggles, I do not lose sight of God and His purpose. As I am tempted to come up with some kind of shortcut for success, I come to the realisation that there are no shortcuts. Maturity in my faith and discipleship are lifelong pursuits. I grow through the Word, prayer, spiritual disciplines and godly relationships. Those are still tools. He is the means.

By being more dependant on Him, I have a better attitude that creates better actions. Yes, I still ask myself from time to time why I should be willing to give up a great salary, comfort, fun and even friends to follow Jesus as His disciple. Jesus gives me things that are eternal while those things are limited and temporary.

Jesus is worth following because no one is like Him. He is unique, stands in a class all His own. When I was far from Him, He came looking for me. As I received Him and acknowledged and worshipped Him, He gave me life.

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