When we look and study all the moments of the life of Jesus, we realize that The Lord does not introduce anything new in terms of human experiences but rather elevates and imbues tremendous meaning and purpose into them. When evil and the demons of our lives approach, we realize first-hand that we truly need faith in the one who can handle and defeat them. These present themselves as conflicts which call us to make choices.
Conflicts: Every last one of us must face conflicts practically every day of our lives, even if they surface from within us. Therefore, it is not an indication or measurement of how much we are loved when we have issues or problems, but rather what we are going to do with them.
Choices: When Jesus calls a person to follow Him, it necessarily involves the fundamental option whether to accept him or to reject him; and the world is always divided into those who have accepted Christ and those who have not. Everyone makes choices every day. This choice, however, affects eternity and forever is a very, very long time.
A Cross. The original audience of Jesus experienced tremendous suffering and loss. They knew very well what a cross was. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions the swift and cruel action of Publius Quinctilius Varus, a Roman General under the Emperor Augustus who crushed a revolt in Judea in 4 BC. After occupying Jerusalem, he crucified 2000 Jewish rebels and placed the crosses by the wayside along the roads to Galilee. This is why Jesus had and has tremendous compassion for His people, then and now.
Our daily dose of the Word leads us to understand and fully engage the conflicts, choices and crosses in our lives. When we are worried, it is because we are trying to do things ourselves. When we are at peace it is because we remember that God is in control.
“As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’” So what are we to do next? The Gospel fills in that blank quite eloquently. Live and witness your life always remembering from whence it came. Several times we have mentioned in these reflections that how we live our lives especially through our actions through the course of any given day makes a profound impact on those we meet and encounter. This is no more powerfully and so overwhelmingly true and applicable as when it comes to our children and students. You see it is so true that we can preach a much better sermon with our lives than with just our words. Whether we are aware of it or not, someone is looking up to us or at least waiting for us to act and yes, seeing how long it takes for us to forgive. We influence people every minute and it is clear that they need to see God’s love expressed through us who say that we believe and love God with our whole heart. This is how we actually proclaim the Kingdom of God: by living it joyfully.
Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads. William J. Toms