Joining Jesus – 27th January 2019

Welcome to Joining Jesus.

SPECIAL NOTE.

On 1st March 2019, I will be beginning the ‘Joining Jesus’ Podcast and be launching a new ‘Joining Jesus’ discipleship process that will be available at The Rooftop Academy www.therooftop.org As such, to avoid having too many, and possibly confusing ‘titles’ I thought it would be best for the weekly email that I send to have the same title. Therefore, ‘Stay On Mission’ from now onwards will be titled ‘Joining Jesus’. If you are being helped by these emails, from 1st March, please feel free to find out more about the podcast and discipleship process. Here is this weeks article.

2.  Have you missed the point?

From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.  Matthew 16:21-24

The Jesus who asks us to follow Him and join Him in His Mission is the one who ‘died for us’ as Peter writes:

‘For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’. 1 Peter 3:18

The mission that Jesus asks us to join Him in is something that is far more urgent than merely filling up empty seats in church buildings.  It is not a mission that is intended to give people a better life – it is a mission that is fulfilled when people surrender to Jesus and receive a new life, al life that begins in this world and will continue forever.

Having spent several years travelling to many parts of the world and visiting churches in a variety of different situations I have reluctantly reached a sad conclusion.  The conclusion that I have come to is that the vast majority of Christians have lost, or maybe never had, a deep passion for a mission that is about saving people from an eternity without God!  Somehow, it seems we have missed the point!

Remarkably, in the scripture we are looking at, we discover that we are not the first people to completely miss the point!

Immediately after Jesus had explained His mission to the disciples, Matthew records:

Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”

Peter had missed the point and not understood that Jesus’ Mission was not just something that made life better here, it was a mission with an eternal perspective, hence the enormously challenging words from Jesus in response to Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Jesus now rebukes Peter and at the heart of this rebuke is that Peter only has in mind ‘human’ concerns not ‘the concerns of God’.  As a result, Peter was a stumbling block because while he saw things from this perspective he would get in the way of the true mission of Jesus!

This can easily happen to us as churches and individuals, we can become so focused on ‘human concerns’ – our own problems and issues as individuals and, as churches, keeping things the way we like them to be and ensuring that we are ‘on budget’.  These human concerns can mean that we completely miss the point and see our mission as ensuring that our needs are met – this can make us a stumbling block!

For us, as for Peter, there is a rebuke from Jesus if our focus is on ‘merely human concerns’.

This week I encourage you to take some time to read through the scripture verses above and ask the Lord to reveal to you whether you have in mind ‘the concerns of God’ or ‘merely human concerns’.

Dennis

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