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Born Not Worth Hating

This exercise we’re calling #NTx12 – reading the New Testament thru every 30 days – is already feeding my spirit and mind.    It’s a story, with a plot and characters and foreshadowing and all the things that make up a great story.

In John 7, I reread a passage that has caught my eye for years.  It’s as interesting interaction between Jesus and His brothers revealing fundamental differences of opinion in regards to the nature of fame.

As the story goes, it was time for the Feast of Tabernacles.  Jesus’ brothers were taunting Him, even imploring Him to make a public appearance there.  To be fair, it seemed like good advice for a would-be revolutionary…besides, they weren’t so sure He was who He said He was, and this would separate the misfits from the messiahs.

Jesus responds with two counterpoints – one that expose impatience with sovereignty and another pointing out our insignificance short of identifying with Christ.

“My time is not yet here; for you, any time will do.”  John 7:6

It’s clear that Jesus’ brothers were doubters, and in doubting, they’ve removed themselves from the constraints of submitting to sovereignty.  If you’re not sure what is going to happen, there is no better time than the present.  The man without a clear hope for the future is forced to maximize his footprint on the present because he may never get another chance.

Of course, Jesus wasn’t dealing in chance.  He was dealing in purpose. Destiny. Calling.

We’ve fallen into the trap of believing that if it’s to be, it’s up to me.  It’s pervaded our church culture, our preaching, our book sales and our thinking.  The only thing that separates our leadership aggression from that of the world is the fish decal on our iPad.  Beyond that, we’re with Jesus’ brothers – let’s make something happen.

Except that we’re never called to make something happen.  We’re called to be something…but most of us are nervous waiting on anything, let alone God, so we paint waiting as too passive for our style and we crank up the self promotion machine.

It is not passive to wait on God. Contrarily, it is the most calculating maneuver that a heart can make.   If you truly believe God has a specific calling and destiny for you, then you prepare by getting your heart, mind and skill set in alignment, but you understand that if He is calling you, He will go there and take you with Him.

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates be because I testify that it’s works are evil.”  John 7:7

In this second reply, Jesus goes on to illustrate that it’s not only their prophetic timing that is off, it’s their sense of self.  He infers that presently, it’s not His brothers who are finding themselves threatened by the religious leaders and others, it’s Him.   His brothers are almost unknown. If they’re known at all, it’s for being His brothers.  In a subtle way, He points out that they generate no reaction from those in power – good, bad or indifferent.  In a sense, they were born like us – not worth hating.

Inconsequential people don’t incur consequences.

Those who do not rattle cages, anger the authorities, inspire revolutions, or turn the world upside down suffer no consequences and are, by default, inconsequential.    Of course, this doesn’t have to be our destiny.  We can become people of consequence, but there is really only one righteous way to do it.

“You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.”   Matthew 10:22

The Church is coming into a season when identifying with Christ will generate stronger and stronger reactions from people.  The idea of Christian celebrity status will not just dissipate, it will surrender to the weight of persecution or crumble under the pressure of it’s own self-consumed mass.  All that will stand will be those who stand closest to Him.

Followers of Jesus who are willing to wait for their moment and then stand nearest to Him in that moment will be those who shine like the noonday sun.


One Response

  1. *sigh* Right on time for me. Its not merely good advice; its a principle to be stood upon. Thank you for sharing. I feel I have clarity.

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