On the Jewish Festival of Pentecost that followed Jesus’ Resurrection, the the Father anointed the Son’s disciples with the Holy Spirit. Since then Jesus-followers engage in Spirit-powered persuasion (Note: the beginning of the message is missing and the audio-visual tech forgot to follow the pastor with the camera ; nonetheless the audio comes thru fine).
In Acts 1:12-16, we get a glimpse of how the first disciples waited prayerful to be baptized in the power of the Holy Spirit. We no longer wait for the Spirit, we wait on the Spirit’s leading. As with new technologies, our lives are far more mpacrful when we learn how to utilize the Spirit’s leadings and develop habits that enable us to hear these leadings.
Centuries before Marvin Gaye’s classic tune explained “What’s Going On?”, Jesus’ Parable of the Wicked Tenants foretold his crucifixion. The story also reminds us of God’s disappointment when spiritual leaders and institutions fail to yield justice and righteousness.
In the last days of his earthly life, the religious establishment tried to trick Jesus into opposing the Roman Empire or being co-opted by it. His brilliant non-answer to their question guides us as to how we relate to government, even though our situation is radically different.
According to Jesus, childlike-news is necessary to enter God’s Kingdom and great are those who hang out with children. Good thing for me that this garden is a magnet the neighborhood kids! How might you cultivate childlike-ness?
Mark 7:24-30 tells us that Jesus initially resisted a pagan woman who begged him to free her daughter from evil. Comparing her to a dog was rude and exclusive, unless Jesus had a larger, loving purpose. This story helps us to see how Jesus provokes healing, liberating faith in us.
Our re-discovery of how Jesus inaugurated God's Kingdom on earth brings us to Mark 7. As we overhear Jesus confronting empty religious traditions, we'll have the opportunity to gain deeper awareness of the transforming power that catalyzes genuine life-change.