Hitchhiker’s bLOG – 2022.01.13

Listen to Jesus

But he (the leper) went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter. Mark 1:45

painting by Soichi Watanabe

From yesterday’s scripture reflection, Jesus pointedly told the leper not to tell anybody what had happened. The leper did not listen to the Lord and instead went out and spread the news freely. In his excitement about his healing, he inadvertently prevented Jesus from doing ministry amid the population. Instead, Jesus is forced to do ministry in the wilderness, forcing people to come looking for him. He should have listened to Jesus.

In the Bible, we find Paul explaining to Timothy that new converts should not be elders. (1 Timothy 3:6) Why? Because their passion for being saved and lack of experience could have the opposite effect on the ministry. Their emotions can get in the way of access to Jesus, and thus it can force people into the wilderness to seek him out.

I have watched as passionate people put up obstacles that make it more difficult to see Jesus throughout my adult life. They pepper their faith with cultural ideologies, tradition idolatry, hyper-orthodoxy, or tribalism. Too often, these practices cause alienation, and then they lament when the church is shrinking without ever knowing that it was the things they were doing and saying that was pushing Jesus into the wilderness.

Listen to Jesus!

Lord Jesus,

Please help me to listen to you. I do not want to be the one who pushes you away or makes it more difficult for people to find you.

Your name is precious. Amen!

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