During Sunday morning class, the Northside youth have been working through the book of John. Specifically, we have been working to find a simple truth in each chapter to take with us as we walk though life. I love teaching through the gospels because I learn something new every time.
This time around I have been struck by the fact that many people who encountered Jesus in the flesh were only focused on the things of this world, even when they believed Jesus was the Son of God. It was hard for them to imagine anything beyond the world they were living in. Humans in general have a hard time living with a “kingdom mindset” when this world is all we know, but Jesus gave us many promises to help us overcome this short-sighted way of thinking.
In the book of John, shortly after witnessing the feeding of the 5000, many believed Jesus to be a prophet or “the Prophet,” and they wanted to make him king by force. Jesus knew what they wanted to do, and his reaction was to withdraw to a mountain by himself. Jesus could have been an earthly ruler, he could have continued to perform miracles and change the political climate for the Jews, he could have corrected many injustices and elevated the people of God. Instead, he chose to withdraw and carry out the will of his father.
There are many times we would like to see our will done on this Earth, and many times we have good intentions and want to see justice carried out to the glory of God, but if our will is motivated by the fleeting things of this Earth, whether good or bad, we should be careful not to prioritize what we want over the eternal message of Christ.
Jesus didn’t become an earthly king. Instead, he was arrested, tortured, betrayed, and crucified. After his death, his church was scattered, and his people were persecuted. None of this looked like success at the time, but if we fast forward, we see that the scattering of the church allowed the name of Christ to be professed worldwide. Even now, in the places that the church is most persecuted, we see it growing no matter the cost. In this world there will always be trouble, but Christians are not of this world.
In John 11:25-26 Jesus says, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
It’s a question I know the answer to, but need to ask myself often. Our plans are not God’s plans, our ways are not God’s ways, and we have been offered eternal life freely. There are many good missions to take part in on Earth, but none are as important as sharing the message of eternal life through Jesus Christ. There is no better way to set your mind on things above than reading the word of God and remembering his plan.