03-22-15 Moments of Courage: Gatherers and Scatterers

So, roughly half of our church family is sick.  But that’s only Peoria in microcosm, because roughly two-fifths of Peoria is sick with this nasty sinus/throat infection thing.  I’ve heard many people chuckling mid-week about how much more they enjoy being with me, now that I’ve essentially lost my voice.  Go figure...

But I’ll have it back by Palm Sunday this week, I’m sure of it.  In fact, I’d better have it back by Saturday evening’s FCC Trivia Night, since I’m one of the anchormen for our team.  If you have some time and would like to join us for fun and fellowship, then let me encourage you to bring some munchies and pop by the church facility this Saturday at 5:30.

For that matter, I’d better have my voice back for Friday night, because they’re finally willing to let me come visit our MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) group for their first “Ask Pastor Kevin Anything” night.  It’s an old standby of our Youth Group, and it’s also becoming an annual event at Bradley University’s InterVarsity group, so why not extend it to the young mothers of Peoria as well?  I’ll be interested to see if their questions are as different from the college students’ ones as those are from the high school kids’ questions...

In our message this week, we continued leading up to Resurrection Sunday by looking at “Moments of Courage” in Christ’s life -- moments when Jesus had to make a choice about how and why to make some crucial decisions.

This week, we covered a lot of territory in the Gospels to put into context Christ’s comments about how His real family wasn’t His mother and siblings outside the house, but His disciples sitting there with Him.

When I was a kid, those comments struck me as... well... snotty.  I knew that Jesus wasn’t snotty, but I couldn’t see why affirming His disciples had to require disrespecting His blood relatives.  And that’s where context comes in so handy in understanding things.

See, Jesus had been refusing to fulfill people’s expectations of what the Messiah was going to do -- so much so that even John the Baptist wondered if Jesus really was who he’d thought He was.  Instead of overthrowing the Roman government, or performing miracles on a nationwide scale, Jesus seemed to be content comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable -- to the point where the Pharisees were plotting His murder.

But Jesus was making it clear that He wasn’t afraid of public opinion one way or another -- or of “letting people down” in the process of His ministry.  Anyone who wasn’t with Him stood against Him, and any nation or family that stood against itself would fall.

It was at that point that His family came along and tried to get Jesus to shut up and stop annoying people, telling everyone that He was sick in the head.  “It must be the fever talking,” they’d say -- probably just trying to save Jesus from being killed because they loved Him so much.

But then again, if they really loved Him and really trusted Him, then they’d have followed His example about what to be afraid of and what not to be afraid of.  Jesus wasn’t afraid of the authorities whom He was annoying, so they shouldn’t have been afraid of those authorities.  Jesus wasn’t afraid of public opinion, so they shouldn’t have been afraid of public opinion.  It doesn’t show genuine concern on our part for us to fear what Jesus doesn’t fear in life -- it shows a lack of faith in Christ’s wisdom for us to do so.

So when Christ’s family came to grab Him and take Him home, they were disrespecting Him -- not the other way around.  That’s why He said, “If you want to be part of my family, then act like a child of my Father...” -- not because He was dismissive of the people He grew up with, but because they were dismissing Him and standing against His ministry with their world-fearing concern for Him.

So what are you afraid of today?  What fear of failure, or fear of rejection, or fear of letting people down, or fear of what might happen tomorrow motivates your actions -- or your lack of actions -- today? 

Does God share your fears?  If not, then how wise is it for you to fear what God leads you not to fear?