Posted by: pmarkrobb | March 30, 2015

believer deceiver

My chest fills with air, and I breathe out a long and deep sigh as I wake on Monday morning.  I am exhausted – exhausted in my walking with Jesus these past few weeks.  There’s a palpable and growing sense of urgency in His steps and interactions; I should say, that is what I am feeling, but there’s, amazingly, no evidence of it in His physicality.  He seems to carry on as though He requires no sleep. Whereas I am ravenous from the pace we’ve been keeping, He seems nourished by an altogether different “bread;” His thirst quenched by a deeper well-spring.  Since I began following, I have always observed a strong sense of purpose in Jesus, but something is different now.  It seems as though He’s trying to tell us all something, but I’m not quite getting it yet.

Yesterday was quite a day.  I have never seen the city like that. Something is obviously going on, and I wonder how we’ll find it today.  Jesus told us He’d be leaving early for the walk back to Jerusalem, so I’d better get up and get myself ready.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to have followed Jesus?  I’m not talking about the incredible experience we have now to study His life and to walk and love as He did.  I am talking about actually waking up and hearing the One who spoke creation into existence say “good morning” to you, to eat with Him, watch Him heal someone, talk to Him as you walked together, to experience Him as a flesh and blood friend.  This is the context in which the disciples experienced Jesus.  To understand them is to understand that critical truth.  We live His example having read the last sentence of the last chapter already.  They were living the story even before it was written.

And so begins Monday and their early morning walk to Jerusalem.  Not far along the road, Jesus pauses and changes course.  He leaves the road in the direction of a far off fig tree.  Mark says “Jesus was hungry,” (Mark 11:12b) and heads off towards the tree to get a bit of breakfast … or did He?  The disciples must have been a bit confused by this diversion.  It wasn’t fig season, what was Jesus doing?  In a flurry of actions and words that must have been insanely difficult for the disciples to process, Jesus inspects the fig tree, curses it and walks off.  What?!!  “What in the world just happened?” I can hear the disciples saying.  I can see them exchanging awkward glances, maybe whispering to each other, “What was that all about?”

Once again, we have the benefit of looking backward at the fig tree.  We arrive at it first seeing resurrection, then Jesus’ death, then His praying in the garden, and so on until we reach the fig tree.  But put yourself in the place of the disciples.  They are walking forward in this journey with Jesus.  As many times as we can look at them through our lens and judge them for their arrogance, weakness or failure to grasp the obvious, that many times we can see ourselves doing the very same things in our right now.  How many times has Jesus asked us to get out of the boat and trust Him?  How many times have we taken credit for something that was obviously His doing?  How many times have we pretended like we “don’t even know the man!”? (Matt. 26:72 NLT)

Let’s thank God for the truth Jesus taught on this particular Monday in both the interaction with the fig tree and cleaning house at the temple.  Let’s give some grace to the disciples and acknowledge God’s grace in our own lives (when we don’t get the obvious truths He’s trying to teach us through the people and activity of our everyday lives).  In cursing the fig tree and driving the profiteers out of the temple, Jesus judges and then executes the sentence on things which give “the appearance of.”  He desires for our lives to be inwardly what they “say” outwardly.  “Don’t be a believer deceiver,” I can hear Him say.  “Do not peddle a ‘faith’ that you yourself are not living.”

Thank you for making the choice to walk forward in the story, to walk the road from Bethany to Jerusalem in the sandals of the disciples.  Tomorrow’s parables and kingdom stories belong to tomorrow.  Stay present in today.


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