Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fellowship of Ignorance?

Hey, all. I found a most encouraging verse.

Well, okay, it's not a whole verse. 

It's a sentence in the middle of a passage.

I came across it as I read through the portion of John titled The Triumphal Entry.

Stay with me.

I think you'll be encouraged too.

Let's join the disciples on the day after the dinner party held to honor Jesus.

The crowd that was following Jesus discovered He was headed to Jerusalem. They grabbed palm branches and went out to hail His arrival. 

The recorded words these New Testament people yelled are significant.

They called out a Hebrew word that means to save, "Hosanna."

They called out an identifying phrase from Psalms, God’s ambassador.

They called out the title and role they believed He carried, “King of Israel.”

The noisy throng was clearly making the connection between the Old Testament Messiah and the New Testament Savior. They may have built their expectations for Christ’s behavior on faulty assumptions, but their conclusions about His identity were sound. 

So here’s the thing.

How come all the Old Testament hints and clues fulfilled by Christ's words and deeds were enough to convince the Christ's casual followers . . . yet the Disciples, those who had traveled with Jesus Himself, were still confused? 

John reports that the very ones whom we might expect to reach the proper conclusions about Christ’s identity and purpose "did not understand all this".

Some people might have difficulty accepting that the 12 were still puzzled, but that's what the the God-breathed words say. A crowd of average people recognized Christ’s divinity and kingship while His closest followers remained perplexed.

How could that be?

Well, I get it. 

And I'm thankful for that one short sentence in this detailed account.

You see, it seems I walk around confounded by what's going on in my life a good bit of the time. Circumstances surround me like a fog and I wonder if God can see me. I can't make out the way ahead and I waver between sitting down and moving my feet.

There are stretches where I feel I'm slogging along in mud while the deeper things of the faith are beyond my grasp. I begin to wonder if I’ve made any progress at all in my pilgrim walk. 

Sometimes I struggle to understand a biblical concept or apply a godly principle to my every day life. It’s not that easy to challenge faulty assumptions and change old habits in the light of Truth. 

That's why I am rejoicing over the confusion that grabbed Christ's Disciples.

The 12 talked and travelled with the Shepherd of the Sheep and even at the point where He was entering Jerusalem they were ignorant about who He really was and is. Even though some of them voiced their faith earlier, their understanding still didn't match that of those who had much less direct and personal contact with Messiah, the Savior.

As I paused over this impression I began to feel a certain kinship with those guys. They obviously had adequate evidence to recognize the heaven-rich personhood of Jesus and walk with confidence in His Name. But they held back and stood on the sidelines in uncertainty.

I'm encouraged by that reality because it says that it might take time for others whom God calls to process information too - even ME. This fellowship of ignorance means it’s okay when my brain or heart are stumped by biblical Truth. Our shared experience in weakness reminds me I’m just as human as the 12 were on that particular day. 

It comes to me that God's acceptance is not based on whether or not I know everything about Him at any given moment. I ponder that God's expectation is not that I will comprehend and apply every biblical mandate and principle into my life instantly and fully. I begin to consider that God's love may envelope me even in my imperfection. O the joy unspeakable.

And more encouragement follows.

John goes on to report that, after the glorification, the Disciples came to understand the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies in the coming of the Christ. God didn't leave them in their ignorance. When the time was right He opened their hearts and minds to receive the richness of His Truth.

Since God is "the faithful God" and "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever", I can wait in assurance that He will grant me the wisdom I need in His perfect time. I will move from the fellowship of ignorance into the fellowship of knowledge by His Almighty Loving Hand. Hallelujah. 
(Deuteronomy 7:9; Hebrews 13:8)
Where are you?

Are you wondering about your progress on the journey to Jerusalem?

Are you using your less than perfect performance and / or imperfect self to kick off a pity party?

Put away the violins. 

God is in control of every detail and He meets every deadline. 

Let’s choose to rest in His arms TODAY. 

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the Feast heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, 

“Hosanna!”  [Hebrew for “Save!”]

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” [Psalm 118:25, 26]

“Blessed is the King of Israel!” 

Jesus found a young donkey and sat upon it, as it is written, 

“Do not be afraid, O Daughter of Zion;
see your king is coming,
seated on a donkey’s colt.”  [Zechariah 9:9]

At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that they had done these things to him.”  John 12:12-16

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