Disinformation is using lies to convince someone of untruth. Jesus never did that. Instead, the parables containing his message hid the truth from all except those who were able to hear it. These were not clever stories that appealed to the masses, or home spun fables aimed at amusing the common man where he was at. Instead, the use of parables, according to Jesus own words in Mark 4:10-12 was a form of judgement. He was fulfilling prophesy. He was proving that the crowd was there for the wrong reason. On the surface the messages had little substance. Jesus wasn’t telling the people anything they didn’t already know. The majority left confused no doubt, if not seriously disappointed. It’s only speculation, but I image Jesus completing his message, patiently waiting for anyone who wanted to be healed, serving them with absolute love and compassion, and occasionally identifying someone who embraced him as more than a healer. Among the very few who were willing to do his will (Mark 3:35), he freely explained in clear language what it all meant. Jesus didn’t intentionally confuse. There was no disinformation. He spoke simple truths that broadcast messages a few where equipped by the Father to recieve.
Most of us are familiar with the fruitful ministry of John Piper and Desiring God. He is passionate about finding his true and abiding joy in the supremacy of Christ. It raises an interesting question though. What about God desiring us? Is there any room in our theology for that? I’m not talking about the false teaching that there is something inherently good in us worth saving, or that we deserve grace. This is not about man centered, self-esteem boosting happy talk. However, one of the undeniable facts surrounding the selection of the Twelve was that Jesus picked the ones he wanted. Mark says he “…called to him those whom he desired” (Mark 3:13). This was a gracious calling. This is not a call for volunteers, but rather an invitation to individuals, specifically individuals who were selected by God. On this level Jesus did desire these men. He wasn’t looking for just any twelve, but these twelve. Obviously desiring God is the only way we will be satisfied and truly glorify him. Clearly we cannot draw application from this that we are inherently desirable. But isn’t it great that we can desire him because he first desired us?
Jesus spent time alone before selecting the Apostles (Mark 3:13). Luke adds that he prayed all night. This was one of the most important events in his earthly ministry because it signaled a shift of focus. Up until now his emphasis was teaching the crowds. Now he would focus on teaching the few. Until now he had done the work and the ministry himself. Now he would work through the few and give them authority to do the work themselves. These appear on the surface to be minor adjustments, but they weren’t. In fact, it is the beginning of new paradigm that continues to this day. God doesn’t need us to do his work, but he lets us. When you see a “Help Wanted” sign it really signals a need. In the case of the Apostles Jesus wants, desires, and enjoys witnessing their help. That is not the same as needing it.
Jesus was a man in every sense of the word. The only difference is that he couldn’t sin. As a man he was occasionally and strategically drawn away from the intensity of ministry to somewhere he could be alone with the Father. He escaped the polar extremes of popularity. On the one hand his fame had led a group to plot his murder. On the other hand his fame had led a crowd to relentlessly pursue him for healing and exorcism. As a result, Jesus sought moments of solitude. It’s very interesting to me that he does not model rest as idle recreation. Instead rest is mingled with worship. Rest is worship, and worship is rest. When Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea (Mark 3:7) it was for the purpose of mingling rest with instruction. He carried the full weight of his humanity, but never compromised his mission to do the will of the Father in all things. Perhaps we need to rethink rest. Maybe idleness isn’t that rewarding.
Evidently Forbes magazine has arrived at a disturbing conclusion. According to this article Americans will consume approximately 150 million hotdogs on July 4th. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, consider reading this blog post by Trevin Wax. It won’t fill your stomach, but it will likely help you steer those inevitable Gay Marriage discussions in a direction that actually honors God. I like it because it is short, clear, biblical, sensible, and saves me the effort of having to write one myself.
“Christians believe marriage is defined by God and recognized by government. But many today believe marriage is defined by government and must be recognized by all.”
“In our churches, we have the opportunity to show the world a better way. To show the world what biblical manhood and womanhood looks like. To show the world the difference between a covenant and a contract. To show the world the difference between commitment based on feeling and a covenant based on faith. The absence of a marriage culture will make biblical marriage stand out all the more. We’ll be ordinary oddballs. So let’s not waste the opportunity.”
Happy 4th (from a grateful immigrant)