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God Uses Unlikely People in Unlikely Places

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by Ed Cyzewski

Editor's Note: This morning author and high calling blogger Ed Cyzewski brings us a Lenten meditation on Mark 1: 12-20. This is a continuation of last week's meditation on Mark 1:1-8.

At the start of his ministry, Jesus took two very significant steps that may have been hard for his audience to understand. First, he traveled into the wilderness by himself, and second, he chose a group of simple fishermen to be his disciples. Who would have expected the Messiah, who was supposed to restore God’s rule over Israel, to take such a course of action?

He had the power of God at his disposal, so why didn’t he confront the Romans or the corruption in the temple? In addition, why didn’t he choose more learned men to be his disciples?

Wilderness Wanderings

Jesus seemed to be making two strong statements by setting off into the wilderness. For starters, he rooted his ministry solely in the power and authority that comes from God, not in the authority of any religious leaders. God alone gave him the strength to resist temptation in the wilderness. Such would continue to be the case in the rest of his ministry.

Jesus also continued to identify with the people of Israel through his own wilderness wanderings. By returning from the wilderness Jesus acted out the narrative of the end of exile and the return of God to his people. For those steeped in the Old Testament, the symbolism of Jesus’ actions must have shouted loud and clear that something significant was about to happen.

An Unlikely Group

With so much anticipation building, Jesus started his ministry by selecting a few simple fishermen as his disciples so they could learn from him and reach out to others. Right from the start the ministry of Jesus did not revolve around Jesus alone, but around his disciples who would learn from him and continue to reach out.

Throughout his ministry Jesus turned a lot of his work over to the disciples such as baptizing, preaching, and healing. Jesus ministered in the power of God, but also shared that ministry with his newly chosen disciples.

God is not only able to sustain his people in the wilderness, but he uses even the most unlikely people to bring his Kingdom to earth.

As we consider the challenges before us this year and struggle with our limited experience and resources, let’s take time during this season of Lent to go into the wilderness, to seek the strength of God, and to trust that he is able to sustain us and to use us for his work.

Image by E L K of Red or Gray, used with permission.

Post by Ed Cyzewski. Check out Ed's book Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life

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