An Invitation to Knowing Jesus BetterDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Then he asked them, “But who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah.”
About ten months ago, I shared a Daily Reflection with the title: "Jesus the Confusing Messiah." I talked about how Peter, one of Jesus' most intimate friends and followers, rightly confessed that Jesus was the messiah, but then promptly messed up the meaning of his messiahship. In fact, Peter got it so wrong that Jesus said to him, "Get away from me, Satan!" (Mark 8:33). Ouch! That is something I never want to hear from my Lord.
But I don't look down on Peter as a fool. Neither did Jesus, for that matter, since he ultimately upheld Peter as a leader among his followers. Peter was confused by Jesus because Jesus was confusing. And, I daresay, he still is. If you really think you have Jesus all figured out, if you can read through the gospels and understand everything Jesus did and said, then you're a better Christian than I am. (Actually, though, I think you're over-estimating your powers of understanding a wee bit.)
But I don't think we need to throw up our hands in defeat and give up on trying to understand Jesus and his ministry. Yes, he did and said things that are confusing. But if we pay close attention to what he did and said and if we understand these things in the context of Jesus' own time and culture and, crucially, if we see Jesus in light of the Old Testament, then I believe we can come to know Jesus more truly and more intimately. I expect there will still be things about him that perplex us. But it is possible to know Jesus better through a careful study of the gospels, with help from the Holy Spirit, as we study in the community of Jesus' followers.
For the next eight weeks, my weekday reflections will focus on the latter half of the Gospel of Mark. I'll be picking up from where I left off ten months ago. If you've been receiving the Daily Reflections for a while, you know that I'm entering my summer mode. For a couple of months each summer, I take a break from writing new reflections and put up edited versions of reflections I wrote in the past. If you've been reading the Daily Reflections since 2009, you may remember our devotional walk through the Gospel of Mark. I hope you'll agree with me that, five years later, it's worth another tour through Mark.
My prayer for you is that as you work through the latter half of Mark, you will come to know Jesus better. As you do, may you grow in love for him and in an understanding of how you can live each day as his disciple.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: What about Jesus do you find confusing? When you're perplexed about something Jesus said or did, what do you do? Would you like to know Jesus better?
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I would like to know you better. In one way or another, I've been studying you for over fifty years, and I still feel as if there is so much I don't quite understand. So help me, I pray, as I take a prayerful walk through the second half of Mark's gospel. Show me things I have missed before. Open my mind and heart to a deeper understanding of you, so that I might love you more completely and follow you more nearly. Amen.
Risk and Reward
Early in every working life, a special transition occurs before you know how to avoid mistakes, yet after you’ve made them. Like when you first rode a bike without training wheels. You knew enough to be confident, yet too little to avoid losing skin from your knee. The transition is special because it marks a movement from novice to know-how, from apprenticeship to autonomy. Or, as we might say, from young to young professional.
The High Calling recognizes that everyone—moms, accountants, geologists—need vocational growth, so we share past experiences and tell lessons from the future. But what about the early days when we simply got out there and did it?
In the series, Risk and Reward, we ask, “How did I learn so much in so little time?” Join us and be inspired all over again.
Featured image above by Mendhak. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.