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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 020 - No One is Beyond Help, Hope

Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

Mark 2:13,14

If you’re like me, I get frightened to distraction whenever I install new software or apply an update. Do you? I’m so afraid that I’m going to upset something in the balance of the universe. Things were working well, or at least I knew what to expect. But after loading some software, sometimes my calm, orderly technology world spins out of control.

For example, whenever I load or update software, not only do I pray, but I actually read everything before hitting OK, Next, or Update. Do you know why? There are things, options, and defaults that they want to change in my technology universe that will upset the balance of power in my world.

Here are a few examples of the things that the software update wants to do to my laptop or phone.

· Browser – they want switch me to “their” preferred browser.

· Search – they want me to switch to their search engine (yes, there actually are different ones to choose from.)

· Protection – they want to install another antivirus, malware, identity protection solution on top of the one I already pay for and use.

What they are trying to do is to change the way I use my computer and phone. They are trying to change my daily habits, the way I do things. They want to change my “defaults,” the way I do things without even thinking.

What are the things that you do, think, expect, or say, almost without thinking? These are what I call your “defaults” of life. What are the things we expect, even demand, to be happy? Fulfilled? Content?

And as Jesus is beside the lake, people come to him. He must have had the most magnetic personality ever. And when they come, Jesus doesn’t react by retreating, or making people follow him only on social media. No, Jesus personally interacts with them. He teaches them.

For Jesus, when faced with a crowd, he defaults to teaching. Teaching, doing the thing that comes naturally when he’s with a crowd. And this time, something happens. Or should I say, someone happens. And that someone is Levi.

As Jesus is walking along, he sees Levi. Now Levi was doing his job, he was a tax collector, the most hated, despised job in the land. He had gone over to the enemy. He was a traitor to his family, his people, his nation, his faith. He was working for Rome. He loved money more than a good name or reputation.

But, did that disqualify Levi? This traitor? Not when it comes to Jesus.

Jesus calls to Levi[1], but doesn’t exactly ask him to follow. It’s more of a command to follow. Yes, Jesus calls to Levi, and Levi has a choice. But Jesus’ calling to follow is not a passive calling. When Jesus calls Levi to follow, it’s not a come if you feel like it, or come when you feel like it. It’s a directive to come. To come and actively follow me starting now, and going into the future.

The call of Jesus to follow doesn’t just ask us to take the afternoon off or put in for a leave of absence. No. The call of Jesus to follow him will shake up our lives. It replaces the dull defaults of life. It opens us up to a whole new way of thinking and living.

Jesus’ call is to start following along with him, and then to continue following him as a habit of life. It’s a call to participation in His companionship, side by side.

I don’t know about you, but I find this idea oh so comforting. You see, Levi wasn't beyond help. He might have felt hopeless, helpless, and incurable on his own. But with the call to follow Jesus, God says in a very loud voice that he is not hopeless, he is not helpless, and he is not incurable.

God’s call to follow Jesus can be thought of as a “side-walk.” Which side are you on? Whose side are you on? Are you on the same side with Jesus? Walking in the same direction? At the same speed?

If not, then this is your chance. Your opportunity to change the course, change the direction, change the destination of your life. He’s calling. You can hear him. He’s calling you to let go of the dead defaults of your life and choose a new life with him.

You’re not beyond help. You’re not beyond hope. You and your life matter to Jesus. Why else would he die for you? For me? For misfits like us? And his resurrection is the absolute proof positive that he changes everything.


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