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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 179 - You First

Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

Mark 11:29,30

We put God on the spot so many times. We want him to go first. We ask for this. Demand that. Negotiate for him to act. We’ll offer to trade our obedience for his doing what we want. We’re looking for him to do what we think needs to be done.

What’s the latest thing you’ve asked God for? Or, more bluntly, what are your angling to force God to do? In exactly the way you want it done? At the exact time you want it done?

We think that our job is to figure out how to get God in a box, get him in a corner where he has no option other than to do what we’re asking him to. We may try to temp him to follow us, to get him to move in our direction. We might try backing him against a wall, into a corner. In either way, we look at prayer like this.

And when the spiritual leaders try and do this to Jesus, he’s up to the task. He doesn’t feel forced to do anything. He doesn’t let them push him around. He doesn’t let them force him in any way.

You see, Jesus is in control. He’s the one calling the shots. He’s the one with the power and authority. He’s the one that’s in command. So, he turns the tables on them and asks them a simple question.

It’s not a hard question. It’s not a trick question. It’s not multiple choice with lots of different parts. It’s a simple yes/no question. Up or down. Right or left. Heads or tails.

And Jesus’ question isn’t about something unknown. It wasn’t about some small, obscure part of the Bible. It wasn’t about a minor event in their history. As a matter of fact, the question wasn’t even personally directed at them.

The question wasn’t even about who John the baptizer was. It had to do with what John did. What he said. Was it what God wanted him to do, or was it somebody else’s idea? Did John come up with this on his own? Or maybe there was a group of guys behind John, pulling the strings, guiding him.

Was John’s baptism from God or not? It’s that simple guys.

What John had been doing was known to everyone in the area. Even though there’s no record of John ever preaching in a large city, or even in a small town for that matter. What he was doing was common knowledge, known by everyone. It was the talk of the town. It was on everybody’s lips.

He never posted on social media. He never did a live video feed. Never posted a written or audio blog either. They didn’t have to agree with John either.

Yet, what he said, how he said it, struck a nerve on all who heard him. God used this different guy. In a different part of the country. Doing things differently. Saying things differently. Why? To get his message out.

Which brings up the question, how different are we willing to be? Are we ready to step up and do the unusual? Say the unusual to get Gods’ message out and across to people? What are the things we are willing to do for the one who loves us? Saves us? Buys us back from the slave market of sin?

If that weren’t tough enough, there comes the more difficult question. What could be more difficult than being put on the spot to identify what we’d be willing to do for God?

Simple. What are we NOT ready to do for God? What are the things that are not up for negotiation when it comes to walking with God? Where are we most uncomfortable with? What are the things too humiliating or demeaning? What are the places we just can’t and won’t go with and for God?

God’s commitment and love for us is unshakeable. Unmovable. Unrelenting. He’s totally for us. He’s leaning in towards us and into us. We can’t grasp how strongly God is for us. But there’s an even stronger picture of his commitment.

Here it is: Jesus came for us. Period. While we were his enemies, totally against us, Christ took our punishment and paid for it all on the cross. He could’ve stopped short. He could have come to the point of being tired of the pain, suffering, and separation. He could have said, “That’s enough.” But he didn’t. He stayed.

"Well, when Jesus looked down from the cross, he didn't think 'I am giving myself to you because you are so attractive to me.' No, he was in agony, and he looked down at us - denying him, abandoning him, and betraying him - and in the greatest act of love in history, he stayed. He said, 'Father, forgive them, they don't know what they are doing.' He loved us, not because we were lovely to him, but to make us lovely."

Tim Keller

That’s who God is. So, has God pricked your heart? Are you willing to “move the needle” and allow God to move you in new directions? New commitments? New levels of love for him?

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