Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: OVERLOAD (10/06/16)
TITLE: Was it All Too Much?
By Noel Mitaxa
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My brother Jim and I grabbed it with both hands at first, along with our good friend Simon. In fact, we were closer to our Teacher than the others. So close that one day when we went mountain climbing, we watched him meet up with Moses and Elijah in a swirl of dazzling light!(1)
It was all too much for Simon. Gifted with the ability to speak twice before thinking, he offered to build a shelter for each of them. We’ve occasionally ribbed him since, about how he could have possibly improved on Moses’ and Elijah’s accommodation for the previous hundreds of years…
A wry smile has always been his only response.
Looking back, we surely fell for the trap of loading ourselves with more status than we should, but we felt time was short. We even asked the Teacher about securing front-row seats(2) when his Kingdom came to completion, but he demurred. And when a Samaritan hick-town rejected us, we were sure that divine fire was our best option.(3) A wry smile packaged his reply as he slowly shook his head, “Ooh Boanerges,(4) you Thunder Twins!”
No fire arrived.
He taught us and showed us right from wrong. But you can’t be too careful―like he said, “Anyone who isn’t for me is against me!”(5) The devil was everywhere, and we know he couldn’t be trusted; so when we saw some fellow trying to cast out demons in Jesus’ name we stopped him. He wasn’t part of our team, so who knew where he was coming from?
We’d never heard of him, but Jesus said "Don't stop him! Anyone who is not against you is for you."(6)
Three and a half years of seeing lepers healed, blind people seeing; cripples walking; and able-bodied people finding release from the past in the freedom of his acceptance and forgiveness. All more than we could have ever expected―and over so quickly.
We thought it was over when the momentum of religious hatred laid siege to him on the Passover weekend in Jerusalem; a siege that led to his being brutally crucified like a common crook. Yet even as he heard his own impending death knell, he was telling us not to fear, for he had something for us―and for the whole world―on the other side of his agony.
But grief overloaded our thoughts.
Until we saw him again. And again. And again, for almost seven weeks. Individually, together and once to over five hundred of us!(7)
Then, at Pentecost―to mark fifty days after the Passover when Moses was given the Law―he returned; to reproduce his nature and re-activate his ministry through his Holy Spirit within us. We were overloaded with languages we’d never known, and pilgrims from all over the Empire heard God’s promise in the intimacy of their own native tongue.
For over sixty years since then, I’ve seen and learned of churches taking root everywhere as people have discovered a personal knowledge of Jesus as Lord, and grown together as bodies of believers who keep opening his ministry to anyone who will listen.
Even enemies and persecutors have come into our beautiful forever family. We’re none of us perfect, but we are God’s children by his grace. And the best is yet to be.(8)
Now, exiled on Patmos Island because the Way is an illegal religion, I’ve been privileged to see time unravelling in an overwhelming revelation of what God is yet to do.
I see our Galilean revolution completely replacing a guilt-laden system of sacrifices; and when here in earth people will call their pet dogs Caesar or Nero―and their sons Peter or Paul - or maybe even John…
And ultimately to see that moment when God wraps up the whole of human history with a new heaven and a new earth.(9) In his own time. Not when maniacs send fanatics on suicide missions that cloak their hatred with flimsy religious veils.
Then to be privileged to see the invisible; to hear the unutterable and to touch the intangible. A sensory overload – yet wrapped in multiple dimensions of barely-describable grace and fear-dissolving love,(10) as we enjoy his presence and serve him forever.
Was it all too much? No way, for the best is yet to be…
1 Matt 17: 1-9 2 Mark 10: 3 -7 3 Luke 9:54 4 Mark 3:17` 5 Matt 12:30 6 Luke 9:49-50 7 1 Cor 15:6 8 1 John 3:3 9 Rev 21:1 10 1 John 4:18
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