Scripture: John 7:1-13
Key verse: (6) “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.”
Reflection: Last month I took a mini “stay-cation.” On Sunday, we had the opportunity to worship at The Park, and hear Bishop Claude Alexander preach. His sermon was on Judges 5 — no doubt a favorite passage for many.☺ It was the story about Barak and Deborah being called to battle Sisera and his army. Some of the tribes of Israel joined the fight, others did not. His sermon was part of a series on leadership. Part of his message dealt with the fact that when you lead, not everyone will follow, as evidenced by the tribes that did not follow Deborah and Barak. But his key message was that ultimately it’s not about who is following you, but rather, who is leading you. God was leading Deborah and Barak, and so they achieved victory. Who followed them in that was ultimately not the critical question.
I thought of Bishop Alexander’s sermon in reading John 7. It’s a passage filled with opinions about Jesus; about who he is, where he should go, what he should do. Some think he’s the Messiah, others don’t. Some support him, others are trying to kill him. If Jesus led by opinion polls, if he led on the basis of how many people were following him, he would have suffered paralysis by analysis. But Jesus is not concerned with who is following him. He’s focused on who is leading him — the One who sent him, as the passage puts it. He’s focused on accomplishing what God has given him to accomplish. He has clarity about who he is called to be and what he is called to do. Therefore, what the crowds or the religious leaders or his brothers are doing will not distract him from his purpose.
In the midst of the decisions you have to make today, what would it mean to not be ultimately concerned with who is following you, but rather with who is leading you? What would it mean to follow Christ in everything you do; to follow the way that is the truth about life we see in Him? What would it mean to make your decisions in the way of truth, the way of justice, the way of mercy, and the way of love? Ultimately, that’s what really matters.
Prayer: Lead me, O Lord, in the way you would have me go today. Amen.
Author: Joe Clifford
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].