God’s choices

Judges 4:17-23
The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful drama. It isn’t a single event.

What we celebrate on Easter morning is one aspect–albeit an important one–of the story of God. Pastors like me try to emphasize to our congregations all the events of Holy Week. Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and even Holy Saturday play into the full story. You could, of course, go beyond that. What Jesus taught and how he lived connected us to God’s story that begins in Genesis. The drama didn’t end after Jesus’ ascension either. We became a part of the unfolding will of God.

For today, though, let’s focus on the Good Friday-Resurrection Sunday connection. We cannot separate Jesus’ resurrection from his death. It isn’t resurrection without dying. While we celebrate the resurrection, the cross shows us the dramatic tension of our faith.

The risen Savior is also the crucified Savior. To be sure, no one took his life. Jesus gave his life (John 10:18). In humility and service, the King of Kings demonstrated his rule. No one else does that. Kings take their power. They lord their authority and domineer their agendas over others. But Christ came as a paschal lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7).

Many people want to puff up Jesus’ image. For them, he is the gun-toting, muscle-bound, militant. The Bible, however, doesn’t lead us there. Jesus is still the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29).

The way in which God works has long baffled us. We know people look at outer appearances, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). God often chooses the people you and I would rather ignore. Moses wouldn’t have been eloquent enough for us. Gideon would not have been important enough. Peter would have irritated us.

Then there’s the story of Jael. Whoah!

She was the woman who defeated Israel’s enemy Sisera. We’re left with a lot of questions when we read about her. She offers a few uncomfortable moments for some of us. We remember her because she rammed a peg into Sisera’s temple. Her violent and deadly act offends some of our modern sensibilities. While scripture affirms her heroic action, we have to grant she broke some rules. There’s even an idea Jael used sex to tire out Sisera so she could kill him.

Again, there are several objections some of us might have about this story. But Jael is still who God used to bring about a victory for God’s people.

And we’re left to reflect on God’s choices. God has a willingness to choose the people and methods we would never dream of for God’s glory. That is altogether scary and exciting. For today, let’s consider how what we know about God’s choices shape our ministries? What do they mean for the kinds of priorities we set? Also, how do we decide which lines we need to cross? In what ways does God’s vision help us see each other better?

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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