For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome
From John 1:
The next day having decided to leave for Galilee, Yeshua found Philip and said, “Follow me!” Philip was from Beit – Tzadah (Bethsaida), the town where Andrew and Kefa (Peter) lived. Philip found Natan’el (Nathaniel) and told him, “We’ve found the one that Moshe(Moses) wrote about in the Torah (Scripture), also the Prophets – it’s Yeshua Ben-Yosef from Natzaret! (Nazareth) Natan’el answered him, “Natzaret? Can any good come from there?” “Come and see,” Philip said to him. Yeshua saw Natan’el coming toward him and remarked about him, “Here’s a true son of Isra’el – nothing false in him!” Natan’el said to him, “How do you know me?” Yeshua answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Natan’el said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Isra’el!” Yeshua answered him, ” you believe all this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that!” Then he said to him, “Yes indeed, I tell you that you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man!”
There was an intimacy, a brotherhood in place before Jesus called the men who would be discipled by him. Physical birth created a camaraderie and bond between them . They possessed a simplicity of character and a living force of forward-looking and thinking. Their reactions to Christ are childlike; his persona drew them to him.
Today’s fellowship communities could use some of this childlike approach to brotherhood, sisterhood. This group of Jesus and his disciples have the commonality of birth but also possess personalities that are very different. The same is true of communities today. These characteristics could lead to an intimacy born of the shared knowledge of Christ, not of the sameness of individualistic personalities. The shared goals of the Kingdom could take priority over personal agendas. These men put Christ first, their families adjusted accordingly, their jobs took backseat.
Perhaps there is a lack of understanding of how much members of a community need each other’s support and encouragement. Absence for whatever reason leaves holes in the fabric of the community. The bonds are weak and any who are seeking the support and solace of community are soon disappointed. Today’s groups are a restless people, with little to no genuine commitment to community fellowship. Perhaps the fault of falling away from community worship is not ‘looking at people’ but lack of communal support and care.
When the general, corporate focus shifts to Christ and his teachings, bonds begin to form and the groups become cohesive. These men are in the initial stages of community development but the shared aspects of physical birth and Christ are already creating cohesiveness. Worship of Christ and Him alone, will create this bond. As the worshipers are drawn into collective worship of God, rather than who they are, unity can form and division will lessen. Members begin to lose themselves in Christ and come together under Him. Their differences are minimized as their focus leaves self and moves to God.
Pray – Lord, You are the Most High God, Creator of all and all are created with one purpose; to love and worship you.
Repent – I’m sorry for the way we’ve made worship about who we are rather than about who You are. It’s all about You, o Lord! I repent for the multitudes of times I am subtly drawn away from You to who I am.
Ask – Bring us back to the heart of worship and that is to join David and others in their worship of You, God. I don’t want ‘just another love song,’ I want the opportunity to rise in worship of who You are. Not to us, Adonai, not to us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your grace and truth.
Yes – Praise, Adonai, all you nations! Worship Him, all you peoples! For His grace has overwhelmed us, and Adonai’s truth continues forever. You are my God, and I thank you. Be exalted God, above heaven! May Your glory be over all the earth.
Sources: Psalms and John.