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Walking Where Jesus Walked

Jan 26, 2014 at 00:04

 

Friends, recently a friend from the majority world asked me for help to make a trip to Israel.  He had sold his motor cycle and pawned his wife's wedding ring but was still $1700 short of the $3,000 he needed for the trip.  He was going with a group that assured him that "walking where Jesus walked" was an experience that would change his life forever.   Really?  My response to his request was four fold: 

Number one, I will not help you or anyone else go to Israel for a "holy land tour" because there are no holy places since the whole earth is the Lord's and the whole earth has been redeemed.  

Secondly, much of the Western Church is based in a consumer mentality with its leadership seeking to provide its members with "good experiences" for them to consume.  They package those experiences in  spiritual terms  but the context is not the Kingdom of God.   The context is the consumer society which functions  to provide pleasurable, entertaining programs and events that consumers will pay to experience.  Those events may be "worship" in a contemporary style with advanced sound systems, expert musicians and motivational speaking, "holy land" trips and even, (might I say?),  short term mission adventure tours.

Thirdly, we are not Moslems with their Mecca, Catholics with St. Peters in Rome, Mormons with their temple in Utah, Hindus with the Ganges River or Jews with their wailing wall.  We are followers of Jesus who celebrate that the Triune God by the Holy Spirit indwells each one of us and makes us His temple.  It is a characteristic of all religions that the presence of god is associated with a place where access to the presence can be controlled for money by a professional priesthood.  The first martyr of the Kingdom of God was killed for declaring that "God no longer dwells in temples made with hands|".   With that declaration the temple priests saw their positions of power and privilege made redundant and reacted murderously.  We do not go to any physical place to find God but declare that He reveals Himself to all men by the Holy Spirit and thus access to His presence cannot be purchased or controlled.

And finally, if you wish to walk where Jesus walked, simply continue what you are doing in serving the least and the last.   Jesus walked among the broken, the outcasts, the prostitutes and lepers.  We serve this same Jesus, who declared that whatever we have done unto the least, we have done unto Him.   This is not about you going to Israel and having a life changing experience.  Your life has already changed in the only way that really matters- you have been taken from the Kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His love.  This is about you changing the lives of the people around you.  You are doing that.  Keep walking with Jesus where you are.  The Kingdom context is simple and often costly obedience  for the benefit of others.  

This friend agreed with my counsel, bought back his motorcycle, redeemed his wife's wedding band and continues to walk where Jesus walked.  

It is a privilege  to walk with such a brother.

Your friends

Steve & Marilyn

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