In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, protests and riots, I’ve been acutely aware that things are not all as they seem. I’m not saying that any of that is not real, but there is another level of activity going on in the spiritual realm.
If we’re not careful, we’ll miss it.
During the shutdown, there was a series released online and through an app that has made me do a lot of thinking. It’s called The Chosen. I’ve watched it, bought the t-shirt, DVDs and devotional book. Why? Because it makes me really reflect on the lives of the people who saw Jesus when he walked this earth, and through this fictionalize backstory, I’m reminded of how their lives and world was turned upside down by this Carpenter King.
The t-shirt I bought has the best line (for me) so far. Jesus says it to Simon, when he’s questioned for the umpteenth time why he did something a certain way, or in other words, why he didn’t do it the way a Jewish rabbi would be expected to. Jesus says:
Get used to different.
You see, Simon had his own expectations about the Messiah. I have my own ideas too, about how God works or should work in my world. But our God has never fit into a box or allowed himself to be limited by man’s ideas.
Way, way back in Exodus, when Moses was just beginning to lead the people from Egypt through the desert, God told him:
I am making a covenant with you. Before all your people I will do wonders never before done in any nation in all the world. The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you.*
God didn’t allow Abraham to settle, he had Moses build a tent for him, and he didn’t even really want a solid structure built for his Name. Jesus shared the reason thousands of years later with a Samaritan woman: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”*
God didn’t fit in a box then, and he doesn’t now. However, if the events of 2020 have taught you anything, I pray it’s teaching you that you’ve become too set in your ways. I know I have. God’s got a message for us:
Get ready for different.
That about sums up the year 2020, doesn’t it? While the answer can be “yes” to that, I don’t think it’s what God is really saying. Just like Jesus shook Simon’s world and concept of God and religious life 2000 years ago, he’s the same Messiah who’s shaking our world and telling us to reexamine everything you think you knew about what it means to live a Christ-centered life.
- Can you live for Christ when he’s taken away the building you worship in?
- Can you live for Christ when people attack you for anything you might say on social media?
- Can you live for Christ when your family is divided over politics?
- Can you live for Christ when you lose your job or your health?
- Can you live for Christ among diverse peoples, strange cultures, or even antagonistic authorities?
Jesus told Simon to leave his nets, his source of income, his family to become a fisher of men. That first step of obedience was only the beginning of how Simon would change and begin to live a radically different life.
It wasn’t just any kind of different, but different for Christ.
Are you ready for different? You better be, because it’s here!
If you’re confident in stepping out in faith with Jesus, then get ready for the awesome work he’ll do — for you!
Grace and Peace
*Exodus 34:10 (NIV)