Following Jesus in Teaching

Following Jesus in Teaching

This Lent we’re following Jesus.  We’re following him by getting close to him:  carefully listening to the stories about what he did, imagining we were there with him.  Then, we’re following the example we’ve seen – putting his actions into our everyday lives. Today, we follow Jesus as he teaches. A few of you brave souls are living into this part of Jesus’ example by your profession.  You prepare lessons and head into a classroom full of students every day.  And some of you brave souls are teachers by volunteerism:  you come to a classroom full of students here at church once a week.  The rest of us don’t carry the official title, but that doesn’t mean we’re not teachers, too.  Teaching is the act of helping someone else learn something, and that’s something we all do. We teach our children how to walk and talk and use a Kleenex instead of picking their noses.  We teach our friends about the book we just read; we teach our relatives about great-grandma’s chicken casserole; we teach our buddy a new grip to try for his golf swing; we teach our coworkers about a shortcut to the office.  As we gain information, we want to share it – especially the information we find most important. Yes, we are all teachers.  Whether or not we are effective teachers – that is debatable. I bet you’ve been on the receiving end of some ineffective “teaching” moments.  Like: …you’re not in a classroom, but you’re being lectured as though you were a student… …you know you’re right but you’re being told you’re wrong anyway…...

Following Jesus in Healing

During this season of Lent, we are following Christ. Well, we should always be following Christ:  following him by staying close to him, and following him by following his example.  In the first century the disciples did this by walking with Jesus, seeing what he did, and then mimicking his behaviors.  Here in the twenty-first century we can’t literally follow Jesus around, so we do it by reading about him through Scripture and experiencing him through the Holy Spirit.  Then, like good disciples, we can mimic the behaviors we’ve “seen.” This Lent we at Andrews UMC are taking our role as followers of Christ very seriously.  We’re following Jesus through a careful look at the things he frequently did and we’re discovering ways to mimic those behaviors. On this second Sunday of Lent we look at something Jesus did a lot: Healing. Wanna see for yourself?  Open up the gospel of Mark.  You’ll find the first healing at 1:21, then another starting at 1:29, and others at 1:32, and 1:40, and 2:1… I think you get the drift. Today we follow Jesus as he heals a leper and a paralytic.  We watch closely to see what he did… so we can act similarly. First, Mark 1:40 – 45:  Jesus heals a leper.  A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”  Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!”  Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.  After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to...
Following Jesus in Prayer

Following Jesus in Prayer

Mark 1:35-39 “Follow me.” That’s how Jesus invites people to be his disciples.  Open up a gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) and you’ll see Jesus asking people to “follow me” all over the place.  That’s why we Christians also call ourselves “followers of Christ.” But Jesus wasn’t the first one to ask his disciples to “follow me.” This expression was in common use in the first century Jewish world.  Rob Bell has explained it like this:  Rabbis were teachers who took on a large part of the male Jewish population as students, starting at a young age.  As those students grew older, some would be weeded out; only the best would continue their studies until the age of 13 or 14.  At that point, just the cream of the crop would be left – and those exemplary students would seek to become a “disciple” of a rabbi.  A young man would present himself to a rabbi and say, “I want to follow you.”  And if the young man passed mustard, the rabbi would invite him: “Come, follow me.” And it was a very literal invitation. The rabbi’s disciples followed him everywhere.  Through the streets, into the synagogue, into homes – everywhere.  A good disciple would aim to follow his rabbi so closely, Bell says, that he’d be covered with the dust that the rabbi kicked up while walking.  All this close-following had a purpose:  to see and mimic everything the rabbi did. So when Jesus invites his disciples to “follow me,” it’s with that same intention:  follow and mimic.  And for us, as well:  follow and mimic. This...
Shine

Shine

Exodus 34:29-35 “Moses came down from Mount Sinai” (Exod 34:29). This sentence sounds like an everyday thing… at least where I live.  Here in far-western North Carolina we talk about how someone went “down the mountain” from Nantahala into Andrews, just like we say we went “up to Happy Top” when we go to the neighborhood on the upper end of town, or that we went “through the gorge” when we travel through the Ocoee to Chattanooga.  These opening words look much the same:  Moses is simply going “down the mountain” from Mount Sinai to the Israelite camp. But this isn’t simple.  This is far from everyday. Moses wasn’t just coming down from a mountain – he was coming down from an experience with God.  When Moses was up on Mount Sinai, God spoke to him “face to face,” “like a friend” (Exod 33:11).  Moses even got a rare glimpse of God’s glory (Exod 33:22-23).  Sure, it was just a glimpse; but that’s more than my two eyes have ever seen. Moses’ descent isn’t so much topographical as it is spiritual.  Moses is returning after a close encounter with our Creator God. And it shows. “Moses came down from Mount Sinai. As he came down from the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant in his hand, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Exod 34:29). Moses has a very important delivery for the Israelites:  the “two tablets of the covenant,” i.e., the Ten Commandments.  This would be special, anyway, but this is actually the second time Moses...