There is so much distrust in the world. No one is given the benefit of the doubt. Intentions are selfish until proven otherwise. Everybody seems to be out for themselves. Everyone has an agenda.
This same level of distrust exists in the church as it seems to be in many institutions and organizations. People don’t trust their leaders. Leaders don’t trust their people. Evangelicals don’t trust Progressives. Progressives don’t trust Evangelicals. No one trusts the Moderates. Country churches distrust city churches. Small churches distrust larger churches.
Everyone’s motives are questionable, personal and surely not the will of God.
“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” John 13:34-35 (CEB)
Can love exist outside of trust? Can love exist inside of distrust?
Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to give Jesus up to them. When they heard it, they were delighted and promised to give him money. So he started looking for an opportunity to turn him in. Mark 14:10-11 (CEB)
JUDAS THE BETRAYER
Why would Jesus invite Judas to be his disciple knowing of his future betrayal? Because Judas always had the option of not betraying Jesus. He could experience Jesus’ love and come to understand what Jesus was trying to do for the Kingdom of God.
Conflict In the Church
“Wherever two or more are gathered in my Name, I am there also.”
Often times this verse is used outside of its context. It is usually applied to validate worshipping together. However that is not the situation Jesus is talking about when and where he acknowledges God’s presence is manifest.
Verse twenty is an assurance given by Jesus to those who are in conflict with each other, those brothers and sisters who feel “sinned against.”
Before he reassures us, Jesus lays out a step by step method on how to interact with one another in struggle.
- Go directly to the person
- IF there is still conflict, bring along fellow believers.
- If that fails to resolve anything bring the matter before the whole church.
- If the issue persists, let go of that person’s sin.
- Know that God is with you from the beginning.
There are several assumptions this plan of Jesus’ makes.
- Conflict in the church will happen. Believers will hurt one another.
- People must approach one another with love.
- A reminder that we are not solitary beings but social creatures.
- Forgiveness can come even if you don’t get the apology you want.
- God is with us in the pain.
In the coming weeks let us guard in our hearts this message of reconciliation and love.
Dear God, while we may argue with one another, let us do so with positive affirmation and not from a place of hurt and competition. We are a community of people, each enmeshed with one another in a fabric woven by God. Even if we cannot reconcile our difference, we can still acknowledge the faith of one another and sit down to a meal together. And, God, thank you for being with us in the midst of conflict. Let us not forget to behave accordingly with grace and love. Amen.
We are the church. Jesus promises to be with us no matter what.
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
In the gospel of Mark, the seven days of Holy Week are full of intrigue and suspense, political theater and cover operations. The path to the resurrection is not a simple one. It is sought after and prepared for by Jesus and His disciples. It is executed with stealth at times and cunning at other times.
Everything Jesus does during Holy Week points Him in the direction of the cross. Yet he does not hesitate to teach, call out, condemn and prophesize on matters that anger the power elites and amaze those who hear Him.
Mark’s Jesus drives the money changers out of the temple. He teaches against the leading religious authorities. Under cover of darkness he participates in the Passover meal transforming it into a remembrance of him.
Only once does he waver on his path in the place called Gethsemane. Yet still in the end, He fulfills God’s plan.
What will we do this Holy Week? Do we have a path to the resurrection? Are we remaining true to it? Are we being deliberate about it as Jesus was to His? If not, how can we try to do so?
Dear God show us Your path to our resurrection. We know that along the way we may pass through the cross, but we are faithful to believe that You are there with us through Jesus Christ. Amen.