understanding God’s ways

Why God relates to us differently

Then Jesus asked them, “When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?” “Nothing,” they answered. He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” Luke 22:35-36 (NIV)

This is a curious passage of scripture, one which could make someone who is familiar with the nature and teaching of Jesus to do a double take. What in the world is Jesus talking about here?

This advice seems contrary to everything we know about Jesus from both His teachings and His dealings with His disciples. It appears to contradict His many exhortations to faith in God’s provision and to trust in God’s protection. The very idea of now being told to essentially lookout for oneself after the comfort of experiencing God’s miraculous interventions seems ludicrous.

But the reality is, Jesus’ manner in relating to His disciples is about to change. He is preparing them for His impending arrest, crucifixion and death. In the next breath He tells them: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me.’” (vs. 37)

This change in the rules of the game ushered in a very difficult time for the disciples. No one suffered more than poor Peter. First he took Jesus’ advice about the sword too literally. At Jesus’ arrest he overstepped the will of the Lord and wielding his sword cut off a man’s ear. Jesus had to rebuke him saying “No more of this!” and healed the man. Then Peter ended up denying Christ three times and going out into the night weeping bitterly. (vs. 47-62)

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The counter intuitive ways of God

I slept in a separate bedroom from my wife last night. No we didn’t have a fight. I am still in radioactive isolation. (See yesterday’s blog Watchout! I’m radioactive!) This was a first. Never in over 40 years of marriage have we slept in separate bedrooms under the same roof. That my friend, is a testimony to the grace of God in being the reconciler in our marriage, and not to any merit of mine.

This whole cancer thing has driven home to me like nothing before the counter intuitive ways of God. (Isaiah 55:9) See If life is short, how should I live? and Do not waste your troubles. God’s economy is the opposite of the world’s. He turns foolishness into wisdom, weakness into strength and what others despise into a treasure. (1 Corinthians 1:25-29)

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