, , , , , , , , ,

I don’t know about you, but . . .

I don’t get why the world has hungry, abused and abandoned children.

I don’t get why people are trafficked and tortured.

I don’t get why greed, pride and hatred run rampant throughout the world.

I don’t get why love prevails in the most difficult of circumstances only to be abandoned where the need is simple and obvious.

So many things I just don’t get. I have even on occasion turned my tear-stained face skyward and cried aloud – “God! I just don’t get it!”

So the other day, my attention was turned to the motley crew traveling with Jesus during his three year ministry on this earth. I quickly realized, there was a great deal they didn’t get either.

Oh, what a task was set before Jesus, as Man. Jesus came to die on the cross for us. He came to earth to pay a debt we could never pay. The debt of our sin. You would think that would be enough. Mission accomplished, but while Jesus was walking the earth as man, He didn’t simply sit on his hands, waiting until those who sought to take His life came for him. He began early in his relatively short life soaking up the Word of God into his human form in preparation for a short three year term as teacher, rabbi, and friend. His goal? To impart the necessary knowledge and revelation to His chosen disciples, apostles and even the fair weather followers that never would get it.

No matter how tired, hungry, dirty and drawn upon Jesus was, He spent his ministry time giving from a spiritual well springing forth from a heavenly Father. Many times Jesus would separate Himself from everyone to be alone with His Father and pray. But His followers? They didn’t get it.

As He taught the people, He taught His Disciples. All the while, He knew His earthly end. He continued to teach anyway. The Disciples? You guessed it. They didn’t get it.

He taught them how to recognize greatness in people the world discards when He said to Simon Peter, “don’t be afraid, from now on, you’ll catch men.”

He taught them how to use what God has given to help someone without tooting your own horn when He told the man with leprosy not to tell anyone who had healed him.

He taught them not to get caught up in the mincing of words when He said to the paralytic “Your sins are forgiven,” rather than “get up and walk”.

He taught them it was okay to reach out to the lost and welcome them into your church when He told them “it is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous (those in right standing) but sinners to repentance.

But they didn’t get it.

He taught them that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Set yourself apart, go to church but don’t do so in such a religious manner that if one of God’s children needs you that you cannot stop along the way and help heal their hurt.

He taught about choosing leadership when he singled out twelve Apostles. Note, they were from within the gathered group. They were not perfect people that simply materialized before Him.

He taught them that the poor are blessed because the Kingdom is theirs. That the ones who are hungry now WILL be satisfied, that the ones who are crying now WILL laugh and when the haters exclude you, reject you, insult you because of Him – rejoice because that is exactly the way they treated the prophets.

He taught them to love their enemies and treat them in the way they would like to be treated.

He taught them not to judge harshly because that kind of judgment comes right back in an overflowing measure. Besides, it is all you can do to get the splinter out of your own eye so that you can see straight.

But they still didn’t seem to get it.

He taught them about good trees and good fruit and how it is out of our heart that our mouth speaks.

He taught them to be careful what they invest in because building on something unstable is not wise and will result in complete destruction.

He taught them about faith and authority through the centurion’s faith regarding his ill servant.

He taught them that dead does not always mean dead when He raised the widow’s son along with countless others throughout His ministry.

He taught them that a godly, true ministry is connected and confirmed by other godly ministries and that each ministry has its work to complete. After all, you never saw Him arguing over position or denomination with His cousin John the Baptist, did you?

The trouble is, they still didn’t get it.

He taught them that the seed is the Word of God that grows within each of us, that the devil wants to come and steal it, that some people are not rooted enough to receive a hard word and grow through the testing after they hear it, that life’s worries or riches will keep people from maturing in the Word but do not give up, because seed sown in good soil, in those with a good heart, that hear good word, retain it and through perseverance produce a good crop.

He taught them we must be a light to the world and that everything hidden will be disclosed, everything, so consider carefully . . . everything.

He taught them that family is important but your true family members are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice. They are often those you find right alongside of you in ministry. My spiritual mother, sister, brother; they are many times one in the same.

He taught them that the storms are loud, frightening and even destructive if we allow them to be and give in to fear. The alternative? We can speak to it and make it obey.

He taught them how to heal the demon possessed, that the demons fear the power of God and those who carry use it properly. Shouldn’t that be us?

He taught them through Jairus’ twelve year old daughter that you can’t just let anybody in the prayer meeting. When you need a miracle it matters who you bring in to pray with you and for you.

But for all of this, they still had trouble getting it.

He taught them when He sent out the twelve, that through Him they carried the same power and authority to drive out demons, cure diseases, heal the sick and preach the kingdom.

He taught them that even those who aren’t carrying their weight spiritually still deserve to eat spiritual food – in fact, they need it more, and those who have should give and through that giving, with a right heart, it will be multiplied and will feed many. No worries! You will still have plenty left over in the end.

He taught them to reflect, pay attention, observe. Who do they say I am? But who do you say I am. Don’t follow the crowd, and don’t always tell all you know until you know it is the right time.

He taught them it is a tough walk to take up your cross daily and follow Him. This was before the time of the cross and He was trying to help them. It does no good, He said, for you to gain everything the world has to offer if you cannot manage to get this!

He taught them that He was man but He was every bit God and that the prophets of old lived on and were a part of God’s plan at the transfiguration. That He had a Father who was in complete support of his work on earth. This is my son, whom I have chosen; listen to him. What an endorsement!

But they still didn’t get it. The kept to themselves and told no one what they had seen.

He taught them when He healed the boy with an evil spirit, that their unbelief and perversion was what blocked them from receiving the healing and deliverance they needed. The disciples had tried to drive the spirit out but could not. So, He admonished them – “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: the Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men” . . .but the Bible says in Luke 9:45 . . . “but they did not understand what this meant. it was hidden from them, so they did not grasp it and they were afraid to ask Him about it.” They didn’t get it!

He taught them not to jockey for position because the pecking order in heaven is NOT like the one on earth – in fact, it is exactly the opposite.

He taught them about ministries they did not understand and people they did not know when He said, if they are preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified for all, then they are not against you – they are for you. Go about your own business.

But the one thing Jesus knew is that they STILL did not get it.

A great deal of time had passed and the days were short. The Word says Jesus resolutely set out for Jerusalem. We all know what happened there. But on that determined journey, he continued to teach them.

He taught them it was a high cost to follow Him. It was easy to declare your allegiance but quite a different thing to follow through actively. Most He petitioned to come would not get past the initial call to service. Do you think they would have been so quick to declare their devotion if they had truly gotten it? Maybe not so much. . .

He taught them to disciple when he sent out the seventy-two. He told them the harvest was plentiful but workers few and to ask the Lord to send more workers. Do not bounce around from place to place in the name of the Lord, claiming the Holy Spirit moved you when you are in a place of ministry and peace.

Likewise, do not waste precious time with those who will not accept what you have to share, move on. There are plenty that need to be saved. “He who listens to you, listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He gave them authority to overcome all power of the enemy and nothing could harm you, but do not get prideful in that realization – rejoice that your name is written in heaven.

For a moment, excitement must have welled up in Jesus. Were they finally getting it? In that moment, He praised the Father that it was not the wise and learned he was talking to but the children, as was his good pleasure.

He taught us that etiquette is important. We do need to mind our homes and feed our guests but the better part is to choose what Mary chose and that is to sit at His feet because what is learned there is everlasting. Jesus wasn’t accustomed to five star treatment. He did not require it. He only wanted those around Him to get what He was saying to them. Do not develop an attitude when people want to sit and soak up the Word and are short on helping with the work. They have chosen to good part.

He taught them how to pray, and even included a sample prayer for them. It mentioned how to worship, how to petition, how to repent, how to forgive, how to resist temptation. It was complete.

He taught them to ask and receive, seek and find, knock and expect the door to open.

He taught them to be careful what you allow into your eyes because when your eyes go bad, there will be darkness inside. Never lose sight. But in order to do that . . . you have to get it.

He taught – don’t just clean up your outside. Your suit is nice, but it doesn’t cover up the sin-filled center.

He taught to give but not to flaunt your giving, especially while you neglect authentic loving.

He taught them not to like too much the greetings and the praise of the people that are attracted to you because of your ministry, position or the call and anointing God has placed on your life, because really, you are like unmarked graves to some – not so important after all.

Of course, they were insulted. Why? Because they didn’t get it.

He taught them not to load people down with a bunch of do’s and don’ts and not lift a finger to help them.

He taught them to guard against hypocrisy. What you say in the dark will be heard in the daylight.

He taught them not to fear man but to fear the One who afterward can throw you into hell.

He taught them that their hairs are numbered and not to be concerned about their worth. We are all more valuable to Him than the sparrows – Do not worry, He says. I’ve got this. . .

He taught them if they acknowledge Him before man – He would acknowledge them before God. Don’t worry how to defend yourself when they call you on the carpet. The Holy Spirit will help.

You see, Jesus didn’t have time to sit around and feel sorry for Himself. Though He knew He was facing unwarranted punishment for a world full of sin He did not commit and that the cross would be a gruesome, physically and spiritually painful separation from the Love of the Father, He forged ahead. Why? Because He got it. And He wanted us to get it too! In fact, He didn’t have time to think about death until it was upon Him. He was too busy imparting life to people who would in turn impart that life to others in a trickle down fashion that would eventually reach you and I.

My post is lengthy but my point is simple. If we don’t get it, it’s not because the truth is not available.

Maybe we are too distracted by life or too much is filtered through extreme heartache and attitudes of the flesh. Maybe we are too busy to allow the Word to sink into our spirit or is it that we haven’t read quite as much of the Bible as we like to act as though we have? Whatever the reason, the result is that we just don’t get.

However, the truth remains. The answers? Yes, they are all there.

In three short years of ministry Jesus told us everything we need to know  – not only hot to get it but how to get through it too. So, the next time we are tempted to sit down and quit because we just don’t get it; promise me you will take a moment – not three years, just a moment, maybe two – sit down with the Word and travel back down the path Jesus walked. Take another close look at all He said and did. If you do, I know He will meet you there, because He has met me – every single time. The answers are there, and if we honestly confess that we just don’t get it – He’s more than willing to teach us until we do.