Readings for May 3, 2020
Acts 2:14, 36-41
1 Peter 2:20-25
Because they did not understand his references to the sheep and the gate and the sheepfold, Jesus spoke directly to the Pharisees when he said, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” In the following passages, Jesus speaks of being the shepherd, willing to lay down his life for his sheep and that he has the power and authority, granted to him through his obedience, to lay down his life and pick it back up again. This confused not only the Pharisees, but also the crowd, some of whom thought him mad.
After all, what is an abundant life if it means obedience and willingness to lay it down for others? It’s so easy to think of abundance in the worldly sense, and to mistake it for a path to freedom; so I can see why imagining it being used for the opposite was confusing to the crowd. Think about it. Who comes to mind when I say the word abundance? Celebrities, royalty, political leaders, the newsmakers. And when I think about this abundance, my imagination is drawn to the apparent “freedom” with which they live, granted to them by their abundance in fame, wealth, and beauty. But what is seen as freedom may be better examined as attachment to the attention and to the material possessions they crave. And, of course, the news changes, wealth is often squandered, and physical beauty fades. Worldly abundance, it seems, is short-lived and will not bring the release I seek.
When we understand the limitations of the world, we can begin to accept the abundance of life in Christ. Perhaps, in some measure, there is some madness in the sacrifice that comes with this way of living. Perhaps, in some ways, we give up something others may treasure. But in living in right order with Christ as our savior, we have an abundance of peace, an abundance of joy, and an abundance of hope in the eternal rewards of living in God’s Kingdom; a home He has already prepared for us.
My Lord Jesus, may I live in the madness of obedience to your teaching, offering a sacrifice of praise to you so that I may live in your abundance. Grant me the gift of faith and the grace of steadfast love for you and all that has been prepared for me by God the Father. Amen