Last week was the anniversary of 9/11. Every time that date rolls around I remember the exact place I was when I heard the news. I was driving on the South Circle near the Montgomery Mall heading to work at Asbury UMC on Narrow Lane Rd. in Montgomery. While I was driving people were perishing, including over 400 (estimates vary) first-responders. These brave men and women ran into the fray and the danger to help others. THAT is a very Jesus-like thing to do!
Jesus was always facing danger, opposition and push-back from the very people He was trying to help. In Matthew 8 we find Jesus in the land of the Gadarenes where He encounters two demon possessed men. We expect the demons to oppose Jesus since they work for the other team. But that is not the only opposition Jesus faces. He faces the unbelief of doubters, the fear of people unwilling to even go near the demon-possessed man and some skeptical disciples who are in the background. After Jesus heals the men by casting out the demons He finds a new kind of opposition. The opposition of people whose economic interests have been harmed by Jesus' healing. When our following of Jesus costs us our livelihood we must make a decision ... do we embrace Jesus or send Him away?
Before you tell me this story is just one of the old stories from Scripture, let's play it forward. On our trip to Costa Rica I came to realize that story might just play out in real (and modern) life. If the Radical Life Church and ministry achieves its mission and causes people to leave drugs, prostitution and the sex-trade, some very dangerous people might lose lots of money. If the politicians of the local area near Jaco decide to follow Jesus, they might rise up against the drug lords and the gangs that permeate the local political scene. Things might get dangerous. All of these people must make choices. But those who are oppressed by drugs, violence, corruption and the sex-trade need people who will give the hope, rescue, support and (most important) the Jesus who is their salvation.
Jesus is always opposed. People who follow Jesus are opposed. But we, as followers of Christ, are called to do what the 9/11 first-responders did ... go into the fray, the danger and the heart of opposition. Because people need Christ. And HE is our mission! Randy