Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Proclaiming the Lord Jesus

By Melanie Rigney

Those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to no one but Jews. There were some Cypriots and Cyrenians among them, however, who came to Antioch and began to speak to the Greeks as well, proclaiming the Lord Jesus. The hand of the Lord was with them and a great number who believed turned to the Lord. (Acts 11:19-21)

All you nations, praise the Lord. (Psalm 117:1a)

So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me. But you do not believe, because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand.” (John 10:24-28)

Lord, help me to follow Your voice wherever it leads, into familiar places and those that give me pause.

Keith Weller, USDA
Agricultural Resource Service.
Sheep get a bad rap. They’re smelly. They’re stupid. They’re herd animals who blindly follow the shepherd or leader anywhere, even if it’s into a hole or into traffic on a country road.

In short, sheep are annoying.

So are Christians. Annoying, that is.

In today’s Gospel reading from John, Jesus almost boasts about His power over His true followers: “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. … No one can take them out of my hand.”

And sometimes, that voice takes us to surprising, uncomfortable places. Early Church leaders saw their ministry as preaching to the Jews. But a funny thing happened. At Antioch, Gentiles began believing as well. It seemed odd to some, odd and inappropriate and outside the core ministry. How annoying.

And yet, it was where Christ’s voice was leading. And so, like sheep, they followed… as we are called to do today, outside our prayer group, outside our family, outside our neighborhood, outside our parish, outside our comfort zone. We follow because we are His sheep. We celebrate being annoying.

Be annoying today. Talk about your faith with someone outside your usual circle. Pray first that You might hear His voice.

1 comment:

Mike McBrady said...

Good news, I'm annoying almost every day!