God Knows…When I’m Faced with a Choice – Part 1
When somebody tells you something, you can either believe it or not. When somebody asks you to do something, you can either do it or not do it. When somebody corrects you, you can be stubborn or willing to change. If somebody loves you, you can either love that person back or not. You have many choices in life. Let’s look at some of the choices people made in Jesus’ day.
Jesus made important choices in the desert when He battled Satan. He stayed loyal to God, His Father. He resisted the pull of Satan. When he returned from the wilderness, He joined the crowd listening to John the Baptist at the Jordan River. When John the Baptist saw Jesus among the people, he repeated what he had said before: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
Two men standing nearby wondered what this meant. Their names were Andrew and John. They followed Jesus when He left. Jesus’ words were so full of freshness, truth, and beauty that they stayed with Jesus that day. They chose to believe.
Then Andrew and John—Christ’s first followers, or disciples—had the choice of keeping this good news to themselves or sharing it. They decided to share it. Andrew hurried to find Simon, his brother. “We have found the Messiah,” he told him. Simon had the choice of laughing it off or believing. He decided to come to Jesus. After that, Simon became known as Peter.
The next day when Jesus headed north toward Galilee, He saw a man named Philip. “Follow Me,” He said to Philip. Now Philip had a choice. He chose to obey. At once he began working for Jesus. He went and called Nathanael. “We have found Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote,’ Philip told him. “It’s Jesus of Nazareth.”
“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” scoffed Nathanael. Philip didn’t argue. He simply stated, “Come and see.” So Nathanael went to see and judge for himself. Jesus’ words were so convincing that Nathanael said: “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!”
About 6 miles (10 km) from where Jesus grew up was the small town of Cana. Jesus and His new friends were invited to a wedding there. At the wedding dinner, Jesus performed His first miracle. The servers had run out of wine (certainly the fresh grape juice called wine in Isaiah 65:8, not the alcoholic drink we are warned of in Proverbs 20:1). Jesus asked the servants to fill the six large stone water jars nearby with water. They could have refused. But they obeyed. When He told them to pour some for the master of ceremonies, they again chose to obey. The master of ceremonies found the wine better than anything he had ever tasted before!
When the Passover time came, Jesus went to Jerusalem. Arriving at the Temple, He found a shocking situation. His Father’s house sounded noisier than a cattle auction! And it smelled like a barnyard. Sheep, goats, and cattle were being sold for outrageous prices. All purchases and offerings had to be made in temple coin, so there were loud arguments at the tables of the cheating moneychangers. Jesus also saw people too poor to buy and offering for God, people suffering from disease, pain, and hopelessness. The priests and rulers had no sympathy for them. Those who had come to the Temple court to worship and pray felt confused and disturbed.
Into this uproar came Jesus. He spoke with the majesty of a king: “Take these things out of here; don’t make My Father’s house a marketplace.” The merchants and moneychangers and priests fled.
In cleansing the Temple of commerce, Jesus was directing people to focus on His mission—the cleansing of hearts from the mess of selfishness that crowds out God.
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