The New Way

The following is based upon ministry given in a Philadelphia meeting on 11/5/17.

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There is a story about Jesus that takes place after he’d been ministering for a while. He was at home, visiting with his brothers shortly before a festival was to occur in Jerusalem. His brothers were planning to go to the festival, but Jesus was not planning to go with them. The brothers spoke to Jesus, perhaps to chastise him for not going, or perhaps to mock him. They said to Jesus, if you have a message for the people, why don’t you go to the festival and give it? No one who wants to be known acts in secret. Show yourself to the world.  Jesus responds by saying: “My time is not yet come: but your time is alway ready”(Jn. 7:6).

What Jesus is saying here is that he must wait for guidance before he acts; he doesn’t act on his own power and volition, as do his brothers, but he waits until he’s been given understanding from God for what he is to do, and when he is to do it. It is a new way to be, to regulate one’s life. And this is the content of Jesus’s ministry: there’s something new.

When I come to meeting, I arrive early and, a little while later, listen as people begin to enter  the meeting room and settle in. I like to hear all the sounds: the coughing, the sniffling, the shuffling of feet. These are cozy human sounds; there’s a warmth in hearing them, like sitting in front of a fire. And then there are the messages: people’s opinions and ideas. People have always had opinions and ideas. They, too, are human, a natural part of us. Some may be good ideas and some not; some may be productive and others destructive; some dutiful and others careless; some creative and others unimaginative, but whatever their qualities, they are all ideas. They come with our being human, along with all the other capacities that have been given to us by our Creator.

When Jesus spoke about his time being “not yet come, but his brothers’ time being always ready,” he was making a distinction between the new nature and power he’d been given by God–an inspired, divine nature–and the old human nature in which we are confined to knowing and receiving only human ideas and opinions.

To inform, to manifest, and to witness to this new way of being–partaking of the divine nature–was the purpose of Jesus’s ministry; it is the new way given by God.

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