Hello Friends and Family. This week I began leading two Bible studies based on Season Two of the series The Chosen. We have been anxiously waiting to begin watching and studying the Second Season as a group, and it was so great to see all of the characters and scripture that we have grown to love, come to life again.
There seemed to be three things that stood out the most as we began our study of Episode One. First, everyone seemed to be arguing all the time. There was definite discord amongst the seven Disciples. Their arguments / discussions ranged from where they should go and how to get there, where they should eat, who’s invitation to accept, who Jesus should speak to, who was worthy to hear Jesus speak, and mostly who was in charge. Animosity between Simon and the brothers, James and John was palpable.
We could really see the personalities of the disciples evolve and the conflicts arising from them traveling and living together. It’s difficult enough for two people to agree, much less seven men and two women agreeing on anything. They do however agree on one thing. They want to follow Jesus.
We all watched as Simon, James and John argued about who was in charge and in control. Matthew and Thomas are both proud of the fact that they are good with numbers. They are like two peas in a pod which means there is a constant battle to prove themselves better than the other. It was both sad and funny to watch, but then maybe we saw a bit of ourselves in all of these characters.
Most of us like to be in control of our lives and are reluctant to relinquish the reigns, (much like Simon) which often leads to stress because it’s impossible to control everything. We stress and worry about where to go, what to eat, how to pay the bills, vaccine or no vaccine, blue or red, and who to believe. We stress because we think we should be able to make the right choices and take care of all of it on our own.
We can’t…not by ourselves. We need to consult the ONE that knows best. We need to remember that HIS WAY does not always match up with OUR WAY. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.“
As Christians we also struggle to figure out the best way to serve God and others. We ask ourselves… Who exactly are we supposed to help? Surely God doesn’t expect me to help that guy on the corner asking for money. It’s probably a scam but maybe God’s calling you to offer him some water and some food instead.
Who am I supposed to love? Surely God doesn’t expect me to love that person covered in tattoos, or that Muslim, that Jew, that person that looks different, lives in a different place, talks different, or the neighbor who voted different. Surely God doesn’t expect me to love the man lying on the sidewalk next to a grocery cart full of what looks like trash. Surely NOT!
OH BUT HE DOES.
Surely God doesn’t expect me to just let that guy cut me off in traffic without letting him know just how rude he was. Surely God doesn’t want me to associate with those neighbors that don’t go to church or that man down the street that voted for the other guy. I go to church on Sunday. I tithe. I pay my taxes. Surely God cares more for me than all those other people that don’t believe, worship or vote the way I do.
GOD LOVES US ALL and expects us to do the same. YOU ARE NO BETTER or WORSE THAN ANYONE ELSE. ALL OF US ARE SINNERS IN NEED OF A SAVIOR.
Are we any different than the Disciples that we laughed at or scoffed at in Episode one? We think we know what’s best. We think we can handle everything just fine on our own. We think we know what’s best, where we should go and who deserves to hear The Good News of Jesus Christ. We think we know who the REAL sinners are and who really needs salvation.
Well, we don’t. God already has a plan for each of us. He knows the best way to go, the best things to do and the best way to do it. We just need to ask, listen and follow His lead. If we do, it usually ends up being a much better way than we could ever imagine. God knows who needs Him most and it might just be YOU.
The second obvious topic that stood out was the prejudice and hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans. It reminded me of what is going on today all over the world. Nothing has really changed. Hatred still exists. Fear still tries to rule the minds and hearts of mankind. It seems that if we can’t push someone into the BOX we have created for ourselves, then they must be a threat in some way.
We need to remember that what we say and how we act toward people that look, act or believe differently, will be seen and heard by unbelievers and our words and actions could get in the way of unbelievers accepting Christ into their lives.
Matthew 5:44-45 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
The third obvious topic was planting seeds. No. It wasn’t tips on how to garden, although the parallels are similar.
We heard Jesus explain that the seeds that John and James planted in the field were not just for food. He explained that the seeds they were planting were seeds of faith that would last for generations.
Today, we are benefiting from the seeds that the Disciples planted in the hearts of men, women, and children, thousands of years ago, and what we do here and now, (planting seeds of faith and love wherever we go), will also last for generations. We may not be around to see the harvest, but God will.
Episode one of season two was amazing. It fed our hearts and souls. It made us laugh and cry. It brought us closer in our relationship with Christ and His Word. We learned as we watched the Disciples make mistakes. We learned that things that happened thousands of years ago affect us in so many ways, that seeds planted then are in full bloom today.
I believe that nothing Jesus did or said while He was here on earth, happened by accident.
Episode one began and ended with John struggling to write the Gospel of John that we all know and love.
Jesus knew that John would someday write one of the most famous chapters of the Bible. He already knew that John would struggle with what to say and how to begin. So in a small, Samaritan temple, years before John would put ink to paper, Jesus gave John the path to follow. Jesus planted tiny seeds of faith in John’s mind and heart and kept him close, so that he would one day be able to make simple words come alive and bring hope and salvation to you and I and the millions who would follow.
Jesus has left us marvelous messages in scripture. We just need to read them. He has left us a treasure map and a planting guide to follow. He chose Disciples, students, men and women, just like us, who would plant seeds of faith in a field of nonbelievers, thousands of years ago, so that you and I would be sitting here today eating the fruits of their labor.
None of us have been chosen by accident. We are each here to learn from what the Disciples painstakingly wrote in scripture. The Chosen would not even exist if it weren’t for what they wrote. We have been chosen to follow in the footsteps of those chosen before us. They have already walked this path we face. They have written a guide as to how to survive, how to continue their work, how to be a great seed planter and how to complete Jesus’s great command to go and tell the world.
See you next week to review what we see, hear and learn from Season two, Episode Two of THE CHOSEN.