Being Ready and Proficient

In Mark 1:12-13 Jesus prepares for his ministry by going out into the desert and overcoming the temptations that were put this way. I liken it to an actor preparing for their initial grand stage performance, a musician about to play in their inaugural concert in front of a large concert or a sports star competing in a packed stadium in their first grand final. Their experiences like Jesus will be life changing not only for themselves but for those people who witnessed their craft.

So, what enabled these people to achieve their goals?  I would contend that it begins with their faith in their ability to attain their objectives. That is to know you have done all the hard work, developed the necessary skill set and are not daunted by the task that is about to be placed in front of you. Thus, they were mindful that they had the fortitude to overcome any obstacles. For Jesus it was more than that he knew that through the power of the Holy Spirit which came from God that he could remove any barriers that were blocking his path to complete his ministry.

Finally, what were the outcomes that they were hoping to deliver? For me it is how do we remember them? Is it their great work, their contribution to others as role models or that their tradition continues? For the actor it is plays in theatres throughout the globe. The musician, packed concerts listening to a variety of music from all different countries. The sport star filling stadiums to watch teams compete. While for Jesus it is that some 2021 years people are still proclaiming the message that he taught through his ministry. What great legacies they leave us by being ready and proficient.

Looking Anew

In Mark 6:1-6 Jesus returns to his home town of Nazareth. However, his teachings despite their wisdom were rejected by the local people. So, why did they take offence at Jesus?

Firstly, the people still saw him as Joseph the carpenter’s son rather than a prophet, teacher and miracle worker. “Is not this the carpenter, the Son of Mary.” Mark 6:3. I was reflecting on this situation and if Jesus suddenly produced incredible football skills would he be so unfairly maligned?  Maybe, what Jesus was offering was challenging whereas a football player doesn’t challenge someone to change their lives.

Secondly, the fact that Jesus was calling for change would mean that people would have been taken out of their comfort zone. Perhaps that was why they were riled up who is this carpenter’s son telling us how to live their lives. Additionally, people find change hard to embrace particularly if it requires self-sacrifice. I know it is a daily battle for me to try and live the Gospel values and continually do what I must do than I want to do.

Finally, was Jesus being judged for who he was rather than what he had become. I know I wouldn’t want to be judged for what I was like as a younger person compared to adulthood. Through greater life experiences you gain infinitely more wisdom than you have as a younger person. How many times does a voice in your head say if I only knew then what I know now? Thus, like Jesus we need to move on and look forward, ignoring the opinions of others as it can only cloud our judgement in doing what is right for others even if it comes at a cost.