We’re a stone’s throw from the season of Lent. A season that challenges us to confront our mortality without fear, to fix our attention on Jesus, and remember it is GOD who makes all things new! Amen?! This Sunday, we’ll prepare for Lent with awe as we experience the story of Jesus’ transfiguration in Matthew 17 and God’s affirmation of Jesus as the beloved son.
That sense of awe is particularly important this year as we prepare for Lent in the Gospel of Matthew. The final chapters in Matthew’s Gospel, before Jesus’ trial and crucifixion, are not for the squeamish. They are not bedtime stories. Jesus throws out an unrelenting barrage of parables that are provocative in the extreme. Lavish generosity is rejected, messengers of good news are killed, and condemnation hovers around every corner. Jesus teaches with an urgency that means to grab us, shake us awake, and set us firmly on our feet prepared for the essential Kingdom work Christ has for us. If this makes you a bit nervous, I’m with you!
However, as we know from experience, when Jesus’ words are toughest, when his teachings are most difficult to hear, the depth of God’s grace is never far away. In fact, it’s when Christ’s words are most provocative that his grace is most abundant. We know where Jesus’ life leads – to the cross. The Kingdom he ushers in is opposed on every side, but it will not fail! God’s will for life, love, healing, forgiveness, hope and reconciliation cannot be stopped!
So, get ready, people of God! Jesus is coming to shake things up! God’s Kingdom comes! I wonder what Kingdom work God has in mind for you! Amen?!
See you Sunday…