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Who told you?

by davesandel on January 4th, 2018

Who told you?

On the eleventh day of Christmas, Thursday, January 4, 2018

It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who heard John and followed Jesus. He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah,” which is translated Christ. Then he brought him to Jesus.– from John 1

Our big black friend Gilbert occasionally preached a sermon in Waynesville, Illinois when we lived there. He stared out at us with his intense glare and said, memorably, “WHO TOLD YOU you were not God’s kid? WHO TOLD YOU that you couldn’t be redeemed? WHO TOLD YOU heaven was not meant for you?”

Gilbert stared silently at us all for a long moment. And he turned around, and then turned around again. “The devil told you, that’s who! And the devil WAS WRONG!” His white teeth shone in the biggest, most welcome smile I’ve ever seen in a pulpit. “What does GOD TELL YOU? That you’re loved, that you’re forgiven, that YOU’RE FREE!”

His wife Sharon shouted “Amen!” and clapped her hands, and us white guys shyly joined in. What joy in Canaan-Land when Gilbert preached. And there was always a potluck afterward, and we sat around on Sunday afternoon and whiled the time away. Jesus is alive!

And on that special amazing day in Galilee, around four in the afternoon, Jesus’ disciples began to find him. “Who told you to come?” he asked. But more importantly, he told them about themselves, and how their lives were about to change.

Simon simply became Petra – Peter, “the rock upon which I will build my church.” What’s that you say, Jesus? “Follow me, Peter and Andrew and James and John, and I will make you fishers of men. God will fill our stomachs, and every day we’ll work to turn the hearts of the children to the Father.”

We have found the Messiah!

Jesus felt so much joy, to be joined at the hip this way by men and women who recognized God’s power in every step he took and every word he spoke.

And can you imagine the joy they felt? As they trailed along with Jesus, they began to take each step with the confidence they saw in him. They heard his stories and his sermons and knew how much he loved everyone, not just them. Often outdoors with their teacher, whenever they fell asleep and woke again, they saw him praying nearby, already awake. And they learned from him. When he was gone, they carried on …

So much to do, so little time! Gilbert by now has passed away, but his sermon remains in my heart. Our words, our smiles, and our actions carry great weight with others. They last longer than we can imagine. Jesus speaks through each of us, working every day to turn the hearts of the children to their Father.

Teach me to wait, Lord Jesus, and let the words you give me rise up to quietly become the words I speak. Let our meditations be acceptable in your sight, and the words that accompany them be like honey from a honeycomb for those who hear.

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