Are You Passionate?

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When Jesus 'asks' you, "Who do YOU say I am?" What is your answer?

Recently, our pastor spoke from Mark 8:27-38—the passage where Jesus asked Peter, “Who do you say I am?” I heard that passage preached… I’ve preached that passage. But that day was the first time I heard Jesus ask me, “Jackie, who do YOU say I am?”

I can give the theological answer: “The Messiah, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” But, Jesus wasn’t looking for theology, this was personal. He knew what I’d been toying with.

See, I’ve had some hard things happen during the last several years, as many of you have, and I’ve started to grow weary of the 'hard.' A part of me has been stomping my feet at Jesus, “I want less hard, less stress, less struggle, and more ease, money, acclaim… and Jesus, you have the ability to make that a reality in my life.”

For years I’ve lived passionately for Christ. Those who live passionately for Christ are targets. Satan will do all he can to take us out, sideline us. I’ve known that and took it on, until lately. I’m weary of the fight. I’ve flirted with the idea of, “Can’t I just live like so many other Christians, attend church, talk churchy, do good things but nothing too crazy… can’t I live a normal Christian life where you don’t  impact my every thought, move and motive?"

Ever feel like that?

Yesterday Jesus reminded me of who he is. He is the SUFFERING SERVANT. Passion equals suffering. Let me say it again: passion equals suffering. I don’t like that. We don’t like that. But it’s what he’s telling his disciples. “If anyone would come after me, let her deny herself and take up her cross and follow me. For whoever would save her life will lose it, but whoever losses her life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” The disciples wanted an earthy king. They wanted the seat at the left and right… to be fanned by people while eating great chocolate. They wanted what I’ve been wanting… a safer, more comfortable life. But Jesus said, “You must deny yourself… you must loose your life Jackie in order to find it.” That’s crazy, upside down thinking… If you follow a crucified life you will find life?

Peter had a false narrative of what the Messiah meant. Jesus knew I was starting to play with a false narrative. That’s why yesterday he asked me, ”Jackie who do YOU say I am?”  Jesus wanted to remind me, among other things, he is the Suffering Servant. It’s part of the narrative I wanted to push aside, until yesterday.

People have always described me as passionate. From here on out when anyone says that, I will say the equation in my mind… passion = suffering = real life.

So let me ask, what’s your narrative? Who do YOU say Jesus is?

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