Do you ever wonder who would come to your funeral if you died?
I know. It’s a little intense for a morning blog post. Sorry.
But, I mean really, who in your life would care that you were gone?
I’m sure for the most part, we all have many who would care.
Some who would show up out of obligation.
Some who would make an appearance just for that. To make an appearance so others would see their good works. Admit it, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives.
Some would be genuinely sad, devastated, forlorn to see us leave this earthly home.
Think about those people. All the people that would show up for you at your funeral.
What about if you were falsely accused of a crime and everyone who really knew you was 100% sure you did not do it. Would those people still show up at your funeral?
Who would stand up and defend you?
Who would stand beside you and declare your innocence?
Would there be someone who would put their own name at risk to defend you?
These very questions tumbling around in my head for the last few days have me on edge.
Let me clarify, my thoughts haven’t exactly been, “who will be at my funeral”. (Really, I don’t care. I’ll be in Heaven celebrating with Jesus.) But more about what led me to these thoughts.
This all started last Sunday at Church 2:14 (you may have heard that we, Chris and I, along with 10 of our dearest friends started a church a few months ago…that’s a whole tiny huge thing in itself. I’ll write and post that story soon. It’s a good one).
A super cool guy in our church, who is fast becoming one of my fave preachers because of his ability to pull insight from scripture I hadn’t thought of before, was preaching in a series called The 3 Days. It’s leading us up to Easter and it’s all about the people who were left on earth while Jesus was in the tomb. The message on Sunday was centered around Joseph of Arimathea. He was the affluent man who cared for Jesus’ body and used his own tomb to bury Him in. The podcast is great. If interested you can listen here.
One of my favorite things about the Bible is seeing the connections between the Old and New Testaments. This was the case in this message.
Isaiah 53 is one of those passages. It’s full of prophesy about the life and death of Jesus on earth. Down to very intimate specifics about where and by whom He would be buried. Really, people, this just makes my heart race. It doesn’t get any better than seeing God reveal His plan for the redemption and sanctification of mankind hundreds of years before it’s to take place.
You can’t tell me that doesn’t make you a little bit in awe of who He is. If He had this massive plan in place all that time to redeem you and me, you better not for a split second believe that He doesn’t have a plan already in motion to pull you out of whatever mess or hell hole you find yourself in.
That same God. The one who whispered intimate details of His greatest sacrifice to the prophet Isaiah all those hundreds of years before, yeah that same God, He has the intimate details of your life all thought out for you too. After all, He sent His Son to die for YOU. This is where His details, His plan for you and your trust in Him collide.
Back to Isaiah. One verse in particular jumped off the page and took hold of my thoughts and heart. You know the kind. That verse you can instantly memorize because it’s just been seared into your brain as you read it. The one you can’t stop thinking about. That kind.
For me, on Sunday, it was this one.
YET WHO OF HIS GENERATION PROTESTED?
How one sentence can just rock your world. How it can move in, plant itself and not leave for days on end.
How “Yet who of His generation protested?” became “Who of OUR generation protests?” in my heart and head.
Do I protest when Jesus is being slandered? Do I stand up for Him? Do I defend Him?
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m am not talking about protesting for a belief, a moral issue or a personal conviction. I’m not talking about pushing my choices on others, or insisting “my way” is the only way. Only Jesus HIMSELF is the way.
I’m not talking about how people worship, don’t worship, lead their families, don’t lead their families, what church you attend or don’t attend, whether you drink alcohol or don’t.
Those are all personal convictions and choices and the Bible makes it very clear that we, as Christ followers do not have “Judge Others” on our job description.
In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
We are told in Luke 6:37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;
James 4:12 God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?
See, not our job!
What I mean is actually defending Jesus Himself. Who He is? What He does?
Do you know there are Christians across the world whose homes are being marked by ISIS with a Hebrew letter? Actually, physically marked! Painted on the doors of their homes. Identifying them as Christians. Even more specifically, identifying them as Nazarenes. Nazareth, where Jesus was from. So identifying them as “with Jesus”. One of “those Nazarenes”.
And we sit here in our comfy, cushy homes slandering each other over what church we attend. Or who we’re friends with. Or because so and so said such and such about him or her on Twitter.
This HAS TO STOP. I actually feel physically sick when I think that because of how we treat each other and because we don’t spend our time and energy actually defending Him, we would very well not be considered a follower of Jesus to someone from the outside.
Those looking in at us MAY NOT SEE JESUS IN US.
Am I crazy? Or isn’t that exactly the same thing as “YET WHO OF HIS GENERATION PROTESTED?”
Don’t followers of Jesus defend Him? Or do they run and hide like the disciples when the angry crowds began to protest and chant for His death? Oh I am so thankful for the disciples. Their story shows us that even in their betrayal and disloyalty of Jesus at His worst hour, He still used them. Forgave them. Redeemed them and they changed the world.
The disciples give me hope for our generation. As we bicker, rant and throw temper tantrums when things aren’t working to our selfish ambitions, there is still HOPE.
Hope for us to face plant in surrender and recognize it’s not about us.
It never has been and it never will be. It’s about Him. It’s about defending Him.
It’s about fulfilling HIS purpose here. To seek and save the lost. To be a light. To be known by His character.
So if the marks ever come here, our doors would be among the first tattooed. Painted with His identity.
Because we would be known. Known as “one of those who follow Jesus”. What an honor to be labeled with that. The highest honor.
Dear ones, please hear this. Read this with an open heart. Let’s be a generation known for defending Jesus. His Name. His purpose. Not for running. Or hiding. Or destroying each other from the inside.
Let’s be the ones who chose love. Who chose faith. Who chose restoration.
Let’s be known for our love, not for having to be right.
This book, Jesus Outside the Lines by Scott Sauls has been so convicting and purposeful to me recently.
Just a few of the powerful quotes in this book.
“Deep disagreement and no apologies for our beliefs. Love, respect, listening and friendship. At the same time.”
We can disagree with someone. Stand for something. Yet still love them and respect them at the same time. Jesus did this. This is defending Jesus.
To me defending Jesus, is choosing to be like Him. To act like Him.
There may come a day when defending Him means giving our life for Him. But more realistically right now, in our lives, defending Him means choosing to obey Him. Choosing to act like Him. Choosing to love people as He did.
“The commitment to feeling 1) right & 2) wronged is a fairly common phenomenon…But Jesus taught us a different way.” #JesusOutsidetheLines
“What matters more to us – that we successfully put others in their place, or that we are known to love well?” #JesusOutsidetheLines
“When the grace of JESUS sinks in we will be among the least offended and most loving people in the world.” #JesusOutsidetheLines
Let’s be people, a generation who changes this. A generation who cares more about protesting Jesus being misrepresented, not by telling others how wrong they are, but by showing others how Jesus lived through the way we live. Through the way we love. Through the way we don’t hold grudges and by how we forgive.
Let’s make sure it can never be said of our generation, “YET WHO OF THEIR GENERATION PROTESTED?”
***A housekeeping note. Due to my lack of technical ability and the slow load speed from my previous website, I’ve switched back to good ole Blogspot. Simple, clean and easy for a non computer nerd like to me use. Hoping to get HeatherToews back up and running as my domain but in the mean time you will find me here at HeatherToews.blogspot.com.