Surprised by Jesus

However, the paradox is that you and I do not work for God to be accepted by Him. That is religion. Rather, we are accepted by God, therefore ...

Jesus was prone to make stunningly surprising statements. One example is, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.” [Matthew 12:30]

It takes some focused meditation for the implications of this remark to sink in. Jesus is pointing out that there is no neutral ground. No gray zone. Rather, it seems there is a bright line. Either we are

  • Building, organizing, teaching, and discipling, or we are destroying.
  • Repairing, or allowing decay and loss to have its full effect.
  • Advancing the kingdom and hastening the day, or delaying it.
  • Part of the solution, or part of the problem.

Notice that Jesus does not say, “If you are not against me, that is okay with me,” or some such construct. Further, we are not the judge of our condition, Jesus is the judge and the dispenser of reward. In similar fashion, Paul reminds us, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” [Rom. 8:31] If we are not gathering with Him, Jesus is not for us. The implication is that He stands against us. In that case, it does not matter who else might be for us.

However, the paradox is that you and I do not work for God in order to be accepted by Him. That is religion. Rather, we are accepted by God, therefore, we obey. That is relationship. What are the implications of this surprising saying for our lives, and the time, talent, and treasure we have to offer the Master?

It is our responsibility to be paying careful attention to the choices of our lives. The call is for us to be actively gathering for Jesus. If not, we may be surprised that the Lord looks at us as scattering, that is, working against Him.

Picture of Nelson Malwitz, Founder, Chief Innovation Officer

Nelson Malwitz, Founder, Chief Innovation Officer

Nelson is the generic Evangelical baby-boomer. Born in 1946, raised in the C&MA, he attended Urbana ’67 in college. He holds an MS degree in Chemical Engineering and worked in R&D positions in American industry for 33 years. Nelson is an inventor with formal training in methods of creative problem-solving. He was a founding elder at Walnut Hill Community Church in Bethel, CT (1982) and served in many leadership capacities of what is now one of the largest Evangelical churches in New England. In 1998 Nelson founded the Finishers Project, now MissionNext. Locally he attends a Torah study and serves as chairman of the Sewer Commission in his community to be a witness among unchurched leaders.

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