Hope Beyond Today
In today’s reading from Mark’s Gospel, John has been arrested. His ministry has concluded, and Jesus has entered the stage of announcing that the time that John had been preparing people for had arrived—in him. Jesus preaches that believing and trusting God’s good news leads to changed hearts and to lives lived in hope.
This change may seem easier said than done, though. How do we change our hearts and lives when that may make us appear weak to others, as if we can’t make up our minds? How can we prepare to live in God’s kingdom when living in this world is often so difficult? Why should we trust God when we see so much hatred, violence, and anxiety daily? How can we be expected to believe in good news when we’re barraged daily with bad news?
Jesus doesn’t answer those questions. What he does do, though, is offer us the hope of faith. Though we live amid trouble and anxiety and need, those things are not the last words. God’s steadfast love is. Believing that to be true can give us hope and confidence that, despite the troubles we see and experience daily, God is still in charge. This hope can transform us because it reminds us that God can see beyond today, even though we can’t. Thanks be to God who sees today as well as tomorrow, whose power is leading to the final victory of love and good, and who calls us to live each day in that confident hope!
God of today and tomorrow, give me faith for today, hope for tomorrow, and a love that allows others to see you through me. In the hope-filled name of Jesus. Amen.
Things are not always as they seem. To Jonah, the people of Nineveh seem beyond hope, so he runs away rather than going to preach to them. But God has other plans. To Jonah’s surprise, the Ninevites turn to God. In our eyes, social standing and wealth may seem to divide people into different classes, but the psalmist declares that in God’s economy all are equal. Paul echoes the theme of the temporary nature of all things in this life; they should not be our source of security. Jesus opens his ministry in Mark by proclaiming that God is breaking into history to overthrow what has been accepted as the way things are. Sometimes God’s perspective is not our perspective.
Read Jonah 3:1-10. Can you think of a time when you sensed God calling you to do something you didn’t want to do? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 62:5-12. How have you experienced God’s “awesome deeds” in your life? What is your response?
Read 1 Corinthians 7:29-31. What distracts you from focusing on God? How might you reorder your priorities?
Read Mark 1:14-20. What might have led Simon, Andrew, James, and John to immediately stop what they were doing and follow Jesus? Are there things that make you hesitate in following Jesus’ call to you?
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