July 28, 2020
“…‘After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit’” (Mark 1:7-8, NIV 1984).
I contacted him to see if he would join us on a mission trip to Albania. The Albanian Christians had specifically requested his medical specialty for education evangelism.
“I am very interested, but, for the first time in my life I am involved in a malpractice suit. It’s five years old and I have to give a deposition tomorrow. Let me get through this, and I will get back with you.” I prayed for him and called him a few days later, asking how the deposition went. He described a grueling, seven-hour experience in which the lawyer for the plaintiff wore him down, and then added, “You know, after the thing was over, I thought, ‘Isn’t it wonderful that when we receive a deposition at the end of our lives, Jesus simply says, ‘It’s okay; he’s mine.’”
“It’s okay; he’s mine.”
In the first chapter of Mark, John the Baptist called God’s people to repentance, but something more was needed.
We live in a broken world where all creation has turned from the Creator. Sin has wrecked God’s handiwork, and that wreckage is obvious in the cruelty of evil men. But Satan may be even more successful in other ways. One such Satan success is the fostering of radical autonomy that we now see in our Western culture.
Oswald Chambers described it in these terms: “The essence of sin is my claim to my right to myself.”
Most of us on this planet claim the right to run our own lives rather than surrendering that right to God. Thus, the world is filled with sin, and so am I.
It’s not like we are ignorant of our sin. We are aware of our guilt and seek many remedies.
Some of us simply ignore our sinful nature and press on through life with diversions, as Blaise Paschal wrote in Pensées: “We want to complexify our lives. We don’t have to, we want to. We want to be harried and hassled and busy….for if we had leisure, we would look at ourselves and listen to our hearts and see the great gaping hole in our hearts and be terrified, because that hole is so big that nothing but God can fill it.”
Some of us seek ways to prove the sin is not our fault or seek psychological tools to soothe our guilt.
Some of us work very hard to please God—our guilt relieved if our good acts are greater than our bad.
Some of us measure our lives against others we know, rather than measuring them against Jesus, or the person whom God created us to be.
These are all reasonable efforts, but none of them overcome the power of sin in our lives or bring us back to God. We are too firmly committed to ourselves.
John’s message of repentance can wake us up but cannot bring us home to the Father. Only the cross, only the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, only surrender can bring us home. Only the words of Jesus, “It’s okay, he’s mine.”
Thank you for your sacrifice that cancels my sin and makes it possible for me to return to you.