July 24, 2021

God’s Will and Jesus’ Family 06-06-2021

6th June 2021 Pentecost 2 (Second Sunday after Pentecost)
Title: God’s Will and Jesus’ Family
(Scripture Readings: 1 Samuel 8:4-11; Mark 3: 31-35)
By Heeyoung Lim

We live in arduous times and try our best to discern how to be faithful to God. The Holy Spirit sometimes comes to us in unfamiliar forms. God’s will is achieved in unexpected ways. First thing we can do is asking God and bringing the matters to God in our all circumstances. In today’s text, we can figure out that Samuel asked God His will when Israel did not seek God’s will.
Samuel warns the people about the problems they can expect with an earthly king as their leader. Their immoral behaviour was a departure from God’s will, and the faithless seemed to deny the Samuels leadership. This might hurt Samuel’s feelings and he was unhappy. Complaints must have reached the ears of the elders who gathered in a ruling council, but there was no praying and seeking of the Lord’s face. There was no crying out to God. The elders just demanded that Samuel appoint a king to lead the nation just like the surrounding nations. They wanted a political monarch who would defeat oppressive enemies and a visible and tangible leadership.
The request of the elders for a king displeased Samuel, but he wisely brought it to the Lord. God’s response to Samuel’s prayer in verse 8 shows that the request of the elders was wrong, but God told Samuel to listen to the voice of the people. God wanted Samuel to know that Israel had not rejected him as judge, but they had rejected God as king. Israel had continuously rejected God from the day He rescued them out of Egypt until then. Despite Israel’s rejection of God’s plan for leading them, God’s grace was continued. Samuel did just what God asked and proclaimed the words of the LORD to the people. (10) Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel because God allowed their demands. The Israelites under Saul’s leadership defeat the Ammonites. God gave them a king, but He did it in His way.
God wants us to grow spiritually so that we do not follow the crowd or worldly desires such as power, fame, and fortune. Sometimes people follow a collective unconsciousness without hesitation and blindly jumping on the worldly desires without reflection. There are lots of leaderships we need to follow or respect in our lives, but we can surrender completely to God as King and Jesus as Lord in our lives. The covenant of kingship is achieved through Jesus the Messiah.
God is working through His people. I hope we can ask God to show us God’s will every area of our lives and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to us God’s way on our faith journey. We can list our worldly desires in our diary or journal and repent of the sin of rejecting God’s will even though God’s leading may not visible, audible, or tangible. Do we pray for the reign of God in our daily prayers? Do we still have many prayer topics regarding worldly desires? God listens to our prayers, but He also hears our praises. We can list ways we can praise God as King and share the ways with others. We can also ask God for the grace and love whenever we try to serve God and others. I hope we can pray more about the kingdom of God and the reign of God. God’s will be done when we choose to follow God’s lead in our lives. It can be started from our family and communities.
Family is the place where we feel safe and secure, where we learn to love and grow as a human being. But not all families are loving, and nurturing. Not all families are safe and secure. When I had a short-mission trip to Thailand, I met about 300 homeless people in a station, visited slum village and met many children who were suffering from their parents’ drug addiction and their various unsafe environment, and went to a refugee site there. On the other hand, I also met some missionaries and Thai Christians who so much loved and helped them regularly and dedicatedly. They did not have secure place or loving family, but they were with extended family with the name of Christians.
In John’s Gospel, when Jesus is dying on the cross, he looks at his mother and says to her, “Woman, here is your son.” And then Jesus says to the beloved disciple, “Here is your mother.” Even on the cross Jesus was building His family of followers. So, he gave His mother a new son, and his beloved disciple a new mother. We know that Jesus loved and cared for his mother, even on the cross. (John 19:27) In Matthew 3 and Mark 3, Jesus showed and taught us a new priority in family that transcend the normal blood relations known as “family”.
Jesus established a new family where all people can belong. His family is a group of people who believe in Him and follow Him in today’s text. When Jesus asked, “Who are my family,” He looked around him at the people sitting there in a ring and said that all who do will of God are his family. Jesus’ family is doing everything in the Holy Spirit who is connects the reign of God. God’s leadership seems to be a reversal of human ways, but the reign of God is always the best even in our torn environment with suffering and vulnerability. One of important messages of the Gospel is about the reign of God that displaces satanic reign or wrong worldly power. God’s work through Christ entails deliverance and mercy all the time. Jesus’ life and mission always revolved around the will of God. Jesus’ family is defined by commitment to doing God’s will. We are called to be around Jesus listening to Him. God wants us to cling to Jesus and stick with Him whatever the cost. I pray we can all be Jesus’ true family living from deep sense of love and belonging in Jesus.
There are big differences between God’s unconditional love and human limited love, but we can offer love and compassion to people in the love of God. We can ask for God’s wisdom and strength to enable us to do His will and submit our life to Christ. Jesus’ family is the one who does the will of God and those who believe in Jesus. Those who do God’s will are the true family of Jesus. I hope that we will come closer to Christ more and more, and I pray that God will prepare and offer close and intimate friendship in our faith communities. I believe we can discern God’s will in our faith and life with the grace of God’s kingdom and become Jesus’ family under the reign of God. Let us thank God and praise Him for His existence and awesome majesty.
What do we do when we cannot discern where God is leading? Surely, the longing for the word of the Lord and prayer to ask God’s will must be continued in our lives as Jesus’ family.

Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)