Have you ever noticed that it seems like everyone is in a hurry to get somewhere? It’s as if everybody’s running in a race, in one direction, for some finish line at the front. But what if the King and Judge of the marathon said, “HEY, you have all believed a lie. The finish line isn’t in front of you, it’s behind you!”That would be a paradigm shift. All at once, the first would be last and the last first!
What if all this time, we thought God was saying, “Try harder and run faster;” but He was really saying, “You’re running in the wrong direction. You’re running to be FIRST and BEST, but I’m calling you to be LAST and LEAST. You’re running to SAVE your life, but I’m calling you to LOSE your life.”
If someone was running the opposite direction, He would be a “sign that is opposed.”
In Luke, Simeon prophesied that Jesus would be: “a sign that is opposed…so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Well, if the King and Judge were calling out: “The finish line is behind you,” that would be good news to the people at the back of the race–the last and the least, for suddenly they would be first and best. It would be good news to tax collectors and sinners, shepherds and fishermen, people that knew that they were losing.
But for the people at the front (important and powerful people, self-righteous people), the news might not sound so good. But it WOULD be good; for if you’re running the wrong direction, you will never reach the finish line, no matter how hard you try. In fact, the better you run, the worse you are. And the harder you try, the further behind you get, and the more you would resent the Sign. In that case, the best gift would be for you to run yourself out until you were tired and old, and almost nothing, for then you might be ready to see the Sign and be grateful.
Well, it would be even better if the King and Judge not only told you that you’re running in the wrong direction but showed you how to run in the right direction! And he did! And he was planning it all along. Prophets prophesied about it and Scripture tells us about it.
Here’s an example where Zechariah prophesied about it: “They will look on me, the one they have pierced… (says the Lord) On that day, a fountain (like a river) will be opened to cleanse them from sin.”
Wow! “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” –Who becomes last and least because… He WANTS to!
That’s a paradigm Shift.
While the whole world and everyone in the world is running to be powerful and important, first and best, God is running to be last and least. While the whole world seeks to SAVE their life, God sets everything up so that He can GIVE His life.
If I slow down long enough to see it, to see him, I see that God is love, and love is kickin’ my butt. Love is kickin’ everyone’s butt: “For all we like sheep have gone astray, everyone running his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”
He is the sacrifice to end all sacrifice; or maybe the sacrifice to BEGIN all sacrifice. For true love is the perfect sacrifice. Now, when only ONE sacrifices, it looks like a cross. When TWO sacrifice, it looks like a great marriage. And when EVERYBODY sacrifices… Welcome to the Kingdom of Heaven.
The world runs for power; love runs for weakness.
The world runs for importance; love runs after meekness.
The world runs for temples and capitals and resort hotels, and love runs to tents and mangers and the slums of Calcutta.
The world runs on fear (that’s the beginning of wisdom).
Love runs INTO fear and casts it out. Fear is the beginning of wisdom; Love is the end of fear. Love in flesh, lifted up on a cross, and pierced for the sins of the world is Good News of Great Joy for all people, and it is the sign that is opposed.
What/Who are you running for today?
Whatever the case, know that Love is running toward you!
This devotional was prepared by Peter’s assistant Kimberly Weynen. To dig into these things further, click on the link to read the whole transcript and/or watch the sermon: Simeon