Over the Easter weekend a link for the musical “Jesus” (by Trinity Broadcasting Network) was circulating like crazy. Every Christian chat group I was in had someone sharing. Initially, I ignored it, thinking to myself “Ahh, it’s just another free show to watch. It’s evangelistic, I’m already a believer. Nah, I’ll give it a miss”. But more and more people started sharing it. Besides just sharing the link, they added their experience from watching it. Comments like, “The set is AMAZING!”, or “The scene with the leper made me cry”. But the thing that caught my attention was, “It’s only going to be free till midnight!”. So, in true Singaporean spirit I decided to watch it.
I have no regrets. It was such an amazing set; the script and narrative gave me a glimpse of the humour we may have missed through static words. The richness of the culture and traditions we miss, coming from a different time and space. And the portrayal of the fierce intentionality with which Jesus came to be one of us, to share his kingdom, to share his love, to die on the cross.
The scene that struck me most was when Jesus left his popularity behind. He rode across the Sea of Galilee to free the man named Legion. With fierce intentionality, he crossed the sea with his disciples, calmed the storm, and freed that man. Jesus did not care about popular opinion. He went. Jesus did not look at the storm and go, “Oh, this must not be God’s will. For if it is God’s will, my journey to save that man would be smooth sailing”. We fall into the trap of pleasing man, not God. We think that every obstacle is a sign that we are not on the right track. Jesus was not afraid to confront the Pharisees about their legalistic ways. He was not afraid to fight for what was right. Social norms dictate that we do all things peaceably or sit back and take it. But if something is unjust, we should “bear arms” and fight!
The scene continues with his disciples arguing that sounded so relatable. “What?! We came all the way here for this guy? Only to be chased out by the villagers?! What an utter waste of time!”. Peter retorts, “Guys, have you forgotten, that once upon a time we were also the one that Jesus left the ninety-nine to find?”. Oh, how that line stung me. I had forgotten what it was like when Jesus came for me in fierce pursuit of my heart. And it was his mandate that I go after the “one” as well. I let inconvenience stop me; fear of rejection to overcome me. I let the opinions of others outweigh how I valued what God thought of me. Jesus never promised a smooth sailing life. But he promised shelter and refuge, his favour over us, his power to overcome. He promised his very self.
Loving people will hurt. But like a parent to a child, you do not stop loving them just because you got hurt. Jesus himself has been hurt by us so many times, do you think that he stops loving us? No, he instead empowers us to love the way he loves, by loving us while we were still his enemies.
So, take some time to thank God for pursuing and loving you. Ask him to show you where and who you have stopped loving. Ask for a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26). Pray for wisdom as you embark on this journey to share God’s kingdom with new found fierce intentionality.
“Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12
By Clarine Tan, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 3 May 2020)