Monday, October 31, 2016
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John Ashcroft was a United States Senator from Missouri and the committed follower of Jesus Christ, later to become the Attorney General in some of the most recent turbulent days in our country. When Dr. James Dobson interviewed him on his radio program, I was touched by the story Senator Ashcroft told about the day he was sworn into the Senate. He really wanted to be prayed into his new position that day, so he asked about 25 family members and close friends to join him in a room in the Capitol for a time of prayer before his inauguration into the Senate. Great idea! Senator Ashcroft asked his loved ones to stand in a circle around him in a time of dedicatory prayer.
The senator's father remained seated in a big chair because he had a heart condition – a serious one. It turned out that was to be his last day on earth. Believe it or not, the day his son became a United States Senator. The Lord took him to heaven on his way home from Washington. But as everyone stood in that prayer circle, Senator Ashcroft glanced over at his dad, only to see him trying to get up out of that big chair. He said, "Dad, you don't have to struggle to stand." To which his father replied, "Oh, I'm not struggling to stand, John. I'm struggling to kneel." Aren't we all?
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Most Powerful Position On Earth."
Perhaps the most important question Jesus ever asked is, "Do you love Me? (John 21:15). If there is one person in the Gospels whose life shouts "Yes, I do!" it's Mary. The one who lived in a Jerusalem suburb called Bethany. And recently I noticed that there is something that always happens every time Mary is with Jesus.
Incident 1 - Luke 10 - Jesus comes for dinner at the home of Mary and her older sister Martha. While Martha is running around all stressed out over all she's got to do for Jesus, here's what the Bible says Mary is doing. "Mary sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said." Where is Mary? At her Lord's feet, listening to His heart. And when Martha wants Jesus to tell Mary to get busy serving, Jesus says, "Martha, Mary has chosen what is better" (Luke 10:38-42).
Incident 2 - John 12 - A dinner is being given in Jesus' honor at Mary and Martha's house. Mary appears with a jar of expensive perfume, and the Bible says, "She poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped His feet with her hair" (John 12:3). Again, Mary is at the feet of Jesus, kneeling, pouring out her love and her worship.
And then comes the darkest moment of her life to that point. Her beloved brother Lazarus dies. She has sent for Jesus to come heal her brother, but Jesus doesn't come in time. When He finally arrives, four days after the funeral, Mary's really struggling. But notice where we find her in our word for today from the Word of God in John 11:32, "When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she fell at His feet." And then after that came the awesome resurrection miracle of her brother.
Mary knows where we belong when we're with Jesus – at His feet; on our knees. She's at Jesus' feet to listen to what He says. Are you there each new day? She's at His feet, worshipping with a total surrender and amazement. We need that kind of lavish praise and worship regularly. And Mary is on her knees, at Jesus' feet with her struggle in her darkest hour; when life makes no sense, on your knees in front of Jesus is the only place to be.
It was a struggle for the Senator's father to kneel. It's a struggle spiritually and emotionally for some of us who are strong-willed, independent, make-it-happen, controlling type people. We resist being totally vulnerable, totally surrendered in front of Jesus. We just hate to lose control. Because of our pride and our hard heart, we are missing the amazingness of our Savior, the miracles He would love to do, and the deep intimacy with Christ that's reserved for those who are often at His feet with their worship, their questions, and their struggle.
It's not so much a struggle to stand next to Jesus or to do things for Jesus. We're still in control then. But it's a struggle to kneel. But as the Senator's father seemed to understand so deeply, this seemingly powerless position is the most powerful position on earth!