8 June, Saturday – Come On! Follow Me!

8 June 2019

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Acts 28:16-20,30-31

On our arrival in Rome Paul was allowed to stay in lodgings of his own with the soldier who guarded him.
 
After three days he called together the leading Jews. When they had assembled, he said to them, ‘Brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and would have set me free, since they found me guilty of nothing involving the death penalty; but the Jews lodged an objection, and I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation to make against my own nation. That is why I have asked to see you and talk to you, for it is on account of the hope of Israel that I wear this chain.’
Paul spent the whole of the two years in his own rented lodging. He welcomed all who came to visit him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ with complete freedom and without hindrance from anyone.
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John 21:20-25
Peter turned and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them – the one who had leaned on his breast at the supper and had said to him, ‘Lord, who is it that will betray you?’ Seeing him, Peter said to Jesus, ‘What about him, Lord?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come, what does it matter to you? You are to follow me.’ The rumour then went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus had not said to Peter, ‘He will not die’, but, ‘If I want him to stay behind till I come.’
This disciple is the one who vouches for these things and has written them down, and we know that his testimony is true.
There were many other things that Jesus did; if all were written down, the world itself, I suppose, would not hold all the books that would have to be written.
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You are to follow me

 Last year while on pilgrimage in Europe, we stopped by Zaragosa where one of the local guides, a rather scholarly-looking man with a grey beard, led us through the cathedral with a rather distinctive, “Come on, follow me!” whenever he needed our group of 30 to move due to the rather large crowd within the centuries-old building.

Sometimes, I wish those around me would be just as obliging and obedient. As we prepare for a hectic and significant year in our young history, I struggle to get my team of millenials and young parents (very evenly balanced between make and female as well) to be on their toes and to level up in terms of delivering on projects and their work. I have been questioning my leadership style of late, wondering what it is that I lack in order to get my people to go above and beyond for me – just like the apostles did for Jesus.

Those who follow football will know of the incredible season that Liverpool is having under their coach of 3 years, Jurgen Klopp. He truly epitomises the kind of leader I admire – motivating, empathetic, always smiling and definitely has a personal bond with every single one of his players (it is plainly obvious from the hugs he gives, even to those who have been sidelined). What a truly loving mentor he is!

Even a former captain said that he is jealous that the current squad get to play for such an inspiring coach – who finally won a cup final at the seventh try. He has certainly turned ‘doubters’ in ‘believers’ and in a span of 4 short years, the club is back where it belongs – at the pinnacle of European football.

Brothers and sisters, are we jealous of the apostles, who got to walk with Jesus during His ministry and witnessed first-hand, all those miracles he performed? We ‘follow’ many stars and pay good money to watch performances when they come to our shores (or even within the region). But do we pursue Christ with the same passion and zeal? At a recent young adult retreat preparation camp, we shared about what passion and zeal means as a Christian. The word ‘passion’ came from that very seminal moment in history – Jesus’ passion as he approached his death. Along the centuries, the word has taken on different meanings but its root comes from the love of a god who gave us His only son and who, in turn, gave up His life for us because He loved us.

And why would such an awesome God do that for you and me? Because He created us in His image and saw that it was good. Brothers and sisters, you and I are good. There is no need for any comparison nor any qualification of how good we are. Because God says that we are good and that is why we can walk in his footsteps and follow Him to our eternal home in paradise.

(Today’s Oxygen by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Father, we thank you for making us good. So good that you call us your sons and daughters.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Lord, for all the times you have held on to us, in spite of our doubts, failures and propensity to sin.

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