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Riassunto: On the night he was betrayed, Jesus stood on the threshold of the greatest personal crisis any human being would ever face. John's account of that night not only records for us the events of that evening, but also offers a remarkable profile of One who not only is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the cosmic storm raging, but who uses his last supper with his disciples as a seminar to equip them for the inevitable life crises they will face as his followers. Crises afflict the lives of nearly every believer, so Navigating Your Perfect Storm looks at five anchors and two admonitions Jesus put in his disciples' grasp to pull them through life?like kedge anchors once deployed on sailing ships on windless days. While the anchors offered to the disciples are significant, Jesus also admonishes his disciples, first by framing the crises of life with an eternal perspective?the reality of an unseen eternal kingdom?that will provide peace when the material world is in upheaval. Second, Jesus warns that those who follow him should not be so foolish or proud as to think they are exempt from the storms. Navigating Your Perfect Storm is not a series of sermons or a how-to self-help book, but a set of reflections, insights, and illustrations for those who seek to follow Jesus today in a turbulent world.
I was arrested. No handcuffs or reading me my rights, but nearly as dramatic and, for me, life changing. I was sitting in my office, literally, just minding my own homiletic business, preparing a communion message for the following Sunday. When I read John 13, I was arrested by something I had read a hundred times before! I had mentally just skimmed over it all those other times, because it was, after all, introductory. But my attention was seized in a way it had never been before or since.
It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God. (vv. 1-3, emphasis added)
Verse 3 took me prisoner that day, and opened up for me one of the most remarkable passages of Scripture: John 13-16, called the Upper Room Discourse or the Farewell Discourse. I soon discovered that other than the standard commentaries, there was almost nothing written about the Farewell Discourse. Don Carson's small volume (The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus, Baker Book House, 1980) was the only thing I could find, in contrast to the numerous books written on the Sermon on the Mount or Jesus' Prophetic Sermon, the Olivet Discourse.
As I continued to focus on John 13:3 at the start of the Farewell Discourse, I could not help but also be seized by John 16:33:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Somehow I realized that between these two bookends of this remarkable portion of Scripture was an answer to my question, What do I say to these people who are in a crisis?
As a pastor for nearly thirty years, I have always felt inadequate in those times of crisis that every pastor faces. I recall those times as I drove in the car to intervene in a crisis of a family when I prayed, Lord, what can I say to this family? Lord, what can I do that will make a difference? Lord, help me! I am in over my head on this one. Jesus, when you said, "Take heart!" that sounds so full of promise. When I say it, it sounds so empty.
Crises come in various shapes and sizes. In my world they never seem to let up. Though I am no longer shepherding a congregation, hardly a day goes by that a friend or colleague is not suddenly thrust into a crisis of some kind--loss of a child, loss of a job, critical health issue, broken marriage, or some major injustice.
Sometimes it is the Valley of Baca (valley of "tears," as in Psalm 84:6). Sometimes it is the valley of the shadow of death. It is Jesus who told us, "Take heart." Perhaps that is why Christians call Jesus the "lily of the valleys"-- not the lily of the valley (based on Song of Songs 2:1). He is with us in all the valleys; and he wants us to learn from his words and his example how to master our crises in life. In John 13-16, as I began to see, Scripture provides an inviting portrait of Jesus, the lily of the valleys, who wants to coach us through times of crisis. Jesus spoke to his disciples on the eve of the greatest personal crisis anyone could possibly imagine, as the forces of hell were unleashed on the God-Man. Yet, we see Jesus this night--as always--in possession of complete health, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Not only was he well prepared for the moment, he used the evening to coach his disciples on navigating the storm they were facing on their journey.
The lessons I drew from John 13-16 so clearly ministered to the needs of the Alliance missionaries in Indonesia that I continued to teach from this arresting portion of God's Word over the following few years to missionaries in France, the Middle East, Argentina, and, finally, in the Philippines. God's word spoke to people in times of crisis in profound ways. After some years of presenting these insights in various setting around the world, I have been encouraged to render them into book form. As I pulled together a very rough first draft, I felt at times as if I was trying to scoop water out of the ocean with my hands in order to fill a pail, knowing that while there is more than enough water to overflow the pail, my cupped yet leaky hands are inadequate for the task. After all, who am I to presume to write about such things? What do I really know about hardship and suffering and crisis? Most of my difficult seasons have been like a few passing clouds compared to the dark thunderstorms that have ruined others' lives. To paraphrase Paul, my light and momentary suffering has been nothing compared with what others have passed through.
Then, at the end of 2005, not long after I roughed out a first draft, I was diagnosed with an incurable lung disease, sarcoidosis, which had already advanced to stage four (interstitial pulmonary fibrosis) by the time it was diagnosed. My life changed. My job as Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals came to an end. I went on disability. My wife went back to work fulltime while I went on oxygen fulltime. While a barrage of medications helps to slow the advance of the disease, short of divine healing, I am dying.
Sometime later, as I began to review the lessons I had sketched out in my rough draft from the Farewell Discourse, I realized that the truths I had taught others began ministering to my spirit in ways I could not have imagined. So, this is no academic treatise for me. I am in a life and death crisis of my own. The insights in this book are not so much lessons from my journey but lessons for my journey. These truths gathered from God's Word that have been a great encouragement to others now have encouraged me.
Navigating Your Perfect Storm explores how Jesus--on the threshold of his unprecedented and unparalleled life crisis--prepared his disciples for the crises that he promised his followers would encounter on their spiritual journeys. This book is drawn from John's account--his seminar notes, missing from the other Gospels--of Jesus' crash course on survival skills. For John it was more than just "on the night he was betrayed." Jesus was only hours away from experiencing the full fury of hell unleashed against him. John 13-16 not only records for us the events of that evening but also offers a remarkable profile of one who is mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared for the cosmic conflict we call Good Friday. He had come to the fulcrum of his earthly life and, more importantly, the pivotal moment of all human history, and he had come as fully prepared as one can be. Yet, in the face of his own crisis, Jesus used his last supper with his disciples to equip them for the inevitable life crises they would face as his followers.
Navigating Your Perfect Storm begins by setting the background for the Last Supper and the seminar that accompanied it. Jesus had prepared for this moment through a lifetime of events--including the critical temptations in the wilderness--by which he had learned the spiritual disciplines he needed to master. Those lessons included not only learning the supremacy of the spirit over the flesh but also extended to resisting the temptation to call on the myriads of angels at his disposal.
Navigating Your Perfect Storm is not a series of sermons or a how-to self-help book, but a set of reflections, insights, and illustrations--based on the seminar notes that John took on our behalf--for those who seek to follow Jesus today. As our world increasingly crumbles, Jesus offers peace for those who will deploy his anchors and heed his admonitions.
Dr. Bob Wenz
Condizione libro: Used
Descrizione libro IVP Books, 2010. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110830857117