St. Etheldreda

A Lesson for today from Saint Etheldreda

This One Thing I Do

Luke 9 is an interesting chapter. Please follow it through with me. The chapter begins with Jesus sending out His disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of God. This may seem a little surprising as this is before Peter's "Great Confession", and so the disciples went out with only an inkling of who Jesus was: but then, they weren't to preach about Jesus, they were to proclaim the "Kingdom of God" and demonstrate it by healing the sick. God's rule and reign were breaking into our space and time.

The disciples were amazed by their mission but, because Jesus had just heard of John the Baptist's execution, He took them to a quiet place where they could rest. They didn't get much quiet as a large crowd followed them. Because He cared, Jesus taught and then fed the crowd in a similar way to Moses in the wilderness, which awakened the Messianic expectations of the Jews. Could this be God's time? Could Jesus be God's man?

Immediately following this, Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was, and Peter answered "You are the Christ of God." This answer carried with it all sorts of expectations about restoring the ancient kingdom of David and getting rid of the Romans. Imagine the disciples' surprise therefore, when Jesus said that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer many things, be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, killed and then three days later rise from the dead. Little wonder Peter tried to rebuke Him. (see Matt 16)

Jesus' vision of the Messiah could not have been more opposed to the expectations of His disciples, and it is easy to imagine them considering seriously whether they wanted to continue with Him or not, until finally God Himself intervened. With Peter, James and John up on a mountain, God showed them a glimpse of His Son's glory and. in no uncertain terms, told them: "This is my Son. I have chosen Him. Listen to Him." God doesn't waste words.

The disciples came back down the mountain where there was an immediate contrast between Peter, James, John, and the remaining nine, which led to an argument as to who would be the greatest. Jesus then explained to them what His Kingdom would be like and "resolutely set out for Jerusalem". What is surprising is how early in the Gospel story Jesus actually set out for Jerusalem and, as the Gospel of Luke continues, how many times we are told exactly where Jesus was headed. Jesus had set His mind on one thing: His Father's will.

Saint Paul, in Philippians 3:13 says "This one thing I do. Forgetting what lies behind…I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus." Paul had set his mind on one thing: to do God's will.

There are many things around us which may demand our time, many distractions. I believe that God is calling His people to be single minded and to set their minds on just one thing: to do His will. It is only when the Church is single minded that the gates of hell will truly be unable to prevail against us. How single minded are you?

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