Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
It seems like any time I’m in a small group and someone is asked to share a devotion, they pull out Jesus Calling, or one of the spinoffs. You’re familiar, right? Jesus Calling, the devotion book written by Sarah Young that is as if Jesus were speaking directly to us?
It’s great. Prayerfully written, and thoughtful. As if Jesus were stepping out of scripture, pulling us aside, and whispering something wise in our ears.
As of 2015 15 million copies have been sold, along with additional books in the series. (As someone who put out a book of devotions this year, I can attest she kind of corners the market with this stuff!) I dare say there are many who pull out Jesus Calling more often than the Bible!
To the millions of Sarah Young fans out there, can I offer a thought?
The Jesus of our faith doesn’t (shouldn’t) have just one voice. Did you know that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John present very different voices for Jesus? Matthew points to Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Mark offers a mysterious account of the savior. Luke reveals a Jesus who cares for the sick and the oppressed. John reveals Jesus as the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, and much more.
Sarah’s Jesus? I’m honestly no expert on her writing, but Jesus seems to be a tender, wise mentor who speaks to us where we live in our daily lives. It’s a good Jesus. A welcome Jesus.
It’s a valuable spiritual exercise to listen for and share Jesus’ voice, as Sarah does, but I need more. On my bookshelf, along with Jesus Calling, I’d like to see:
Jesus Yelling. Words of a frustrated savior saying things like “Get behind me, Satan”, desperate for His followers to actually follow him.
Jesus Weeping. The voice of Jesus crying over Jerusalem, and any other place on Earth that punishes prophets and turns a blind eye to justice.
Jesus Laughing. The delight of daily living expressed in the kinds of in-between moments Gospel writers might not usually catch.
Jesus Prodding. A not-so-gentle reminder of the need for pruning, the danger of hypocrisy, and the urgency of the mission.
These books, if they existed, could accentuate the work the Gospels already do so well. They could remind us that Jesus is more than a one-note Messiah. The Christ of our faith has many voices that speak.
Nothing is going to replace the Holy Bible. But Sarah has pointed us to a more intimate conversation with Jesus than we may have previously imagined.
How is Jesus calling you to speak on his behalf?
devotion writing isn’t just for the Young.
Have a great week,
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