The Pressure to Perform
Sunday 24 March 2019
We thank Pastor James Bahn for the good news this week. Pastor James takes the opportunity this week to reflect on one of the ways God blesses his children and how it took the supreme sacrifice of His Son in order to do it.
John 19:28-30
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfil the Scripture), "I thirst." 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth.

30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
We are born into a world that seems full of pressures. We feel compelled to strive and compete to get this result or that result, some arbitrary line where we "win" or "lose" compared to other people; be it in our works, our possessions, our appearance, our status, our family, our achievements or any number of different "competitions" that seem to be going on around us. If we win, we feel pride and feel justified by the praise of those around us. If we lose, we feel shame and feel persecuted by the condemnation of those around us. The sad thing is that even if we "win" in these competitions the reward is no better than sour wine. It doesn't slake our thirst, it doesn't satisfy our need.

God sent down His Son not to change the rules, but to change the game. Though Jesus was without sin, He was judged, slandered, abused, betrayed, humiliated, tempted by Satan, denied by His disciples and even crucified on the cross. He showed us that salvation does not come from the world, it comes from God. When Jesus said "It is finished" he showed the world game for what it was: shallow, misguided and irrelevant. The only important thing is to try to walk with God.

Jesus revealed to us that we are all sinners, even His disciples. No one but He is perfect. God understands and loves us regardless and forgives our sins so that we may pick ourselves up when we fall and keep walking towards God. God wants to be with us and wants us to be with Him. He wants us to love Him as much as He loves us and to just keep on getting up and moving closer, getting up and moving closer every day, every moment, every second with all of our will. He shows us that relying on the world will not help us do this, relying on Him will.

The Scriptures provide a map to God. Jesus walked that path to prove to us its truth. When we stray from the path we hurt ourselves, others and God. When we follow the path we benefit ourselves, others and God. Let us, too, say to this world "It is finished" and instead struggle with all our might to keep on that path to God. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Author: Stan Williams
Photography: Stan Williams