Isaiah 49:1-7; Psalm 71:1-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 15:1-16 (read online ⧉)
Isaiah’s lament is that of a lover of God who cannot overcome the hardened hearts of others. Isaiah knows what his anointed purpose is. He also is experiencing some difficulties in getting the people to respond to God. He has not lost hope. His hope and trust are in God, not in the people of Israel actually responding. His value is in his obedience, not his success.
Paul’s words to the Corinthians while not as heavy-hearted as Isaiah’s lament still carries in it the reality that God’s message will not always be heard. God is supposed to be the stone upon which Israel was built, so Paul described the mystery of the cross a stumbling block. The Gentiles treasured (or hoarded) wisdom and knowledge, so Paul called the mystery of the cross foolishness.
When we begin to draw upon the true vine, the mystery of the cross becomes a stepping stone and foundation, and not a stumbling block. The mystery of the cross becomes our wisdom as we draw on God’s wisdom, rather than the world’s.
As we all draw upon the vine, we become more “of one mind”. Our way of thinking transforms from selfishness to selflessness. That doesn’t mean we all don’t have more transforming to do, but it is by drawing on the True Vine that we can do it.
As we become of one mind with each other, we become (ever so slowly, it seems) of one mind with Christ. We no longer have to be directed for each step, but through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we act as Jesus would.
1. Much of the world looks at Christianity as foolishness, if not downright dangerous. Are you able to see what they see when they look at Christianity? If not, how can you relate Christianity (and therefore the Gospel) to them?
2. Selflessness can grow without Christ. How does it do so?
3. Can you be selfish and a Christian? How do you reconcile that with the growth of selflessness in the Christian?