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After My Master  

We are just back from a trip to Israel.

In eight days of audio and video recording, we interviewed 18 different people for some upcoming Moody Radio specials. Among them is a guy named Nizar Touma. He is pastor of the church of the Nazarene in the heart of Nazareth.

If you’ve never been there, here’s what would likely surprise you if you were to visit Jesus’ hometown today.

First, Nazareth is noisy. It's a city of nearly 80,000 with all the bustle and business of a busy place. Indeed, Nazareth is the largest Arab city in all of Israel.

Second, it’s hilly. Remember, it was in Nazareth where they tried to throw Jesus off a cliff. In the 2000 years since His sandals crisscrossed this land, the peaks haven’t flattened out any.

Third, Nazareth—in fact, the whole region—still has little interest in the Nazarene we know as Jesus.

Not so with Nizar Touma. Introducing himself, he told us, “I’m a native of Nazareth. I was born here. I’ve lived here. I met Jesus in His hometown. I became His disciple.”

Then he offered this summary: “I’m a person who is after His Master. I am pastoring the church, ministering in Nazareth, reaching out to the Arabic-speaking community for the last 21 years."

That description of his still grips me: “I’m a person who is after His Master.” Could I say the same thing? Could you?

We go to church, give our money, help with Sunday School, do our devotions. And on and on. Those are good things, but their achievement doesn’t necessarily answer the question, am I after my Master?

Not unlike the Pharisees of Jesus’ day, we Christians love a check box religion. The problem is, we can “do the list” but not really love the Lord.

In Mathew 15, Jesus quoted Isaiah when He said of the Pharisees, "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."

Time to check our hearts!

Me? I want to be “after my Master.”

 

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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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