When Elliot Ness decides to take on Al Capone he discovers something – there is a shortage of trustworthy cops in Chicago. Corruption has seeped into all walks of life. So he carefully handpicks a small group of crimefighters, those he can trust who will follow this thing through. He befriends an old Irish cop who tells him the best way to find clean cops is to sidestep the system and go to the training school, thus grabbing the raw material, the guys yet unaffected by the city and its ways. At one point in John 15 Jesus tells his friends, ‘You didn’t choose me, I chose you.’ Which is both true and a little surprising. Rabbis usually waited for new pupils to come to them and request tuition. But Jesus was like Elliot Ness – he sidestepped the systems of his day and went looking for surprising disciples. Those that others had overlooked. People who were hungry for hope. He had already outlined his mission, to find those lost, those who were broken, sad, struggling, poor, those who longed for mercy and justice, those who knew they were not the best thing since sliced bread. And so he assembled a ragtag bunch of women and men, old and young, choosing them, calling them to walk with him down a road full of twists, turns, surprises and crossroads. The same road we find ourselves on. Life goes on. And Jesus continues to choose us to follow him. Offering us strength and comfort, challenge and a shoulder to lean on. As we wheel, sprint and limp together. Jesus’s care for others was unprecedented and remarkable, along with his courage for speaking truth to those with the power. His hands and heart remain open to us, in a world which can be cynical, brittle and down-treading.
I regularly post creative pieces which help folks connect with the Bible in a contemporary and down-to-earth way. Please feel free to make use of them if they inspire you. I also post daily short thoughts on Twitter and have produced a variety of books, most of which draw on the Bible.