Watch the full episode below and then read the guest blog by Amanda Jenkins.
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“Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are mine.”
Every follower of Jesus has a not-so-great before. A raucous, brash, rash fisherman. A pious, distant, fancy pants religious leader. A thieving, indifferent-to-suffering tax collector. A demon possessed woman so insignificant that her before isn’t even recorded and we’re left to surmise what it might’ve been.
And yet God’s calling happens in the before, when people aren’t even aware that they’re broken versions of themselves. Calling happens before God begins His transformative work of redemption because He sees past the before to what He purposed and planned. He sees past the before to the person He loves enough to call His own.
Take Israel, for example.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you,” was spoken over God’s chosen nation during a time of their rebellion. A time filled with idol worship and wandering hearts and intense callousness to sin, not to mention all the painful consequences they were experiencing as a result of their choices. It was spoken before their repentance.
“I have called you by name, you are mine.” Israel was rebelling against all God had done for them and all He wanted to do. But God didn’t turn away—He showed mercy. He spoke His love over them, claiming them as His own before they agreed to be.
He entered in to the before.
God speaks what is true over us too: His plan of redemption is on the march, because He has called us by name. Our choices don’t derail His. What we see when we look in the mirror doesn’t determine what He sees or who we’ll be by His hand, and so our brokenness doesn’t alter His plans. Nor do circumstances, other people, or our own choices determine our value; our value is assigned by the One to whom we belong.
So we don’t have to fear.
Fear not, you’re not who you’re going to be. Fear not, God can redeem your choices and use them for good. Fear not, God can heal your heart, your body, your relationships. Fear not, you were made for more than what you’ve experienced so far. Fear not, this is only the beginning.
Every follower of Jesus has a not-so-great before. But every follower of Jesus also has an after. The rowdy fisherman became the bedrock preacher of the early church, healer of the sick and lame, and fearless unto death. The leader of impersonal religion became personal friends with Jesus, finally understanding and being changed by the scripture he’d devoted his life to studying. The taxman traitor became a member of the elite twelve and author of the first Gospel of the New Testament.
And the woman? The woman too insignificant to even have her before recorded was so precious to Jesus that she became the first person He appeared to after He rose from the dead, the first one to hear His tender voice, and the first witness of the culmination of all He claimed to be and do—and she got to tell the boys.