Monday, September 13, 2010

Are We Really That Dumb?

There are times I think we are the dumbest creatures on the planet. Oh sure, we have thumbs that give us a great advantage and we think on a much higher level than the rest of the beasts who share our oxygen but you don't see any of them worrying themselves to death. I dare say that the vast majority of us have some level of anxiety, fear or worry in our lives and most of the things that cause it for us, we have no control over. It is as silly as worrying that the sun won't rise tomorrow. Even if it doesn't, there is nothing we can do about it.

For 100s of millions of us this goes beyond just accepting our fate and dealing with it; we claim to have faith in Jesus Christ. We say that we have surrendered our lives to him. We say that we are only here to serve him, to spread the good news, to be a light, to add flavour to lives that are desperate for it. We say it but what do our lives really reveal as the fear of tomorrow paralyzes us? What are we saying to our neighbours when we "boohoo" about not having money to pay our bills, or about our failing health, or about the strained relations with some family member, or about our dying child in the hospital? Are we not declaring that the Jesus we profess is a lie and that we don't believe he can do any of the stuff we have been claiming he can do?

In the holy Scriptures we find a moment of clarity for those who were following Jesus at the time. It was a moment that took place during their daily activity. There was no prior announcement that it was approaching. There was no lead up to it at all. Jesus did not even give a heads up; "Hey guys, watch this". It happened out of the blue and it came by way of a Gentile; a Roman soldier; a Centurion of all people:

"Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."

An amazing statement, considering who was doing the asking. He received a surprising response:

"I will go and heal him."

Yikes! Now there is political suicide for you. Jesus, a proper Jew, albeit a Galilean, but still, even THEY knew how to behave around Gentiles. He was prepared to break the law by associating with a Gentile; to go to his home even?

And what about the Zealots? Here this great Rabi, the healer of the sick, the lover of the sinner, was about to conspire with the occupying force?

But this is where the moment happens. In no more time than it takes to exhale we are given this great moment of inspiring faith that millions of followers still struggle to demonstrate to the world today:

"Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." (Matthew 8:8-9)

Say again? A Gentile who understands the authority of Jesus, that all he has to do is speak and everything in creation, good and bad, must obey? Do you know how awesome this moment was? Even Jesus was caught by surprise:

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, "I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. (Matthew 8:10)

Imagine that; surprising Jesus. I'm grinning now just thinking about it. I picture Jesus grinning too. I picture Jesus grinning a lot. What a moment of clarity, that even those with sparse knowledge of Jehovah could look at Jesus and understand his power and authority.

So what is our problem? We know him, worship him, admire him, follow him, express our desire to be like him but fail to understand him and to trust him? I don't get it. Does the world have more faith than the believer?

Perhaps the problem is we don't know him as we aught to know him. Perhaps if we got to know him better, spend more time with him instead of filling our lives with things about him. Perhaps if we talked more with him we would actually begin to see him for who he is. From what I understand he is extremely approachable and always available. If we have only known him through our parents, friends, aunts and uncles, preachers and teachers then we haven't really known him at all; only known of him. No wonder we are so full of fear, anxiety and worry; we haven't met the one who holds our days in his hands. It's about time we do, don't you think?

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." (Matthew 11:28-29) 

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