Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thinking Too Highly Of Myself

There is one innocent looking verse in the gospels that continues to challenge me every time I read it.

"When Jesus arrived and saw a large crowd, he had compassion for them and healed those who were sick." (Matthew 14:14)

Doesn't look like much by itself but when you put it in context with what was going on it becomes something awesome.

Jesus had just found out that the forerunner, his cousin John, had been illegally beheaded. Some don't attribute much emotion to Jesus but we see when he gets angry, when he cries, when he is frustrated, and here he probably feels a tone of different emotions.

Like most people who need time to process loss, Jesus just wanted to get away for a little bit. After receiving the news he jumps in a boat with his disciples to head off to a remote place. But suffering humanity anticipated where he would go and beat him there. So instead of finding solitude he was confronted by a desperate multitude of suffering people.

To be honest, if it was me, I would have been ticked off. I would have focused on how I was feeling and the fact that I needed some healing time. Most people would agree with me, but not Jesus. When he looked on those people he was filled with compassion. Once again, for the sake of other people, Jesus set aside his own needs. Not only did he have compassion, he acted on it and spent the rest of the day ministering out of his own need.

Now before we all shrug our shoulders saying, "He's God. No big deal", let's remember that he was here as one of us. He set aside his divinity. He was able to do what he did because he was anointed by the Spirit not because he was divine. So all those emotions were real. His mental stress was real. His physical exhaustion was real. His need for rest was real. But he also knew and understood the power he possessed through the Spirit and love was his driving force. Jesus was no more than we are who are possessed by the same Spirit, except he understood and acted on love much more than we do.

So, every time I am tempted to think that I have it together and I am pretty mature as a Christian, I remember this moment. I remember and I examine how I respond to people when I am tired and stressed. I examine and repent of my failure to live with love as my driving force. I have come a long way since the moment of my salvation 32 years ago but I am still in need of a lot of growth in my spiritual maturity. To be more like Jesus day by day must be our anthem.

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