Tuesday, May 29, 2007
What Kind of Man?
I've just managed to get through Luke 6, 7 and 8. And as I read, I've been thinking about what Luke chose to include in his accounts of Jesus. I know from the book of Colossians that Luke was a physician. He's a detailed guy. An observer. A scientist. And that's the kind of narrative he makes in this book. Details. Observations. He's a "just the facts, ma'am," kind of writer.
So what does he include? A surprising fish catch, the healing of leprosy, Jesus making friends with a tax collector, a long discussion of values, Jesus healing a slave, Jesus raising a boy from the dead, and the story of a "madman" who is made completely well again. Quite a list isn't it?
Whoever this Jesus was, if we trust this account, he had some pretty amazing power. Raising the dead is big stuff in my book. Even in modern fiction that kind of power is out of our reach. But with this simple guy, it seems to be "business as usual."
I think it's interesting to look at the responses of the people who observe these events. Some are overcome by fear and reverence and the book says that they "praised God." Some listened to Jesus and said, "Who does this man think he is?" Some, who had seen the most unusual things begged Jesus to go and leave them alone.
It occurs to me that things haven't changed much have they? People are still responding to Jesus. Some instantly respond to him, and understand who he was and what he meant to accomplish. They turn immediately to God -- buying the whole story, hook line and sinker. Others mock him. 'Ah, come on. He had to be nuts!" And still others, just want to avoid him.
But one man, one very simple man had a different respnonse.
He'd been considered crazy. He'd been chained and naked, alone and ostracized all his life. Then Jesus walks in. With a single command, this crazy man finds his life made completely right. At the story's end, he is dressed and in his right mind. And what is his response?
"Please, let me go with you?"
Why not? Why would you want to stay behind? After you've been hated by your neighbors, forgotten, ridiculed, abandoned, why would you want to stay? But Jesus says this. "Stay here, and tell others what has happened to you."
A surprise to the healed man, I'm sure. But not so surprising, if you stop to think about it.
For cenuries, we're still doing it. We're still talking about the things Jesus has done for us. I've been delivered from a hatred and anger that held me in chains as real as those who held the crazy man. Jesus delivered me. He blew away my anger -- like dust. And he set me free from the kind of hate that would destroy me (from the inside out). I'm still telling people about what happened. You see, like these gospel reporters, I've seen Jesus in action. And, I want to tell others about it.
So, tell me. What has Jesus done for you lately? And how have you responded?