what would your Jesus do…?

Confronted with endless crowds of desperately needy people, what should Jesus do.
He and his friends are making the rounds – now, to Simon’s house.
Simon’s mother-in-law has been ill – Jesus soon puts her right;
she is so remarkably well that she is able to honour her guests by serving them.

Word get out that strange and wonderful things are happening
and soon the place is surrounded – help is needed, and it’s help they get – well into the night.
But come morning, what do you think has happened?
Jesus is gone…missing…his friends find him off in the fields, alone, praying.
“Come back” they say – “everyone is looking for you…waiting for you…”
Clearly there is more work to be done –
misery and suffering have a long shelf life in any generation…
“the people are waiting – what shall we tell them?”

If you were to write your own conclusion, how would Jesus answer?
What would your Jesus do?

Your answer will tell you much about your present situation
much about the way you view God’s power and God’s…ability to get things done.
The God we long for – the Jesus we sing about in our favorite hymns
would return to the work until everyone was healed.
The God we long for would leave no suffering – no symptom – no sign of pain or hurt.
Our faith has made much of the power – the unlimited, omnipotent power of God –
and yet – Jesus does not follow that  path.

“It’s time for me to be moving on” he says.
“Let’s leave this place and bring the word to other places.  Our work here is done”

that doesn’t sound like my Jesus…what’s going on here?
Where’s the compassion?  The mercy of God?
The unlimited power of the Creator of the Universe?
This all sounds very arbitrary…Jesus heals this one, but not that one.
God’s power available on Tuesday, but not Wednesday –
“Sorry folks, shows over – better luck next time…”

There is so much to be done!  There are suffering people back there,
and you want us to pick up our stuff and move on?

I was privileged to have a very spirited discussion along these lines recently
the argument goes something like this:
the world is screwed up – badly.
God, in God’s own wisdom, made this possible by giving us free will –
so God should now undo that error and fix things –
there is so much damage that even our best efforts will not set things right.
“Your people are waiting, Jesus…what shall we tell them?”

Our Jesus should be able to answer this dilemma.
Our Jesus would turn and answer and heal and minister, and teach and save.
Our God is an awesome God…

And still we realize the awful truth.
Not everyone who calls out to God receives “the miracle”.
Not everyone in that crowd of sick and suffering souls
found relief at the hands of the Saviour that day.
One patient is healed – another suffers and waits and dies.
Your prayers are answered and mine are not –
she praises God’s mercy – he curses God’s indifference
that is the reality we live in – Jesus is a part of that reality too.

Having done what he could do – Jesus seeks the solitude that keeps him connected to God –
he went out to a deserted place; and there he prayed
and the wisdom that comes from his encounter in prayer leads him to depart;
there is other work to do – “…proclaim the message …” in the surrounding towns
This is what I came to do, he says – this too, is work that needs doing.
And so Jesus travels from choice to choice –
always, it seems, leaving work yet to be done.

What kind of God is this?  What kind of Saviour?  What kind of mission?

Friends – this is our God –
One who works deliberately, carefully, intimately with us, if we’ll allow it.
This is our Saviour – who changes one life –
and then lets that changed life continue to tell the story of Salvation,
so that – in the telling – in the sharing – another life is changed.

And this is our mission.
To experience the destruction that we have wrought – to confess our part in it
and then to seek the change that God would bring
– in us, through Christ –
to live free from our burden of guilt –
to live in harmony with our created purpose
and give others the chance to ask “What makes you so different?”

This change will not cure cancer – it will not halt the scourge of HIV AIDS –
Our personal transformation will not end war, or poverty,
or cure the common cold
but it will bring God’s kingdom one step closer to completion.

Let us turn toward the work that waits for us,
and not be discouraged by it
we cannot do it all.
We can proclaim the message
– we can share our experience with the living God
– the Risen Christ
– the present Spirit –
for that is what we are called to do.

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