Imagine for a moment, you are the men who lowered their friend through the roof or that you are the man himself. The stories have circulated regarding this man who had healed people in each town he went. As he sees the faith of the men, he looks at the paralytic and says, “You’re sins are forgiven.” The expectations were probably different, but Jesus understood the greater needs of the people. We all, are at the point of the paralytic where we are unable to move on our own, spiritually speaking. Yet, Jesus, our Great Physician, welcomed us to come closer in our sickness and receive healing, the true healing that restores our soul.
While there is debate as to what the thorn in Paul’s flesh was referring to, it is undeniable that he indeed had a pronounced weakness. Paul is not alone in this either. Every person has their limits as to how far they are able to achieve. Our muscles get fatigued, our emotions run dry, and our spirit grows weak from time to time. We all have times where we feel empty. Yet, even beyond that, we all endure times when we feel weak and unable to accomplish the task ahead of us. These weaknesses are reminders that we should, first and foremost, run to God.
For everyone who has ever felt drained and empty, Christ offers an alternative. There is the promise of rest for our souls, often times despite the tumultuous situations we find ourselves in. Sure, we will all endure times of feeling drained and our energy lacking, but Jesus seeks to restore our soul eternally. There is rear. There is peace. And there is the easy burden that Christ gives to us.
There are very few times scripturally where the devil appeared face to face with man. The Gospel of Luke is one of those times. This was the standoff between good and evil that would set the tone for the Christ’s mission in the world. The temptation was real in that the devil would be able to offer the things he was offering, but Jesus had no intention of caving in to the demands of the devil. Whatever authority the devil had to do anything, Jesus would strip is away piece by piece until there is nothing left. Jesus did not come in self aggrandizement or to enslave himself for the sake of becoming like mankind. Christ came as a servant to reign victorious and overthrow the forces of evil that have tempted you and I.
Following Jesus Christ comes with a great cost. But, more importantly, it comes with a great reward. Maintaining the image that the world finds acceptable leads to the forfeiting of our eternal standing with God. The values of the world and things we are directed to chase and endure are incompatible with the richness of following Christ. In the end, we all have the same choice to make; which will we follow? Will we choose to follow the ambitious path of being acceptable to the world, or will we choose to rest at the feet of Jesus, knowing full well our faith and hope is in Him for all eternity?
Salvation is by grace and grace alone. Yet, it is that salvation that fuels the light on the hill. When the Spirit begins weaving his presence through the fabric of our existence, the world notices. Our faith is worth expressing beyond the Sunday morning experience. Now is the time to rise out with a radical outpouring of the love God has given us on the world crying out in anguish.
The best I am able to bring in my approach of God is not enough. The standard of God is perfection. Thinking we are able to meet the standard of perfection without the help of God attempts to bypass the cross. When standing on merit of what we do, our works can only be viewed as filthy rags, unfit to stand before the presence of God. Yet the message of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ seems to stand in contradiction. We are invited to approach the throne room of God with confidence. We are called into deeper and meaningful relationship with our creator and maker. We are more than even our best because of Christ who goes before us and redeems us. Our response is nothing less than full devotion to God.
Our fear rests in knowing full well what we have done. We can try and justify our lives as good enough to have earned the blessing of God by getting defensive and zeroing in on our successes that we completely ignore our flaws, which have grown at a tremendous rate. Or we do the opposite and focus solely on our sins and paint the picture that God is merely trying to rid the world of sin and that God only sees our sin. Both of these are far from the truth.
John The Baptist had sought to prepare the hearts and minds of those in the world for the coming of the Savior. With the birth of Jesus the stage was set for the work of the Messiah. 30 years into the His life, the ministry of Jesus Christ was inaugurated by His baptism. At the outset, Luke clearly lays out the mission and direction of Jesus Christ. Luke shows where Christ stood in the grand scheme of eternity and the biblical narrative. As the Spirit of God descends on Jesus, in the physical form of a dove, the Father voice commandingly booms from heaven. The fullness of God, all three persons of the Trinity have converged in this moment to rescue mankind.
Jesus Christ is an allergy to the earthly desire. When two incompatible things compete with one another, only one can remain. The other will be destroyed or leave. When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, we are not immune from the same persecution he faced. While the world makes us a Pariah for following Christ, we Yet, we can take heart and hold to the confidence rooted in our allegiance with the God who is victorious.