Sunday, July 19, 2009

Watching...for what? Luke 6

"So they watched him closely". It seems like a good statement to be made about someone, i.e., they kept their eyes fixed on Jesus. Most of us would be proud to have that said about us. Yet, the statement was not a compliment.

The Pharisees watched him closely but they were looking for errors not guidance. They had their hearts set on validating themselves at all costs. So they watched him not to learn, not to grow but to accuse and pick apart.

Jesus, therefore, addressed their hearts. "Quit thinking superficially about the law and look at the real issues," translated very loosely. The issue was doing good or evil, to save or destroy. The issue was never splitting hairs to keep the letter of the law while ignoring the intent.

So how do I view Jesus? Why do I go to church? What lenses do I put on when I look at other Christians or their actions? Do I watch other to pick them apart or to join in the battle of good vs. evil?

Hopefully one day someone will say about me that I watched Jesus closely . . . and it will be a compliment.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Almost There; Luke 5

The first three stories of Luke 5 share an interesting feature. In each one of them, the person in contact with Jesus starts the story with a knowledge of Jesus and some degree of faith. During the Jesus encounter, that person is changed and exits the story quite differently than he entered.

Simon knew Jesus; that is obvious. Jesus climbs in his boat and Simon does not object. After using his boat, Simon addresses Jesus as "master". At worst, it is a nominal familiarity and he is showing respect to a local rabbi. At best, there have been conversations prior to the encounter. Simon leaves the encounter with a new purpose; he is no longer a fisherman but a disciple who will reach out to men.

The leper approaches Jesus and makes a declaration of faith. He leaves the encounter healed physically, restored socially and engaged evangelistically.

The paralytic came to Jesus via the mercy of friends. I wonder if he begged them to help, if they were family, and if he was known to others in the room. In a small village, surely everyone knew him. They probably did not know his faith though. Dropped into an encounter with the healer he left not only walking but strong enough to carry his mat with him.

Three people who all had some degree of faith but their encounter with Jesus moved it to a new level.

So I ask myself do I just know of this man or have I been changed by an encounter? Do I need to encounter him again or am I whole emotionally and spiritually?