I heard this sermon once that was titled “Jesus wants to Ruin Your Life.” Not exactly the most inspiring sermon title!
But stop and really think about that.
It doesn’t mean that Jesus wants to make us miserable, but I do think Jesus wants to challenge a lot of the attitudes and habits that we pick up along the way.
I was reading in John chapter 5 today. Verses 1-15 tell the story of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath. In verse 8 Jesus tells the man –
“Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk.”
Verse 9 tells us –
“Instantly the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat, and began walking!”
So just imagine this newly healed man, strutting down the local avenue. In verse 5 we learn that he had been sick for 38 years! I’m sure he had a little extra pep in his step. But he didn’t make it far before his celebration was halted by the local religious leaders. Since the miracle had taken place on the Sabbath, they were not happy -
…so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!” (John 5:10)
As I read these verses, I was just astounded. How could they consider themselves “religious leaders”, and yet be so blind to the divine!
They were so wrapped up in following the exact letter of the law (and making sure that everyone else did to!) that they couldn’t even see what was right there in front of them.
God with us!
It’s really quite amazing and sad when you think about it… I think the core reason that the religious leaders struggled with Jesus, is because he messes things up! He challenges all of the religious systems that they’ve put into place. They’ve decided what following God means, and what it should look like, and Jesus comes along and ruins their standard.
In reality he’s still doing that. All of us have these notions of what we think it means to be a “Christian”. What we should look like. What we should sound like. Jesus is still here, challenging us, by messing with our normal. How we react says a lot about where our hearts really are…
Let us never get to the place that we are so wrapped up in our religion that we can’t see the compassionate and healing nature of God. I need that in my own life, and my desire is to be an agent of that compassion and healing to a broken world.
Let our eyes and hearts always be open to see the divine at work in and around us…