Friday, January 18, 2013

Every Incredible Thing

I don't think Jesus thought so much about the things He did.  Not the act of doing them, anyway.

Which is amazing since Jesus did some pretty incredible things.

He turned gallons of water into the finest of wines.  He broke bread not once, but twice, to feed thousands of growling bellies.  He walked on water to calm His disciples in a raging storm.

And I know if I had been there, if i had been standing at the water, I would have rubbed my hands together and thought, "This will be awesome.  Watch this."

Not Jesus.  His thoughts were on the party.  The celebration and the joy.  He wasn't consciously demonstrating anything of Himself; He wasn't out to prove a point.  He had the ability to pour a lavish gift on those in His company, and He did not hesitate to do so, though He admitted this wasn't really what He'd had in mind for His coming out party.  It was still a party, so He provided.

And I know that if I had been there, if I had been holding the breadbasket, I would have started counting crumbs.  I would have done the math and figured out just how much everyone could have, to seem gracious while working within my measly means.

Not Jesus.  His thoughts were on the famished.  The hungry.  He didn't hold up the loaves and profess the miracle He was about to do; He answered His disciples' doubts quietly and did the math.  He gave as much as everyone needed, not only seeming gracious but actually being so, knowing He had enough food to give.  So He gave.

And I know that if I had been there, if I had been shore-side in the storm, I would have shouted platitudes.  I would have run along the shoreline, promising my presence as soon as the waves broke.  I would have shouted to my friends that I'd meet them on the other side.

Not Jesus.  His thoughts were on the stranded, the alone.  He didn't stop to wonder what would happen if they saw Him walking on the water.  He didn't stop to think about what it would mean to defy the laws of physics.  His friends, His beloveds, were desperate for His presence, for His reassuring peace, and a little bit of water nor some crazy storm would stop Him from getting to them.  So He went.

Jesus doesn't think about what it will mean to do the things He's about to do, except what it will mean to the hearts of the men He's going to meet.  When His children cry out to Him - when they celebrate, when they hunger, when they wander, when they worry - He does whatever it takes to get to them.  He does whatever He needs to in order to get there.  Physics isn't His worry, and neither is the impression He will make.

Because He's not so interested in us knowing Him as a God who can walk on water.  Although that's pretty cool.  And He doesn't care if we watch Him break bread until the sun rises.  Again, it's neat, but it's not the God-thing.  Nor does He care much if we know that the best wine come from holied water.  That's not what God is doing.  It's what He's done, but it's not what He's doing.

What God is doing is coming to meet us here.  What He is doing is engaging His people, engaging in this world.  Do you praise a God who defies the very laws of nature that He put into place?  Then all hail Houdini!  That's magic; that's not mystery.

But you stand in awe of a God who defies the very laws of nature that He put into get to you.  You praise the God who comes after you.  You praise the God who celebrates with you, who feeds you, who comes to meet you, who calms you in the storm and then, who calms the storm.  You can't help but glorify the God who will do whatever it takes to get to you.

That's why we praise Him.  That's why we love Him.  That's why He gets to be our God.

And I know that if I had been there, if I had walked the road to Calvary, I would have questioned what good three nails would do.  I would have wondered why I'd have to die like this.  I'd have made a scene; shouted and yelled and declared the glory of what was about to happen.

Not Jesus.  His thoughts were on His children.  He didn't worry about the piercing pain.  He didn't think about what it would mean to a world waiting on a messiah to watch a man die like this.  He didn't concern Himself with what sense the world could make of an empty grave.  His children needed someone to bridge the gap.  They needed someone to close the distance, to come after them so that they could get to Him.  They needed someone to get to them.

So He died.

Every incredible thing God ever did was not to demonstrate that He could.  It was to demonstrate that He would...if only it would bring Him close to you.

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