Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Referral to a Specialist

A second group of persons in the Gospels who are seen coming to Jesus are those who do not come at all, but rather, are brought.

What this means is that someone in their lives has seen the power of Jesus, believes in the name of Christ, and will do whatever it takes to get their hurting loved one to Him, on the chance that Jesus might have mercy and heal them. 

Here, for example, we see the demon-possessed son of the man who cries, "Help my unbelief!" He actually brought his son twice for healing, first to the disciples and then to Jesus Himself. The disciples were unable to cast the demon out of the boy; Jesus was able. The son is brought because the man understands that this is the only chance he has to get his son back. And when the power of God as distributed to the disciples fails, he keeps pushing toward God Himself in Jesus. He won't take no for an answer; not when it comes to his son.

We see also the paralytic whose friends carried him on a mat to the place where Jesus was teaching. These friends ran right into a throng of persons and could reasonably go no further. So they did the unreasonable, hoisted their friend onto the ceiling of a stranger's home with them, cut a hole in the roof of a stranger's house, and lowered their friend, mat and all, right in front of Jesus's feet. They would not take no for an answer, not when it came to their friend. 

The army officer from Capernaum could not bring his servant to Jesus, so he sent another servant on his behalf to plead for the healing of the sick man. There was nothing that the world could do for him, but he would not take no for an answer. Not when the God of "yes" was passing by. 

In this category, too, I think we can put those who were introduced to or commended to Jesus by their loved ones. This includes Simon's mother, who had a fever when Jesus first arrived at her house with her sons. The disciples (assumedly Simon, Andrew, James, and John, who would have been most familiar with her) told Jesus about her fever, and He went into her room and healed her. 

There was also Jairus, whom the people commended to Jesus as a man who used his own money to fund their synagogues. This is a good guy, the people told Jesus. If anyone deserves Your help, it's him. They wanted Jesus to know that a "no" here would not be reasonable; this man deserves a resounding "yes!" 

So some of the men and women who come to Jesus in the Gospels do not really come, but they are brought. They are taken by their friends, their families, their communities, taken right up to Jesus by those who will not take no for an answer. And they had to be - they could not have come on their own.

We could not have expected a demon-possessed young boy to take it upon himself to go for healing; he probably could not even understand what was happening to him. We certainly couldn't ask the paralytic to push through the crowds on his own. We could not think that the soldier would pull himself off his death bed for a miles-long trek, even if it might be his only hope. Simon's mother would not have taken her own fever into the crowd; she's a mother, for crying out loud. She would not have wanted to risk spreading her germs. And Jairus certainly would not have put his humility on the line to boast in what he had done. That's not how it works.

That's the key to understanding how this translates to our current context. The persons in the Gospels who were brought to Jesus were those that could not have gone on their own, not those who would not have gone on their own. In other words, it's not that they won't; they can't. And that's where we come in.

We still have those among us who can't come to Jesus. We have those among us who won't come to Jesus, but there's not a lot we can do there. But for those who can't come to Jesus, it's our job to step up and bring them to Him. It's our job to hold their hand, bring them along, carry their mats, drop them through ceilings, fall at the feet of Christ on their behalf, and refuse to take no for an answer. It's our job, but it's also our privilege. We ought not to take that lightly. 

Let us bring those who cannot bring themselves, that they might encounter Christ Himself and know the Healer. 

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