There are a couple of scenes in the Gospels that really bother me. They just sort of nag at my soul a little bit, and it's hard to really know what to do with them. Two such scenes can be found in Luke 4, in the healings Jesus performs.
There is a man who is demon-possessed when Jesus comes into the synagogue, and the demon starts taunting Jesus in front of everyone. So Jesus speaks to the demon, and it comes out of the man without hurting him.
Then, Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes to Peter's house, where Peter's mother-in-law is sick with a fever. Here again, Jesus speaks to the fever and the fever leaves the woman and she gets up and makes dinner for them all.
These are two really great healings, and the people are amazed. They fall in love with Jesus, marveling at His power and authority to do such things. And that's great, but...
But in neither of these scenes does Jesus speak to the human being at the center of them. Luke doesn't tell us that Jesus spoke a single word at all to the demon-possessed man; He only spoke to the demon. Likewise, we have no words recorded between Jesus and Peter's mother-in-law; Jesus only addresses the fever.
There are a lot of persons in our world who would love this kind of relationship with Jesus and in fact, there are a lot who seek it. Even many who call themselves Christians. In fact, too many Christians seek this kind of relationship with Jesus. They want His power and authority to come and speak away the bad things in their lives and then, they want to get up and make dinner.
And listen, it's cool. It's a neat trick. It's a great ally to have on your side, this Jesus who speaks to demons and fevers. But I just...I want more. And I think God wants more, too.
God didn't so love the world so that Jesus could come and speak to demons and fevers. He didn't. Jesus did not cross eternity to get here, lie in a manger, and die on a cross so that you could get up and cook dinner. God did not walk with us in the cool of the day and knit together fig leaves to cover our shame so that the people would marvel at His authority and whisper amongst themselves.
So these two stories, told in the same breath in Luke, trouble me a little. I'm trying to think how I'd feel if I had a God who spoke to my demons and my fevers and not to me. I'm trying to think how I could fall in love with a Jesus who...seemed to be looking right past me. I'm trying to think how I would feel if at the precise moment that the Lord of the Universe was so near to me that I could smell Him, I somehow had the urge to just get up and cook dinner. I'm trying to fathom what it would be like to be in these stories that trouble me and then...
...and then I think...maybe I don't have to. Maybe it's not what it seems....