Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Simply Not Important

Yesterday, I said that I believe that Jesus spoke to the man and the mother-in-law (and not just to the demon and the fever) because to do so would be consistent with Jesus's nature. But if that's true, then why didn't Luke just tell us that? Why didn't he at least say, "then Jesus talked with these folks for a bit"? 

I don't even need to know what Jesus said, although that would be interesting. Just tell me that He took a minute or two and carried on a conversation with the human beings around Him. This is part of every other story in the Gospels, Jesus talking to human beings. But in Luke 4, silence. 

Here's what I think happened: I think Luke figured that what Jesus had to say to the man and the mother-in-law simply wasn't important. Luke didn't think Theophilus cared about the small talk that Jesus made. Like most other witnesses living around that time, and like so many of us today, the heart of the Jesus story was in the miracles. It was in the power. It was in the authority. It was in the death, burial, and resurrection. The main goal of most of the Gospel writers, and of many Christians today, was to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was Jesus the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, the Promised One. 

Well, yeah. But does a Gospel preached only toward the Kingdom miss something essential about God? 

I think it does. And I know that comes as a shock to a lot of persons, even to a lot of Christians. Shouldn't we just be proclaiming God? Shouldn't we spend our time focused on His miracles, His power, His authority, His death and resurrection? Isn't that the heart of the story?

No. No, it's not. And this is one of the greatest struggles that the church has today. The world - and even Christians who have spent so much of their lives in church just going through the motions - they're not impressed with miracles. They're not impressed with a God who manipulates the world like a puppet master. It's a cool party trick, sure, but every people of every time and every place has claimed that their god can do this. That's the nature of a god. 

We don't have a god; we have a Lord. And what makes Jesus so cool is not that He can speak to demons and fevers; what makes Him cool is the Promise that He embodies, a Promise set forth in the beginning when God Himself walked with His people in the cool of the day. Do you think God walked around Eden talking to demons and fevers? Of course not. He walked around in the Garden talking with Adam and Eve, even after the fall. He talked with Abraham. He talked with Noah. He talked with Moses. He talked with David. What makes our God so cool is that He has been, from the very beginning, a God who talks with us. 

So maybe Luke didn't think it mattered much, that it wasn't important what Jesus said to the man or the mother-in-law, but it is. That is the essence of our Lord; that is the heart of who He is. And that's the kind of witness that we need.

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