By Stan Counsell | PREVIEW Columnist
Isn’t it wonderful that God knows our frailties, yet He still clings tightly to us as His beloved children? That seems so hard to wrap our heads around. We all fall short of His glory, sometimes feeling rejected due to some failures. It is so easy to forget just how very much He loves us. Oh, how we rejoice when we are reminded of His great mercy and love.
The disciples, imperfect just like us, were members of that ever-so-popular club “Blunders R Us.” But, we should rejoice that each time we, as it were, lay an egg, Jesus is right there to love, forgive, strengthen and reset our spiritual compass. Let’s, once again, learn from Jesus and His disciples.
In Matthew 7:21-29, the Lord made it abundantly clear that being just religious, with all of its trappings, was not true godliness. People can have a Bible, say the right words, have preferred church seating, but what is their main focus? It’s about a life of their choosing; it’s about them, not Jesus.
The thought of truly repenting of their sins and giving their lives to Christ is seen as profound madness, perish the thought. It would be seen as fanatical to their friends, family and co-workers — just can’t have that. After all, their choices only have room for the convenient accouterments of religiosity. It can, and will, fool others. With great tragedy, it will even fool themselves, but it can’t fool the Lord Jesus. They call out, “Lord, Lord,” but do not listen, obey or follow Him. They are lawless.
Jesus says the loss of those who wouldn’t listen and obey would be tragic, painful, a tremendous loss. You see, even those who rebelled against Jesus were loved by Him. And, He died for them so that they could be saved from certain judgment. God wishes that none should perish, that all would come to repentance and receive everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). But, those who do not follow remain lost.
The people with “hearing ears” were amazed at His voice showcasing profound authority that their religious leaders couldn’t even try to equal. With Jesus, there were no spins, the blowing of smoke or wordy nonanswers regarding all issues because He is the Word that became flesh and dwells among us; His glory is still clearly seen to this very day (John 1:14).
Now, back to “Blunders R Us.” Let’s be reminded of some of the miracles that show the tremendous mercy of our Lord. In the eighth chapter of Matthew, the disciples saw a great crowd following Jesus after they witnessed His profound authority.
Soon, a leper came bowing low before Jesus, begging to be healed of his very contagious skin disfigurements. Like the woman with the untreatable health issue, this man forged his way to Jesus through the crowd, fearfully disgusting them. He was openly, for all to see, healed by the simple touch of Jesus.
When Jesus entered Capernaum, He became aware of a centurion’s slave in deep need of healing. Why was this soldier so upset over a servant? Slaves made up nearly a quarter of Rome’s population; they could be replaced. Could it be that this centurion had no children of his own?
A centurion’s “children” were almost always a chosen few beloved servants that he adopted. You see, marriage was forbidden to Roman soldiers until A.D. 197. Now, the disciples just witnessed another healing that they could not fathom. Sometimes we are slow to comprehend something beyond our reasoning.
When Peter’s mother-in-law became dangerously ill, Jesus took her by the hand and she was immediately healed. Soon thereafter, people brought forth the sick and those demonized by evil spirits. Jesus healed all of them. Wow; how was this happening?
For some, the many profound miracles didn’t move them enough. Was it lack of comprehension, being jaded by their common religions or being just plain doubtful?
Some, “wishing” to follow Jesus, presented the heart-tugging issues of their families, hoping to nudge His heart. Their excuses for not following didn’t fly with the Lord, so they left, their excuses tightly clinched in selfish desires. Like Lot’s wife (Genesis 19:15-26), they chose to look back at what was fond to them. At times, isn’t that us?
The constant reality of service to God is that Jesus leads and we follow. He got into a boat and the disciples followed. Wouldn’t we? A vicious storm soon arose while Jesus was asleep. The powerful waves started to overwhelm the boat.
When the disciples realized that they weren’t able to save themselves, fear-induced panic took command of their reasoning. “Jesus, wake up. Don’t you care that we are going to die?” They actually thought He didn’t care.
The disciples had seen untold healings and miracles, but being engulfed in raging waves and gripped in terror, their faith was demolished. It is hard to stay in line when frightening chaos and utter panic overwhelm us.
Jesus, the Lord of all creation, easily calmed the waves and took control of the winds. The disciples were so amazed that they found it difficult to put into words what they just witnessed.
That’s just like us. Jesus calls us to follow Him. We oblige because He’s God and we trust Him. But sometimes everything can seem to blow up in our faces, like being on the “unsinkable” Titanic. We are beyond ourselves seeing defeat being snatched out of the jaws of victory. We feel deserted, besieged, struggle to breathe, our mind shattered.
But, Jesus is leading, marching us forward, even if we are doubting that He’s even there. Our Savior cradles us with His love and speaks softly to us, melting away our fears, our faith being restored. How wonderful is that? Jesus is always with us. Sometimes we just need to be reminded.
OK, Jesus, we’re ready to follow You again, really. We got this. Let’s go.
This column may include both fiction and nonfiction, and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of The SUN. Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.