Here is my column for this week:
Hurting people. Jesus spent a lot of time serving them.
A woman was caught in adultery. The people wanted to throw rocks at her. They asked Jesus what they should do. Jesus looked at her with compassion and he told the people, “Let the one who is sinless among you throw the first stone.” Jesus then said to the woman, “Go and sin no more.” (John 8:1-11) Instead of defining the woman by her broken past, Jesus gave the woman a second chance and offered her hope.
The man had leprosy. Jesus did the unthinkable. He reached out and touched him. I wonder how long it had been since somebody touched the man? The touch was what he needed most. Jesus gave the person a sense of sacred-worth and dignity. The leprosy also disappeared. But, somehow I don’t think fresh skin was quite as valuable as a fresh spirit. (Matthew 8:1-3) No matter how far we have fallen, Jesus offers his healing touch.
A paralyzed man was later brought to Jesus. They asked Jesus to heal him. Jesus said: “Your sins are forgiven." (Matthew 9:2) The caring men thought that the man needed a physical cure and that if he could walk again all would be well. Jesus gave the man what we need most: forgiveness. When Jesus said that He “doesn’t give as the world gives,”(John 14:27) maybe that is what he was talking about. We desire what we want. God gives us what we need.
Lazarus died. Mary and Martha were grieving. They told the story to Jesus. He listened. He comforted them. And then two simple words provide for us one of the most beautiful pictures in the Bible: Jesus wept. (John 11:35) Beautiful because God isn’t some disengaged, distant God who doesn’t care. Our pain is His pain. Our burdens are His burdens. Jesus then raised the dead man to life. God cares and He still raises the dead everyday. Dead people and dying people are given life and raised to new levels of life. The old becomes new. The lost is found. The sinner transforms into a saint.
Before Jesus there was David. David was a lot like me and you. He had his shortcomings. He had strengths. He was both good and bad. He had an affair and killed an innocent man. He showed courage when he fought the Philistine giant Goliath. He was a man after God's own heart when he sat by the campfire and wrote the Psalms. But perhaps David’s finest moment came when he served a hurting person. Mephibosheth was crippled. He was alone. He was afraid. One day, David called him to the palace. Mephibosheth knew these were his last days. Instead, David showed him kindness and invited him to eat at the King’s table. So the boy, in all his brokenness, rolls his wheelchair up the table and feasts with the king. (2 Samuel 9:1-13)
God invites you to feast with Him, no matter how broken you are. God also invites you to serve others and show them the kindness He offers you.
Feast and be kind,