Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Luke, chapter 7 part 1

Yesterday was a very powerful writing experience. It was an instance in which I felt the Word of God truly speaking to me. Of course, it does speak every time we read it. It is simply a matter of how well we are listening. As I listen to today's passage, the first 17 verses of Luke chapter 7, we see that it is a message on Jesus' mercy. It is also a strong lesson in faith.

We have two similar stories with different backgrounds. First we have the servant of the Centurion being healed. Here was a man that was well outside the establishment. In fact, as a soldier for Rome, he was most likely despised by the people of Israel. The very idea of Jesus coming to work in the life of one of the oppressors of Israel was ludicrous in this day. Still, what Jesus said in his sermon during chapter 6 struck a chord with this man. He suddenly gained faith and saw the heart of the message: that Jesus was meant for all, not just a select group.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: "Lord, don't trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it." – Luke 7:6-8

Here was a man of great power, yet he deferred to, what to him, was a crazy preacher from a dusty part of the world. Jesus had such a profound effect on people like this, yet others, such as the religious establishment waiting for his arrival as a Messiah, missed the message. This gentile, someone who wasn't even a Jew, saw and had faith. Sometimes all it takes is just one hearing of the message for it to sink in.

14Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" 15The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. – Luke 7:14-15

This also shows Jesus' compassion for a woman he didn't even know. Unlike the Centurion, she had no power or authority. It is likely she was simply a poor widow, as women had very little place in society at the time. Still, Jesus saw as much compassion for her as the man with the command of many. This shows the underlying message that Christ does not care about your station in life. It is meaningless. He cares only about a person's heart and has compassion for all. If it was not for this love, we would be totally lost. It was this love, however, that eventually became His sacrifice for our sins.

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