Category Archives: STUFF JESUS DOES

Half Seeing (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 3)

half seeing

We’ve been talking about the relative depth of our walk with Jesus and how we might––no, must––find a way to go deeper in him.

  • In Part 1 “He’s Not Here” we looked at how easy it is to forget what Jesus says, especially when we didn’t hear or want to hear it in the first place.
  • In Part 2 “Who Is That Masked Man?” we reviewed the conversation two men had with Jesus, bemoaning how Jesus was nowhere to be found, and how the first prerequisite for deeper revelation is that we actually want

Speaking of actually wanting more revelation, God has ways of increasing our want. One of those ways is found in one of Jesus’ stranger miracles.

When he had spit on the (blind) man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” 

He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”

Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Mark 8:22-26

Pretty weird, right? And I’m not just talking about the “spitting” part. The thing that interests me most is that this is the only one of his miracles that required his second touch to finish it. Continue reading

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Who Was That Masked Man? (Avoiding Superficial Spirituality Part 2)

walking

You did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.  Luke 19:44

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  1 Corinthians 2:10

I’ve been bemoaning the relative depth of my own commonplace Christianity and what seems so typical among many Christians and their churches. In my last post I talked about how we shut the door to exploring the realm and the Person of God any further than our initial salvation and have no expectation or intention of delving any deeper. God’s invitation to a deeper place begins with our dissatisfaction with the place we’re in.

After his resurrection Jesus made some curious appearances, including his stroll with a couple of befuddled believers on the road to Emmaus.

As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him . . . we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel . . . it is the third day since all this took place. Luke 24:15-16, 21

Strange episode. Right? They were walking with Jesus complaining to Jesus that Jesus was gone and wasn’t coming back! If that doesn’t depict us when we’re hot and bothered about something going on in our lives and interrogating God about why he doesn’t hear our complaint. Continue reading

How Jesus Feeds the Hungry (Part 2 of 2)

 

quote-you-pray-for-the-hungry-then-you-feed-them-that-s-how-prayer-works-pope-francis-81-13-03In Part 1 I introduced some thoughts, based on the familiar story of Jesus’ feeding of the 5000, about what I consider to be his typical way of feeding hungry people. The disciples wanted him to “send them away!” but fortunately he had a better idea, which I believe was more than unique to that one day’s good work, but a pattern for how he often goes about providing food enough for all to eat. Last time I said:

He begins with the little we have, multiplies it and uses us as distributors, and we consume it together in community.

Let’s take a look at the second and third of these. Continue reading

How Jesus Feeds the Hungry (Part 1 of 2)

 

quote-you-pray-for-the-hungry-then-you-feed-them-that-s-how-prayer-works-pope-francis-81-13-03Besides the resurrection, I bet you don’t know which of Jesus’ miracles made it into all four gospels!

OK, my title gave it away, but would you have guessed it if I had called it “Jewish Boy Loses His Lunch” or “Give All You Got and Get More Than You Had” or something of that sort?

So, why did the Spirit single out this particular miracle of feeding the multitude from a little boy’s lunch for so much press? The incident definitely infers a lot about Jesus and what he can do. That’s the customary Sunday School lesson from this text. The Christological and supernatural implications aside, I’d like to narrow this particular conversation down to his choice to use the human agency in that particular miracle. Continue reading

How Thanksgiving Makes You Whole

leper

Perhaps the story most seasonally sermonized, if not spiritually sanitized, at Thanksgiving is the healing of the ten lepers. All got well––well––sort of well, but only one returned to give thanks. That guy ended up getter “weller” than the ungrateful sort of ones.

I propose that an attitude of gratitude might well have something to do with getting well.

After they noticed their incurable sores and pocked skin cured, the nine continued on their merry way. After all, Jesus had instructed them to go show themselves to the priests to receive their clean certificate of health, so they could reintegrate as normal citizens in society. So why knock them for doing what he told them to do?

What did they lack that the other possessed? Continue reading

The Kind of Heart That Wins People and How To Get It (Part 2 of 2)

reaching outThis is the final piece of this “Winning Malchus” essay. We’ve hiked the peaks and valleys of our Christian methods of helping people find Jesus. Though there is no right method, there is a right manner, a good heart.

We pick up the story after Peter lopped off the ear of a guy named Malchus in the Garden of Prayer. No way to win a person to Jesus really. Mercifully, on his way to jail, Jesus corrected his misguided act of violence. Nevertheless…

All was not lost. Later that very night Jesus the Merciful gave Peter the Impulsive an opportunity to redeem himself when one of Malchus’ relatives approached Peter in the high priest’s courtyard and asked, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” In other words, “Aren’t you that guy that attacked Uncle Malchus and chopped his ear off? What the *%#@ is wrong with you? If that’s how you Christ followers roll I want nothing to do with you guys! From now on stay away from me and my family!” Not exactly the response we look for in our evangelistic efforts. Continue reading

How Jesus Wins People

malchus 2

 Jesus won my heart not by force but by fascination. Note to self. Do what Jesus did!

In my last post I introduced the wacky story about Peter whacking off Malchus’ ear and used it to illustrate how NOT to win people to Jesus. Fortunately, Jesus shows us a better way…

We’re not given enough information to know what happened to Malchus after his assault and healing in the garden. Did he become a follower of Jesus or simply go on his merry way wondering what all that was about? If he did come to Jesus what did the trick? Was it getting his ear back or was it something else? Continue reading