Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Edifier du Jour-Matthew 8:5-13(NASB)
5 And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him, 6 and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented." 7 Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8 But the centurion said, "Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 "For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, "Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. 11 "I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; 12 but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 13 And Jesus said to the centurion, "Go; it shall be done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed that very moment.
The centurion figured out two things and made a good synthesis. First, he figured out that Jesus was divine, or at least had powers over the spiritual realm. Second, he realized that a being with such power didn't have to do the work in person; he could delegate such work, such as he could transmit an order to a soldier under him. A while back, Gary Peterson posted on a bad church sign saying that "God cannot be everywhere at once, so He created mothers." Not true; God can be anywhere at once and be multiple places at once, so you can't pull the trick of getting Superman busy in place A while you do your best nasty stuff in place B. Not only does "wherever you go, there you are" work, but "wherever you go, there He is" works, too. Also, this was a Gentile noticing Jesus' divine capabilities; Jesus gets in a dig at the Jews for being clueless about Him. Gentiles are now part of the family and being Jews doesn't give them reservations to the marriage supper of the Lamb. A good heumanutic for that is that God has no grandchildren; people don't go to heaven because their parents did or because they go to church but through a personal relationship with Jesus. The modern institutionalized church can serve as a stand-in for the Jews. Just as Jews claimed to be spiritual sons of Abraham, so could the Methodist claim to be sons of Wesley, the Presbyterians sons of Knox, the Congregationalists/UCC the sons of Mather, we need to be reminded that God can turn stones into sons of Wesley, Knox or Mather (or Graham or Luther). What a church's spiritual founders did is worth talking about, but tradition doesn't save you; Jesus does.

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