Keeping Jesus

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                             July 14, 2017

                                    

“At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’” (Luke 4:42-43)

I admit it! I have a personal blanket! I am a sixty three year old man with his own “blankie.” It is somewhat tattered now since I started using it shortly after Carol and I were married 38 years ago. It was hers before it gradually got pulled over to my side of the bed.

No one else uses my blanket. After seeing it you would understand why no one else would WANT to use it!  It is my mine!

There are certain things in each of our lives that we are a bit bizarrely possessive of. Some of them, like a coffee mug with our name on it, make sense. And then there’s others, like my blanket, that are a bit of a reach.

Sometimes churches try to keep Jesus! They allude to the idea that Jesus shows up at their house every weekend. Yes, he’s present at other churches, but he is REALLY PRESENT at their location. If you REALLY want to encounter the Savior you are urged to come by their campus. There is a tendency to equate the size of a church with the level of Jesus’ presence!

When Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, he drove out some evil spirits, healed Simon Peter’s mother-in-law (who immediately got up and started cooking up some dinner for Jesus and the others), healed other people of a variety of sicknesses, and then the next morning went out to a solitary place. His plan was to head to another town, but the people of Capernaum tried to keep him there. When something of God has happened there is a tendency to try and corner the market.

If Jesus would have stayed at Capernaum he would have been a resident prophet, a wise man that people would come to, a scholar-in-residence! He would have gained job security and a regional following, but lost his calling. His path was to take him out of town. He doesn’t even call his disciples until a little while later…when Capernaum is in the distance of his rear view mirror.

It’s interesting that the theology of many churches ripples out from the Great Commission of Jesus that tells his followers to “go”, but the behavior of churches is to “keep.” Excuse the expression, but we want Jesus to be our personal “blankie” that keeps us safe and spiritual. He isn’t to be borrowed by someone else. If they want to snuggle up with our Jesus they need to come to us, because we’re keeping him.

And so we encounter congregations that tell us we can in turn encounter Jesus if we show up at their place. I have learned to avoid churches that seem smugly sure of their resident Savior, and I search for people of faith who humbly hope for his presence. Like Simon Peter’s mother-in-law, they are people who have been restored and reconciled and are now seeking to wait upon Jesus.

 

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible, Christianity, Community, Faith, Freedom, Grace, Jesus, love, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized, Youth

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