Friday, September 14, 2012

The Great Commission.7

Go announce to the world: "The kingdom of heaven has come to dwell among you."
Heal the sick, restore the lepers to health; raise the dead; cast out devils! Remember what I have told you: "Freely you have received. Freely give!"

Question: What, for God's sake, is the Good News of His Kingdom?

Answer:  That the evidence of the character of His Kingdom is in you, follower of Jesus!!

The angels, in a purity of strength and conviction barely comprehensible to humanity, announced Good Tidings of Great Joy: the Great Gift of God to the  World, the Only Son, the Great Prophet, Healer, Teacher, Giver of Good Gifts, Who Will Save Us From Our Sins!

Years later, reading from the Isaiah scroll in the temple, all of Nazareth's finest gathered to hear their homely son, speak these sweet, gracious words, 'I am come to deliver men from sorrow and pain, ignorance and oppression, everything that makes life hard and unfriendly.' What a gracious speech, what a daring pledge to a world whelmed in tyranny and wrong!" 

 "He is the refuge of the oppressed. By its very woes, as by bitterest medicine, he is setting the world free from sin and woe. This very hour he is curing its disease, the symptoms of which are so varied and so painful; working none the less faithfully that the sick, taking the symptoms for the disease, cry out against the incompetence of their physician. 'What power can heal the broken-hearted?' they cry. And indeed it takes a God to do it, but the God is here! In yet better words than those of the prophet, spoken straight from his own heart, he cries: 'Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' He calls to him every heart knowing its own bitterness, speaks to the troubled consciousness of every child of the Father. He is come to free us from everything that makes life less than bliss essential. No other could be a gospel worthy of the God of men."

Would it be more or less like Him to commend his followers to the same effort?  

Heal the sick.  In the distracting debate over healthcare, with the world's best resources in science, medicine, and technology, with the ability to routinely replace vital organs, joints and hair we have lost the answer to the question: where does one go to heal a broken heart, a wounded relationship, debilitating despair, enervating evil or empty existence?  What cost to heal the body, what willingness to endure financial, emotional, physical pain for temporary relief?  Freely we have received from the treasure house of healing the things that make life truly worth living: perfecting love!  Let us give freely!

Restore Lepers to Health.  Who are the socially outcast, the ugly, untouchables longing for the gentle touch of humanity to enfold them and draw them away from their loneliness and isolation? In the Kingdom of Love there is no place for racism, bigotry, fear, meanness or misunderstanding.    In the parking lot at Walmart last night I noticed a "man of color" looking under the hood of a car and explaining something to a lady nearby.  After he shut the hood I asked if everything was alright.  He smiled and said he was just explaining how to fix a problem the lady was having with her car.  At the moment a lady of Caucasian complexion strode up offering assistance with a smile.  It was a moment in the brotherhood of kindness.  A moment to drink deeply the love that binds, overcomes, overlooks.

Raise the Dead.   As surely as the fact that there are none so blind as him who will not see, there are none so dead as him who will not live.  May we never be intimidated by the hostility of the spiritually dead but live to bring them to life. "To believe in such a man as Jesus is life from the dead!  To yield oneself, to live no more in the idea of self, but with the life of God.  To commit the creature he has made that He may live in it, and work out its life--develop it according to the idea of it in His own creating mind.  To fall in with His ways is to trust him, to believe in Him, to obey him, to be rendered capable of and receive a pure vision of His will, freedom from the limitation, from bondage to a finite existence.  Less than the liberty of a holy heart, less than the freedom of the Lord himself, will never satisfy one human soul."

Cast Out The Devils.  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.  Jesus lived to do His Father's perfect Will.  Jesus died that we might die like him, die to any ruling power but the Perfect Will of God. To be a follower of Jesus is the reason every human being is born!  To live in his power and purpose is light to the world!

quotes from MacDonald, The Hope of the Gospel, Jesus and his Townsmen