Saturday, June 1, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples

"Father, the hour is come. Glorify your Son, that he can bring glory to you in return. You have given him authority over every man and woman on earth, that he might impart eternal life to those you have given him."


What "authority", exactly, does Jesus have over every man and woman on earth?

To get a perspective it is helpful to remember the response to the Boston Marathon bombing
where the governing authorities  ordered every man, woman and child to "shelter-in-their-homes" for a day.  It is  a chilling reminder of how earthly rulers, even in the land of the "free" and home of the "brave", wield authority by coercion and brute force.

We know from eye witness accounts that Jesus had authority over physical things such as wind and waves; over disease such as blindness, leprosy, deafness; over spiritual and emotional paralysis such as demon possession and seizures; over moral decay such as money-grubbing in the temple.

Bruce Marchiano as Jesus,
 from the Matthew video series
But the real authority he wielded was the ability to rouse in people the desire for things eternal.  By using the consequences of bad decisions, sinful behavior, disease and nature's most fearsome threats, he demonstrated God's divine desire to draw our heart to His; to save us from our own destructive ways and embracing, in childlike gratitude, His perfect Will; of creating true hunger and thirst for a righteousness that He alone can satisfy.

To better understand this authority it is well to view Jesus' reaction to the response from certain individuals at His healing touch.  Consider the leper who refused to heed Jesus' command to refrain from broadcasting the healing miracle. 

Jesus got angry. 
"The Lord, who can read the heart, saw that [the miracle] had made in the leper no true response-that there was not awakened in him the faith Jesus desired to rouse: he had not drawn the soul of the man to his. The leper was jubilant in the removal of his pain and isolating uncleanness, in his deliverance from suffering and scorn; he was probably elated with the pride of having had a miracle wrought for him.
In a word, he was so full of himself that he did not think truly of his deliverer.
The Lord, I say, saw this, or something of this kind, and was not satisfied. He had wanted to give the man something so much better than a pure skin, and had only roused in him an unseemly delight in his own cleanness-unseemly, for it was such that he paid no heed to the Lord, but immediately disobeyed his positive command. The moral position the man took was that which displeased the Lord, made him angry.
Jesus saw in him 
  •  positive and rampant self-will and disobedience, 
  • an impertinent assurance and self-satisfaction. 
  • Filled, not with pure delight, or the child-like merriment that might well burst forth, mingled with tears, at such deliverance; 
  • filled, not with gratitude, but gratification, the keener that he had been so long an object of loathing to his people; 
  • filled with arrogance because of the favor shown to him, of all men, by the great prophet, and swelling with boast of the same, he left the presence of the healer to thwart his will, and, 
  • commanded to tell no man, at once 'began'-the frothy, volatile, talking soul-'to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was without in desert places.' 
(from The Displeasure of Jesus, Unspoken Sermons III, MacDonald)

Do you believe he still wants to give to every man and woman "something so much better than pure skin", that is, Life Eternal?  Than be sure, his anger--the mark of his authority--the anger of a good Man, unyielding in its desire for purity, truth, humble gratitude, and loving obedience will burn until he awakens faith and rouses righteousness in the hearts of all mankind!

Lord Jesus, do your work in me today.  May my response to your healing touch result in greater faith in you and deeper love for you inside the circle of your consuming fire!