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Ever Increasing Influence, part 1
Mark 2:15 “While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” were eating with Him and His disciples, for there were many who followed Him.”
There is one little phrase that I want us to center in on: “While Jesus was having dinner at Levi's house.” How often do we think about the humanity of Christ? Too often, we only think about the deity of Christ, yet Jesus was fully God and fully man. Jesus actually sat down with people to eat with them. He had to sleep and get rest. He had to brush His teeth and comb His hair. Some friends and I were discussing His humanity last week and had some very interesting thoughts about Jesus as a boy as well as a man.
Hebrews 2:14 says, “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity…” He took part of the same, the Word became flesh. The humanity of Christ is part of what was confusing to the Pharisees (and very honestly it still confuses much of the world today). If He was God, as He was claiming to be, then why did He look so much like a common man? why did He spend time with sinners and tax collectors? Why would God hang out with mere men, rather than the Pharisees and the elite?
The answer to those questions is found in John 3:16“For God so loved...” God loves all people. To prove His love for us, He became one of us, and in so doing, He gave up His position in glory to dwell among us and to save us.
I read something not long ago that I’d like to share with you here (I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this before in a sermon at church). I think this account really paints a beautiful picture of who Jesus is and shows us His human side. It was written by Dr. Richard Selzer, a surgeon. It’s from his book “Mortal Lessons.”
I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted. A tiny twig of a facial nerve, the one to the muscles of her mouth, has been severed. She will be thus from now on. The surgeon had followed with religious fervor the curve of her flesh; I promise you that. Nevertheless to remove the tumor in her cheek, I had to cut the little nerve.
Her husband is in the room. He stands on the opposite side of the bed, and together, they seem to dwell in the evening lamplight. Isolated from me, private. "Who are they? I ask myself, "he and this wry-mouth I have made?"
They gaze at each other and touch each other. “Will I always be like this?” she asks. “Yes,” I say. “It is because the nerve was cut.” She nods and is silent. But the young man smiles, “I like it,” he says. It’s kind of cute.”
All of a sudden I know who he is. I understand, and lower my gaze. One is not bold in an encounter with a god. Unmindful, he bends to kiss her crooked mouth, and I am so close I can see how he twists his own lips to accommodate hers, to show that their kiss still works.
That is the Spirit of Jesus. Man’s link with God had been severed through sin. And He twisted Himself to accommodate us, and gave us the kiss of eternal life, but not without giving His own life on our behalf. Jesus. At the same time, so tender and powerful is the most remarkable figure ever to have lived. And why not? He is God incarnate.
That picture of Jesus, is what our dying world is waiting to see. Of the many great miracles of the Gospel one of the greatest is how God changed Himself to accommodate us. Jesus came into this world as a man, but as we see in the Scriptures, His heavenly Father had an ever increasing influence on Him.
Medication: A Merry Heart
A state trooper pulled a farmer over for speeding, and he was quite rude about it. As he wrote ticket he swatted at some flies buzzing around his
Farmer: “Having some problems with circle flies there are ya?”
Trooper: “Is that what they are? I’ve never heard of circle flies.”
Farmer: "They’re common 'round here. We call ‘em circle flies because they mostly circle round the back end of a horse."
Trooper: “Hey! Are you trying to call me a horse’s behind?”
Farmer: “Oh no, officer! I have too much respect for law enforcement.”
Farmer: “... Hard to fool them flies, though.”
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
Verse of the Week: 1 Samuel 17:37a
Today’s readings: 1 Kings 5 – 6 and 2 Chronicles 2 – 3