In his book, The Incomparable Christ, J. Oswald Sanders explored the life, character and divinity of Jesus Christ in a way that left the reader in awe after every chapter. It’s definitely a book that should be on every Christian’s reading list.
In the same way, Luke captures the essence of Christ by recording His acts, teachings, and the teachings about Him. In Luke 4:31-37, several amazing attributes of Christ are on full display as He heals a demon possessed man in the synagogue in Capernaum. The three most prominent are the power (authority) of Christ, the vision of Christ, and the compassion of Christ.
The power of Christ is on full display as the demon has to obey the Lord’s command to come out of the man. Christ is so powerful that even His spiritual opponents must obey Him. He has power over all creation, yet He uses that power on behalf of His people.
The vision of Christ is such that He not only sees us at face value, but He sees our hearts, our inner-most emotional workings, our trauma and sin nature, and He sees what we could be if healed. That brings up the third attribute on display, His compassion.
The compassion of Christ is such that, not only does He see our hurts and scars, but He heals them. Physical, Spiritual and emotional healing are available to any who will believe.
Christ really is incomparable. For more, check out Pastor Leland Acker’s message on The Incomparable Christ.
The Bible does not only record God’s law and promises, it gives us real-world examples of things that happened to people, some of which was very messed up. Mankind is sinful, and therefore we can make life into a total disaster, either for ourselves, or someone else.
Leah was a good woman, but she wasn’t the most attractive woman of her day, and the guys were not interested in her. Her father, Laban, feared that he would not be able to find her a husband, so he tricked Jacob into marrying her.
Jacob, for the record, was in love with Leah’s younger and more beautiful sister, Rachel.
So, her father basically pawned her off, her husband is in love with another woman (whom he eventually marries and makes her share the house with), and she is completely isolated, rejected and alone. I mean, this is one of the most devastating things a woman can go through.
The Bible tells us this story, not to legitimize it, but rather to show how God works through the disasters that man makes in life.
No one loved Leah but God, and God loved Leah in a way that no man could. He shows His compassion on her by giving her children, and He transforms her life from one of affliction and loneliness, to one of blessing and praise. By the time God finishes with her, she doesn’t need Jacob’s love, praise or affirmation. She has God’s, and that’s all she needs.
The same principles hold true for us. God loves us, even when no one else does. If we let Him, He will transform our lives from that of anger, depression and hopelessness to a life of praise and blessing in the midst of the storms. Will you trust God to do so?
Toward the end of The Shawshank Redemption, Red, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, gave the following speech at a parole hearing when asked if he had been rehabilitated:
There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that.
Who can relate to looking back on one’s younger self, and wishing they could relate the consequences of their actions? The problem is, when we’re young, we lack the wisdom to foresee the consequences of our choices, and actions. Many people find themselves in a place today where they never intended to be, nor did they desire to be.
While some people made good choices in their youth, they placed their faith in Jesus Christ, went to college, graduated from law school, built a career, stayed away from drugs/alcohol, and were faithful to their spouses, many made poor choices, and as a result, have seen their lives torn to shambles. Such hopelessness has some contemplating suicide, others contemplating running away. Oh, if there was just a reset button on life? Such as the one on the old Nintendo Entertainment System…. if the game wasn’t going well, just hit the reset button, and start over.
The good news of the Gospel is that such a reset button exists, although the results may not be as instantaneous as the NES reset button.
In Matthew 8, scripture records the cleansing of the leper. Now, leprosy in Bible times was a horrible debilitating disease. It formed lesions on the skin that would get infected, scar, and leave the victim disfigured. It also killed the nerve endings in the skin, leading to injuries to the body’s extremities and face.
In many ways, leprosy was like sin. It destroyed, scarred, spread, and left one disfigured. Also, just like ancient leprosy, one can’t heal himself from sin, or the sin-curse.
In Matthew 8, a leper came to Jesus and said, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” Jesus replied, “I will, be thou clean.” The Bible says that immediately, the leper was made clean. This means that not only was he healed of his leprosy, but the sores, scars and injuries were gone. Christ had removed the disease from him, and healed him from the effects of the disease. The leper was now a new man. In essence, he hit the reset button on life. He had a new lease on life.
Now, in every miracle Jesus performed, there are two meanings… the physical meaning, and the Spiritual meaning. The physical meaning of the healing of the leper is obvious. Christ has the power over disease, and the power to heal. If you are suffering from a physical disease, Christ can heal you, and often times will, if you trust Him and turn to Him in prayer.
However, the Spiritual application is much better than the physical, because by cleansing the leper, Christ showed us how he cleanses us from sin. As mentioned earlier, sin and leprosy are a lot alike… except sin is a spiritual disease, and leprosy is a physical disease. Our sin destroys us, and scars us, and we cannot cleanse ourselves from sin, or its effects. Just like that leper, we have to turn to Jesus for salvation, forgiveness, healing, cleansing and restoration. And just like that leper’s cleansing was immediate, our salvation and forgiveness is immediate as well.
However, Christ does not stop with just saving our souls. He goes on to clean up our lives, and restore us to a place where we can serve God, and have a positive impact on others. He places us in situations where God can bless us. He begins that work in us, and continues it until the day we die. Thus, the day we repent of our sins and trust Jesus Christ as our personal savior, we effectively “hit the reset button” on life, and the Lord puts us on a new course.
Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that my life before I accepted Christ was destined for destruction. Since Christ saved me, He has worked in my life, building me, remolding me, and placing me in situations where I can see Him work, and He blesses me. It’s a great place to be.
So, if you are trapped in your current situation, and feeling hopeless, remember, there is a reset button on life… and his name is Jesus Christ.
May God bless you, guide you, and keep you…