Tuesday, August 2, 2016

"Jesus, The Ultimate Repair Man", A Closer Look by Rick Sons

In the world we live in, we have been cursed or blessed with technology.  Vehicles, televisions, radio, computers and so on can all be positive or negative.  These things are intended to make our lives easier and to ease the burden. However, they become our brains, direct our thoughts, and control our lives (consider the recent fascination of “Pok√©mon Go”). They even set our morals and our ideas of right and wrong. When I was a child, I Love Lucy” was on television and Lucy was never pregnant; she was with child. You could not say the word pregnant on television, however, now, you can watch people get pregnant on television. Technology takes us from being people to being part of a machine.

When these devices break down, they can put out lives in a standstill. What will we do? How can we go on? How are we ever going to able to function?  Quick we must call the repairman.  Someone, who will come and put our lives back on the path and reboot our way of life, so that we can continue as we had before the break down.  Jesus was and still is, in the repair business. Fixing the broken, forgotten and abused, returning to the person, a product like new.

After healing the woman with the flow of blood and Jairus’ daughter Jesus moves to his home town. Nazareth was a small town with a population less than 500. It is where Joseph and Mary settled after the birth of Jesus. Jesus would have been well known there, many of the people would have grown up with Him. Nazareth was primarily an agricultural settlement with grain stores and wine presses.

Jesus had been home for a few days, and as was the family tradition they attended synagogue on the Sabbath. In the synagogue it is not permitted for just anyone to teach. You have to have had some training. Normally a trainee Rabbi would be apprenticed to well-known and respected Rabbi. We can be fairly certain that this was not the case with Jesus. However, Jesus was recognized as competent and allowed to speak. He would only have had a few minutes. The sermon was not the main focus of Jewish worship. Scripture reading was considered more important, as were prayers.

As a carpenter Jesus would have spent most his time repairing furniture and buildings.  Jesus  would have been wandering around town looking for things to repair, or buildings to help with. Carpenters also included general building work.  So as he spoke the people began to think, this guy is just the repairman what right does he have to tell me how to live my life?  Jesus said to them in verse 4, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” There are many theories about why Jesus could not perform his usual miracles in his home town. We must be careful to remember that Jesus was both man and God.  We must not allow ourselves to think that God’s power can somehow be limited by people’s lack of faith. If that were the case God would not be able to do anything in this world, because everything He tried to do would require someone already here with absolute faith that the task can be successfully completed.   We must also understand that Jesus had not refused to heal them because of their lack of faith; many did not have faith, yet were healed by Jesus.

Jesus speaks of the lack of faith; He says you need faith the size of a mustard seed – one of the smallest seeds.  Jesus was not being mean or overly judgmental of his friends; it would be difficult to think that he lacked compassion for the people he grew up with.  It is most likely that their lack of faith meant that there were only very few who were prepared to ask. If you don’t believe that someone can heal YOU, why would you go to them and ask them to?

I find it interesting that Scripture says, “Jesus was amazed by their lack of faith.” I think this is the only time when it is recorded that Jesus was amazed. Their lack of faith was so remarkable, so complete, that even Jesus was surprised.  Jesus saw just how much there was to do, and how little time there was to do it.  If only His own people had seen Jesus for who He really is or was, He was the Son of the living God.   Just like walking through the woods and walking up to a tree, you can’t dispute that the tree is there you see it. You can’t walk through it because it is there. You can only deny its existence by walking around it.

There is a certain irony here. Jesus is the repair man. Jesus did not only repair people physically, but also spiritually, with his wisdom from God.  There are the miracles, stories of people being healed and raised from the dead are recorded in all the gospels, evidence that Jesus can and does repair people physically. This is necessary because people are destructive; we deplete natural resources with little regard for the future. We corrupt our morals by they fit with the popular point of view. We make mistakes and blame God, or we claim the devil made me do it. There is more truth to that last statement than most care to believe. As we learned from our previous study on Revelation, things are going to get worse. Where do we set our sights and hope? Jesus! Because Jesus is the ultimate repair man – putting the universe back together after it was ruined by sin.

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