31 Days of Giving Permission . . . TO IMAGINE

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Imagine you’re a 1st century Galilean.
And you’re proud of the hometown boy who made good
down there in Judea.
You’ve heard rumors that he’s got a real way with words,
that he puts on quite a magic show,
and that the crowds are eating it up.

Way to go, Jesus.

The thing is, though, Jesus can see right through you.
Yeah, he can.
He can see that you’re impressed by the bells and whistles,
but you haven’t a clue who he is,
what he’s really about.

Imagine next, an outsider comes along.
Someone who actually follows Jesus over hill and dale,
and begs him for help.
A ‘royal official,’ John’s gospel tell us.
Not only an outsider, but a leader of the band,
the band that has taken so much from Israel already.

And this guy, more than the hometown folks,
gets it.
He sees Jesus more clearly than
any of those who watched him grow up,
than any of those who are on the inside.
He has a sick boy,
and he’s not too proud to beg,
“Jesus, heal my boy. I know you can.”

Imagine that Jesus then turns to all those
round about,
all those old friends and family,
all those who maybe should have seen
and understood more than they did,
but who were, as Jesus himself remembered,
the very ones least likely to welcome
Jesus. . . the prophet.

Because that’s who he was, right?
Yeah, he was a great teacher,
yeah, he spoke with authority,
yeah, he made wine out of water,
and yeah, he did some cool healing tricks.
That Jesus, everybody wants to pat on the back 

But Jesus, the prophet?

Ain’t nobody wants a prophet around.
They get up in your business and they pontificate
and they tell it way too much like it is.

It’s to those very skeptics that Jesus says,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders,
you will never believe,”
with such sorrow and heaviness in his tone.

But to the one who came begging?
The guy on the outside?
Jesus has only one word:

Our pastor put it this way:
“He had to leave in order to believe.”

And you know what?
The guy did exactly what Jesus told him to do.
“He took Jesus at his word and departed.”

And sure enough, before he even sees the boy,
word comes that he is well!

And the timing of that wellness?
EXACTLY when Jesus had said,
your son will live.”

 Imagine that!

Can you imagine that maybe you’re at such a point in your own journey?
A point where you just have to take that step,
trusting that somehow, you’ll see the work of Jesus when you get there? 
Maybe you, like I, have to let go of the Jesus picture we’ve cobbled together,
the one that suits our purposes,
that meets our definition of what a
healer, a savior, a friend should look like.
Maybe, just maybe, we have to embrace ALL the pieces
of this strange and wonderful person
and stop with the pats on the back, you know?

Maybe we need to turn into the unknown and say,
“I’m taking you at your word, Lord.
I’m trusting that you are out for my good,
even though all I can see is dark and hard and scary.”

Can you imagine that? 

 My thanks to Pastor Jon Lemmond for his thought-provoking sermon yesterday, entitled, “The Galilean in You, the Galilean in Me. . . ” It’s painful to recognize those Galilean traits in myself, but so important to do it, to let loose of my own carefully defined picture of Jesus and allow him to be someone beyond my comprehension, beyond my power to define. Joining with Michelle today and with Jen, too. 

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  1. Diane, I can ‘hear’ your voice in this and it’s making me go, ‘wow.’ Just ‘wow.’ I read Andrew Murray “Waiting on God” this morning about enlarging the prayers of my heart to include what GOD has in mind for me, not what I have in mind for me.
    “We need to leave to believe.” Leave familiar, comfortable, old ways old thoughts……hmmmm; this is making me think.
    Thanks for sharing your pastor’s message.

  2. You’re so welcome, Jody. It was a fine sermon!

  3. This speaks to me right where I am. My post about the door marked “pleasure?” Right — so all these fears surround me partaking — what if I lose my self-motivation? What if I don’t do what I normally do? What if…? But this. This reminds me that I just have to trust that Jesus is going to do whatever He feels needs to be done through me and that I absolutely have permission to enjoy the life He has given me.

    Thank you.

    • Indeed, Jen. You DO have permission to enjoy life. That’s one of the things I’ve been trying to say in this series – over and over again. I’m glad this one spoke to you – I know this sermon spoke to me.