Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Morning Musings

From the Gospel of Luke:
Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” Then the Lord answered him, “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” As he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the people rejoiced at all the glorious things that were done by him.
He said therefore, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.”
And again he said, “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened.” (Luke 13:10-21 ESV)
  1. Jesus healed (in an instant) a person who had been afflicted for eighteen years by a crippling disability.
  2. It was the kind of world where such an act might be minimalized, even objected too, by jealous and power-hungry men. 
  3. Jesus, with but a few words, put the objectors to shame.
  4. People rejoiced.
Now note this.  When Jesus healed the crippled woman, as momentous as that may have seemed, I think Jesus saw it as a mustard seed.  That is, what that act would germinate into was going to be bigger by far than one woman relieved of her terrible pain.

Similarly, the putting to shame of the religious police . . . a mustard seed.  Right away people are rejoicing.  Not only because of the healed woman, but because of the shamed religious busybodies.  

Think about this: when people gaze on Jesus, the rejoicing that follows is but the early signs of a great and spreading kingdom-tree in which many will be able to make their home.

Similarly, even so apparently prominent a deed as this, witnessed by many, from a world-perspective is quite unknown, like leaven in bread.  And yet it is bread that will one day feed millions.

What am I getting at? The thought that is stirring in me is that out kingdom-deeds are mostly (at least by any system of measure we are used to) small, local, even quite secret. On the one hand, the more we try to claim some leadership spotlight, the more we pine for "influence," the more in danger we are of becoming like the objectors. And on the other hand, why are we so dissatisfied with planting seeds? Why do we not trust in the leaven?


Anonymous said...

exactly what i needed to read today.

Milton Stanley said...

Reading this it really struck me how very humiliated the leader of the synagogue must have been when the people rejoiced. It might have made him mad enough to want to kill the man who dared to start the whole thing by healing that woman.

Bob Spencer said...

That's really an interesting observation, Milton. It says they were "put to shame." All of their grounds for authority and honor, pulled out from under them in an instant! How dangerous this crowd of rejoicers must have seemed to them!