Chapter Fifteen – Matthew 8: The Impractical Christ

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I know if You wanted to You could wave Your hand / Spare me this heartache and change Your plan / And I know any second You could take my pain away / But even if You don’t, I pray / Help me want the Healer more than the healing / Help me want the Savior more than the saving / Help me want the Giver more than the giving / Oh help me want You, Jesus, more than anything

  • Natalie Grant, More Than Anything from the 2015 album Be One

 

Matthew picks up his narrative of the Christ on a healing bender across Galilee by mentioning how He restored Peter’s mother-in-law who was suffering from a high fever Later, while she is feeding Jesus and the disciples dinner, word spreads that she has been cured and people begin coming out of the woodwork to show up on her doorstep so the Christ can heal them. And He does; He heals ALL of them. How impractical.

Doesn’t He know He’s encouraging those who are struggling with disease and illness to rely on Him? Our current healthcare system knows there’s no money in healing people; only in keeping them sick so we can pump them full of prescription drugs. And it’s EVERYBODY who comes to Him. He’s not the least bit discerning. He doesn’t ask what they want to trade before He meets their need. There’s no quid pro quo. He doesn’t quiz them on the last time they attended synagogue. He doesn’t ask them to recite the Ten Commandments. He doesn’t ask for proof of citizenship. He doesn’t seem to care that He’s going to make the other healers look bad. They might even go out of business and what would they do then for a living? He’s not the least bit bothered by the wide-range of disabilities and illnesses He’s asked to cure. He just does it; He just cures them. He didn’t turn anyone away.

Do you know how attractive I find this Jesus? The one who is so impractical and brazen. Matthew doesn’t say He stops when He gets tired. Matthew doesn’t record how far into the night He worked. He accepts EVERYONE. He is so busy dispensing grace that there is no time for judgment.  I love it. And I love Him.

And I have no doubt that every single individual who is healed by Him is made completely whole, like the leper who started this chapter. I have no doubt that while he is healing the spoken need, He is also meeting the unspoken need. Can you imagine the new trajectory of these lives? They are forever altered. From the point of healing on out, there is now a new jumping off point in each life.

My challenge is to ask how much of a healing presence am I? How regularly do people walk away from time with me feeling and being better than when they first walked up? Am I selective in who I offer grace to? And the answers whispered back to me are that I am falling short compared to the Christ. I often put conditions on my giving: if you treat me well then I will treat you well. If you don’t, then forget it. I wonder how many of the people He healed thanked Him? How many eyes did He open that would go on to lust? How many tongues did He loosen that would go on to speak hateful words? He didn’t heal them because He expected them to be perfect afterwards. He knew they would stumble. He knew they would be ungracious. He went ahead and healed them anyway.

What if we sought to do that? How powerful of an influence for good the church would be. We might even run the pharmaceutical companies out of business when it comes to certain drugs. We might shutter therapist offices. We might close down substance abuse rehabilitation centers. We might even empty prisons. Maybe not. But wouldn’t it be fun to try?  The problem we often have is that there is a cost to us. We have to give up free time. We have to sacrifice hard-earned dollars. We have to reach out and give up a piece of ourselves. Oh, but to be so impractical…just like the Christ!

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Kris White

Kris White resides in the southwest desert community of Las Vegas, Nevada. She has two furry children, Ben and Mack. She is the awesome aunt to world jumpers Pike and Jude. She is the author of the soon to be released book, The Third Gate.

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