“… the church is called to be for the world what Jesus was for Israel: not just a moral lecturer, nor even a moral example, but the people who, in obedience to God’s strange vocation, learn to suffer and pray at the place where the world is in pain, so that the world may be healed.” 1
We will value hope and healing for others as far as we value these truths for ourselves. That is why rehearsing the Gospel every day is vital. We begin each day voicing our greatest needs, far deeper than financial concerns or relational strife — we are estranged from God until He mercifully brings us back to His table to enjoy the life of His Son.
When He invites us back day after day, we develop an appetite for the nourishment He offers, and cannot go on without inviting others to the table as well. Yet, if we think we’re better than others, we’ll live that way. (E.g., it’s impossible to really forgive someone if you think you are better than him or her.) People who think of others as more important than themselves — like Jesus lived and why He died — people like Him find opportunities to set aside their personal comforts to bring comfort to others. I dare say this is part of the vision Jesus has for our lives. I tend to think many of His so-called followers fail to grasp this and thus fail to become who He rescued us to be.
Grasping the Gospel of hope & healing: If we are convinced all the time that we are worse off and undeserving than we ever realized before, and at the same time more loved than we ever dared to dream, we will be on the right track. Our hearts will be renewed with compassion as we hear Jesus invite us again to His gracious table – just as He invites the lame, sick, and outcasts to dine with Him (yes, you and I are two of them). Furthermore, we’ll pull out a chair for another whom Jesus is also waving into His banquet.
“Given the iterative weakness of our surrender to Jesus’ authority and the frequent frailty of our resolve to follow Him, our lives of discipleship must regularly be punctuated by intentional pauses at the feet of the Servant, not only remembering His grace, but thoughtfully receiving it. In this way, the Spirit will bring the grace of Jesus to bear on our hearts, softening them, inclining them toward God, and enabling them to respond to the virtuous demands of our King.” 2
Will I value hope and healing enough to daily remember, daily receive, and daily respond? If so, I won’t go it alone.
- N.T. Wright, “The Truth of the Gospel and Christian Living,” in The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (ed. Marcus J. Borg and N.T. Wright; New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1999), 224. ↩
- Jonathan Lunde, Following Jesus, the Servant King: A Biblical Theology of Covenantal Discipleship (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 286. ↩