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Wednesday, November 05, 2014


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There is a scene in the Bible — Matthew 11 — where John the Baptist sends one of his disciples to ask Jesus a question: “Are you the one who is to come, or are we to wait for another?” It is one thing to do the dirty work for a friend and ask a girl whether she thinks he is cool or whatever, but it is another thing to ask the Messiah if he really is, well, the Messiah.

Are you really the one?

Jesus turns to the poor fellow, whose knees I imagine were knocking as loud as the bass drummer in the grade school band, and says, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

Wait. What?
That’s it? Nothing else? No Roman Road, or long, detailed analysis of the Hebrew Scriptures? No theological declaration that articulates the Trinity?

Just “Go and tell…”

Notice how Jesus doesn’t answer the question with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no.” Also, isn’t it interesting how Jesus does not proclaim himself but proclaims the reign and love of God in this interaction? Ultimately Jesus came among the people to serve them, bringing life. Instead of casting away those persons who are at the margins of society -- persons that many would want to send away and out of sight -- it is precisely to those people that the Messiah came to restore and save.

Some of us at First Presbyterian Church are reading a book titled Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation by Eboo Patel. In it, Eboo recalls a moment in his journey of faith when he ran across a guy who was always starting up new clubs at his college. When Eboo asked why he always was doing something, his colleague replied, “Because the most important thing you can learn is how to turn an idea into reality…”


So I ask you, what have you seen? If all you have seen is the ‘bad’, I invite you then to step back, take a deep breath, and listen with your eyes for the goodness of God. As you do, it is my hope you’ll recognize how Jesus comes among us in His Word and through the Spirit to stir us up, to get involved in his ministry among those who are left out, on the margins of society, and who are in need.

Our involvement need not be as extravagant and exciting as restoring sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf. Rather, what God may stir up with us is to remind people of their beloved-ness, to see people as the beautiful creation they are, and to tell others about the goodness and love of God.

Chances are, this won’t answer any real questions. But it might inspire hope, bringing to fruition the very real idea that God loves the world…

So friends, tell the world what you have seen. Tell your colleagues about God’s love by exhibiting God’s love. Change the world by loving! Change the community by loving! Change yourself by loving!

[Pastor Adam Quine of First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln]


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