Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Works and Wonders

Scripture Text:  Matthew 8:18-38

As followers of Jesus it can be hard to fully comprehend what it means to follow Jesus, and to come to terms with the works and wonder of Jesus. This is nothing new as since he walked on earth people have struggled. As a result we can simplify the call to follow Jesus while we also remove the supernatural power of Jesus.

To be a follower of Jesus when he walked the earth was not a matter of attending a few church services and toting a Bible around. The call to follow Jesus was a call to fundamentally change the way we live our lives. We are invited to exchange living from a perspective of society, for living the life that Jesus modeled and taught. We are called to be countercultural. Whether it was the first century, or today, this is not an easy task.

Part of being a follower of Jesus is to recognize the supernatural of Jesus. Jesus is able to do things that science and reason have tried to explain but cannot. Calming the sea with a mere command, is not "normal" climate behavior. Casting demons into pigs after a conversation about it, is not average day-to-day behavior. Yet, that is exactly the work and wonder Jesus was about.

A common question in the United States is why we do not see the miraculous today like we read about in the Bible? Some assume it is because God does not act like that anymore. Another would reason the miracles never really took place, they are only written about. Lots of answers are given that remove supernatural ability from Jesus. Perhaps we do not see it as often in our culture because we have determined Jesus not capable.

Living a Christ-centered marriage has never been an easy thing. The values by which we live when we are following Christ come into conflict with the world around us. Marriage is not immune to this. In fact we live in a time when holding to Christ-centered values in marriage is not only hard to do, it is hard to define. Still the call is clear, live a life, a marriage with Christ as the measure of our values not the culture around us.

When it comes to our relationship with the supernatural works and wonders of Jesus, marriage can often be a visible sign of the miraculous. The idea the two people could commit to living the rest of their lives together, through sickness and health, for richer, for poorer, till death do us part requires the supernatural work of God. Perhaps as we have tried to do it on our own, rendering Jesus impotent, marriage has fallen prey to the disposable nature of so many things in our culture.

Marriage gets viewed as disposable because it is thought to be only the work of humans. The works and wonders of Jesus are cut out of the equation. Couple this with the challenge of married life in a culture that struggles to have clear value of marriage, and the trap is set for poor quality marriage. To cultivate a healthy marriage we must first be willing to follow Jesus, even when it is not culturally valued. Second, we must keep space for the supernatural works and wonders of Jesus.

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