Monday, February 2, 2015

What have You to do with Us?

21 And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. 22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. 23 And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” 28 And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee. (Mark 1:21-28 (ESV)
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.”
The demon, the unclean spirit speaks. What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?  It is a perplexing question for many more than just the devil and his angels. One often asked of those who wish God would not be occupied with them at all. And yet also asked even by the Psalmist, King David himself, amidst the wonder and awe of faith, bewildered that God should love sinners the way he does. 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 (ESV) One asks from contempt, from fear, and resentment. The other asks from love, from awe, and from thankfulness.
What is man that God is mindful of him? I think there is a part of us all that wishes it weren’t just so. That God has numbered the hairs on our heads that he values us more than the sparrows of which he knows when they fall. We would like to think that our life is ours to do with what we please. Or as one young man with a troubled soul asked me, why would God care who I love? Though I wasn’t too sure what he spoke of was really something God considered love. That’s the problem with our twisted and tortured souls racked by sin, and plagued by death. God’s law is written on our heart and it stings. The light of Christ is blinding and painful as our eyes adjust from a world of darkness that does not want to know God or the love of Christ. His law would show us how to love, and yet we find this love to be too hard, the right thing too inconvenient, forgiveness too often too painful.
We have to understand this, us Christians. How resentful the world can be for a God they know meddles in their lives, is concerned with their wellbeing. We’ve all been there. A nosy brother or sister. Well-meaning parents inquiring after and about things you would rather keep to yourself, if for no other reason just to maintain your pride. And then there is God. The fact that you can’t keep anything secret from him isn’t exactly gospel to a lot of people. Few rejoice at the notion that God knows their every move, their every thought, their every deed. I dare say, most of us have squirmed a time or two realizing the implications of this, that the deepest and darkest secrets of the soul, the long forgotten and intentionally forgotten antics of adolescence, the school age stupidities, intoxicated idiocy, and short tempered familial hostilities. God sees it all, knows it all and hears it all. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to fear the worst, to cry out from the soul, why? Why Lord, what do you have to do with us? Why can’t you just leave us alone? Have you come to destroy us?
Yes indeed, what is man, these sin filled souls created from dust to which they return? “Yet you have made him lower than heavenly beings, and crowned him with glory and honor” The psalmist continues. Given him dominion over the works of your hands, and put all things under his feet. What has God to do with us? To destroy us? No. But for this reason Jesus of Nazareth, the holy one of God has come, to restore us to the Father, to give us life, to take from us the shadow of death and bestow on us the light of his countenance. Because he knows when even the sparrows fall from the heavens, and would lift us up from the pits of despair, who have destroyed ourselves. He knows our pain he knows our trouble, but gives us glory in his son, who glorifies the Father with his death, that in him who sits at the right hand of the Father, even our enemies would be a footstool under his feet, a forgotten memory left in the dark recesses of his empty tomb.

Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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