Devotions Archive

Jesus mandala

Sunday, January 5, 2003

Matthew 4:12-25
When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison,
he returned to Galilee. Leaving Nazareth,
he went and lived in Capernaum. …
From that time on Jesus began to preach. …
Jesus went throughout Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the good news of the kingdom, and
healing every disease and sickness among the
News about him spread all over Syria,
and people brought to him
all who were ill with various diseases,
those suffering severe pain,
the demon-possessed,
those having seizures, and
the paralyzed,
and he healed them.
Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and the region across the Jordan followed him.

In Larry Crabb’s seminal book Inside Out, he writes at length about our expectations as we live our lives. We were created for Paradise, and we are born expecting to live there. But in Eden Adam and Eve chose “knowledge” rather than obedience, and now we live in a world shaped and ruled by “wise” men rather than God. Selfishness abounds. There doesn’t seem to be enough of anything to go around.

Jesus entered this fallen world determined to change things. Accepting physical limitations but not spiritual ones, he gave himself fully to those around him. Physical health and fullness poured out of him, and people clamored to be in his circle of life.

Here in this world of self-centered people - the circle extended just so far, and no farther. For it to reach the ends of the earth, we had to begin making our own circles of life, become Jesus’ brothers and sisters, give as he gave, do as he did.

Rather than being imitated, Jesus was rejected. Hopelessly confused about the nature of the universe and the purpose of life, the descendants of Adam and Eve killed Jesus. We follow in those fallen footsteps, worshipping the worst, killing the best.

God, of course, does not follow us, even as he allows us to walk our own ways. Paving a whole new path to paradise, Jesus returned to life, refusing to die, and offered us himself.

Only this time there are no physical limits. Walking here with us, he showed us what life should be, and now he makes himself available anytime and everywhere to all of us. Even our sin no longer drives us apart; his forgiveness is the buffer which absorbs it all. We can be constant companions.

So on the Twelfth Night of Christmas there’s no need to lose myself in food and drink. I’ve been found. The Christmas celebration may be over, but Jesus is here to stay.

Change my heart, O Lord, make it ever new, mold me and shape me, make me more like you

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