This Jesus is a mystery!
He must have especially seemed a mystery to the first century Jews who encountered Him. He does miracles that make people believe in Him, but when people demand a miracle, He doesn’t do one. He does spectacular, divine things, and then He warns you not to tell anyone about what He’s done – as if you could contain it within in you, as if people aren’t going to hear anyway, as if one who is God doesn’t want everyone to know just yet.
He heals and teaches in a way that only God could do, but He comes as a servant and not as a King. And yet He says that He’s a King with a kingdom, and one that He says is in our midst! He does and teaches good, and for this He is persecuted and hunted down like an animal.
This Jesus is a mystery!
And here He is 2000 years later, again demanding that we make sense of Him, demanding that we take a stand, for “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (verse 30).
It won’t do to answer the way that most modern people answer the mystery of Jesus: that he’s a good teacher and good man who teaches basically what all other good teachers and religions teach. This simply isn’t true. No other teachers, except for His disciples, dare to say that He is fully God, as He Himself claimed to be and demonstrated Himself to be. Neither Confucius nor Buddha, neither Mohammed nor the Dalai Lama have healed miraculously or turned water into wine or fed 5000 with so little food or raised someone from the dead or been raised from the dead themselves.
I know who Jesus is: He is the Son of God, God incarnate, the Savior of the world. And yet He is still a mystery to me.
I believe that He is God Almighty; I believe that He performed the miracles that are recorded of Him; I believe that He has power over disease and nature and demons and even life itself. I’ve read and heard all of these accounts of Him.
And yet there are times when He seems to hide Himself from me as well. There are times when, in spite of what I know, He seems to not want to make Himself known to me. There are times when I seem worn down by life or exhausted or blah beyond the point of feeling.
These are the times when I myself am the mystery: one who has a deep faith in my Lord Jesus and yet can’t really sense or experience Him. I seem a lesser version of the One who is God and yet can hide Himself from men, the one who is divine and yet can look only human.
“Where,” I ask, “is the power and the glory of the Strong One who has bound the evil strong man and entered his house, the One whose kingdom came with the glory of angels and miracles?”
I become as the blind and mute man in Matthew 12. In this chapter, the blind and mute man is brought by others to Jesus to be healed, and he finds healing. In this chapter of my life, I will bring myself to Jesus to find healing once again. This is my advantage over the blind and lame men in the Gospels: they have to wait for others to bring them to Jesus, but I can come to Him any time I want.
Even, especially, when I can’t see or feel Jesus, I can come to Him and ask Him to heal me, to show Himself to me once again.
And I know that He will do it. But precisely because He has already driven the evil strong man out of my life I have the confidence that even if He chooses to reveal Himself to me slowly that He will show Himself to me in His time. And I know that even in my most blind, deaf, and dumb moments that He will not abandon me. I know that He has the power over my every disease and weakness, over my blindness and numbness, and over my life. And if He chooses to hide Himself and help me in invisible and intangible ways, I’ll be content with that, for I know Him, even when He hides Himself in the shadows of the earth and in the dark places of my life.
I know what to do, for I know who this mystery is. I know Jesus, and therefore, even, especially at my darkest, weakest moments, I will seek Him and His healing.
Knowing Him, I choose, as well, to trust whatever it is that He gives me today. Even if it seems like too little to me, I know that He will give me exactly what I need, if only I ask Him.
Here I am, Lord, though I can’t see you or feel you very well today. Here I am, a mystery even to myself. Here I am. Be merciful to me, and hear my prayer. Give me what I need today: give me yourself, and I will be happy.
Prayer: Here I am, Lord, though I can’t see you or feel you very well today. Here I am, a mystery even to myself. Here I am. Be merciful to me, and hear my prayer. Give me what I need today: give me yourself, and I will be happy. Amen.
Points for Mediation:
- What are the implications of the fact that the Kingdom of God has already come and that Jesus has already bound the strong man Satan?
- What is your response when God seems to hide Himself from you? What would be the best response to such times?
Resolution: I resolve to ask God to loose whatever it is that is binding me today that I might see Him and know Him better.
© 2014 Fr. Charles Erlandson