Ignoring right now the complexities of this truth let me just state it in light of the biblical narrative: the human family chose alienation from God and consequences followed and continue to follow.

God’s purposed response to it was to become incarnate in and as Jesus of Nazareth (John 1). And He come to be “God with us (Matthew 1). Not God against us. He came not to condemn us but to bring us to fullness of life (John 10). The world we live in has a God-denying look: “If He does exist He doesn’t care. Look around for pity’s sake.” God’s definitive answer to that is the Incarnation and what flows from it. That’s why the Christian faith scandalizes so many of us. The young Galilean carpenter is God responding to human family that has experienced a cosmic wreck and the effects of it. (I do understand this all needs developed!) God is a divine paramedic who insists on working with humans as humans and He won’t go back on that eternal decision. There lies a real basis for our sneering at the Bible Story. God insists on working with humans as humans—even sneering humans.

Matthew 8:16-17 makes it clear that in Jesus Christ God took human suffering on His heart, in healing it He made it clear it is not His heart’s desire and He went with it all the way to Golgotha and nailed it there along with the alienation (Sin) that we chose and choose. He came and ministered to our hurt and hunger and loneliness, suffering with us, from us and for us and because He is one of us He suffers in us (Hebrews 2).

And He continues to serve us through us! I know a woman who worked for thirteen years with the physically and mentally disabled and now works with one feeble, elderly, often pain-racked man, totally dependent on others for everything. I’m privileged to know her well and (along with a host of others) she sees the helpless ill as those Jesus identifies Himself with. In her and all like her Jesus becomes the healer and in her eyes and all like her the disabled become Jesus the Sufferer. And in His likeness they both share the suffering and heal it and so they live out His Story as we see in in places like Matthew 8:16-17.

Marvelous Teresa of Calcutta fully embraced that costly truth in daily living and expressed it with power in a prayer of desperate intensity and sweetness.

Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day in the person of your sick, and, whilst nursing them, minister unto you.

Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise of the irritable, the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize you, and say: “Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.
.  .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

O beloved sick, how doubly dear you are to me, when you personify Christ; and what a privilege is mine to be allowed to tend you.

How wonderful is that! How simply magnificent is that!

The great news beyond that is God has said NO to Sin, Suffering & Death in a glorious Resurrection. There’s a new world coming where Sin, Suffering & Death don’t exist. A world is coming where humans live as humans in warm righteousness, unending well-being, joy, peace and adventure know no end. THIS IS WHAT GOD CAME TO OFFER!

Think noble things of God!

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