January 22 | Luke 4:42-44

BroadcastingI would imagine healing “all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases” might be pretty exhausting. Even for Jesus. So he retreats. His ministry has just begun and he already needs to get away. He “went into a deserted place” to the degree that people had to look for him. The crowds weren’t done with him. When they find him they essentially beg him to stay. But he must go. There are other people to reach, so off to other cities he goes to reach new people.

There is an important message in here for the Church today: It’s not about us. It’s not about getting our needs met. It is about people “out there”, beyond our doors. The crowd’s that are looking for Jesus have experienced the healing hand of Jesus in their life, and it’s beautiful, and it’s real, and it should be celebrated and remembered, but it shouldn’t stop there. I think one of the problems the Church has had in America over the years is that we’ve domesticated Jesus. We experienced him, he changed our lives, and then we kept him for ourselves. We made him like a pet that we train to live in our homes and acclimate to our family, and then we wonder why so few come to our house to see him.

Jesus is not our pet. He is not to be domesticated; he is to be released. He is not be owned; he is to be given. He is not contained; he is to be poured out. It’s no secret that the Church has been struggling over the last few decades, and there are numerous reasons for this. But as I read these three small, easily missed verses early in Luke’s Gospel, I couldn’t help but see a message for the Church in America in it. Is this Jesus’ message for the Church? Is Jesus saying to us, “I need to be broadcast to other people as well”? What are the implications of this on the Church? At risk of upsetting those whom Jesus has already reached, he leaves and goes to new people. Is this not the Church’s call as well? Are we not called to let go of our ways of connecting to Jesus in order to help new people connect to him too? What does this mean for us? How do we live this out? These are tough questions, but ones we must let in and about which we must begin to dream…

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