Saturday, January 19, 2013

Becoming what we believe

Become:  Arrive at; grow into; develop into.   If someone were to walk up to you and tell you to "Become what you believe", what would you become?  In other words, I am asking what would you "grow into" or where would you "arrive at" in your life?  This might be a very telling question for some of us.  In fact, most of us don't really have a plan for where we'd like to "arrive at" or what we truly would like to "grow into".   We simply live day by day, making the best of each moment, and wonder what the next will hold.  I don't think God expects us to "plan out" every moment of our lives, but I do think he has a unique place in our lives for the faith to believe for great things in him.

As Jesus left the house, he was followed by two blind men crying out, “Mercy, Son of David! Mercy on us!” When Jesus got home, the blind men went in with him. Jesus said to them, “Do you really believe I can do this?” They said, “Why, yes, Master!”  He touched their eyes and said, “Become what you believe.” It happened. They saw.  (Matthew 9:27-29 MSG)

Two men followed Jesus.  Imagine being blind in a crowd.  It is one thing to be blind when you can pick your way along a street you may know like the back of your hand.  There will still be untold unanticipated obstacles in your way, but at least you know the path you are traveling.  These men were blazing new territory on this day - the crowds pressing hard toward Jesus.  Maybe these men were just being "ushered" along by the crowd, but they know where they wanted to be and they were headed in that direction!  Jesus was their aim!  Healing was their hope!

They cry for mercy.  Unmerited favor - they ask the great Healer for his favor.  Not for their healing, but for his favor.  I wonder if they secretly really believed for their healing - asking for his "favor" to accomplish this?  If we really understand this word "favor", then we know it is something we cannot "justify" - we have no reason to expect it based on anything we deserve, but we are counting on the goodwill of another to grant what it is we wish for.  
Look at the passage again - they pressed along with the crowd and right into the living room of Jesus' house!  Yep, it says that when Jesus arrived at home, they went right inside with him!  Now, I don't know about you, but this speaks volumes to me.  They weren't willing to remain on the outside, listening for some "beckoning call" from the Healer that might suggest to them they could enter.  Instead, they just press right into his presence.  I think God honors this kind of faith - the faith which presses beyond what someone might say was the "acceptable boundaries".  Going into someone's home uninvited was just not acceptable.  

Don't lose sight of the fact that Jesus did not have them thrown out!  He simply took notice of them there.  I wonder what difference we might accomplish in life if we put ourselves in a similar place with Jesus - in the place where he cannot help but take notice of us.  This "place" was in the very home of Jesus - in the place where he was the most "intimate" with others.  Think about it - isn't your home the place where you associate with others in closeness.  This is what intimacy really is - close personal relationships with others.  These men put themselves in a place of "close personal relationship" with Jesus.  In so doing, they find themselves up close and personal with Jesus!  The Healer's home became their place of greatest hope!

In response to their faith - their confidence and trust in their Healer - he asks a very pointed question:  Do you really believe I can do this?  I wonder how many times we actually take our "faith" to Jesus and he looks back at us with this question?  I think it may be more than we imagine.  The question is pointed - do YOU believe I can do this?  Not that YOU can do it if you just believe hard enough, but that the Master can do it.  Here he found these two men, pressing through and then into his very personal space.  I guess I would have seen these men's faith as already answering the question.  Yet, Jesus asks.  Why?  Perhaps it was a confirmation of their desire.  
I think there are times Jesus is asking us to clarify and confirm our desire - what it is we envision we will "become" - arrive at, grow or develop into. There is nothing wrong with Jesus asking this question.  It clarifies the purpose of us drawing near.  It is one thing to arrive in the presence of God, it is quite another to be sure what it is we need once we are there!  They had a "vision" of seeing!  Their desire was to arrive at sight!   Jesus usually goes one better than what it is we desire - have you ever noticed that?  They want physical vision - I think he probably was bringing some clarity to their spiritual vision first!

In response to their faith, he tells them to "become what they believe".  If Jesus were to say this to us, I wonder what we'd become right here and now?  What is it you believe about yourself?  Often, what we believe is what either holds us back or propels us forward.  For these guys, their belief drove them further into the presence of Christ.  I wonder where our belief will drive us today?  Will it find us pressing through the crowd and right into the very "personal" space of Jesus?  If it does, what is it we will seek there?  Knowing what it is we really desire is often the first step in receiving what it is we will receive.  Just sayin!