Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Jesus Walked Past a Need...

Remember the story from Acts 3 about the healing of a lame man by Peter and John? It is about a man, lame from birth, who was carried every day to the temple gate called Beautiful in Jerusalem so that he could beg from those going up to pray. When Peter and John passed by, he asked for help. And Peter along with John looked at him and said, 'I don't have silver or gold, but what I have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!' And with that, they took him by the right hand and raised him up and at once, his ankles and feet became strong. He jumped up, stood and started to walk. He entered the temple complex walking, leaping and praising God!

It's a great story, right? But have you ever thought about the fact that if this man sat at the temple gate for every day for all those years, he must have seen Jesus pass once or twice? So the question is why didn't he ask help from Jesus. Or even more disturbing (from my feeble human standpoint) is why didn't Jesus stop and meet the needs of this individual? Surely He has passed him by. Surely He had seen him. And surely, Jesus knew the man's need.

There are several possibilities...

* Maybe Jesus never came near this man. I think this highly unlikely so let's move on to the next theory.

* There seems to be a "seeking" requirement in many of the healings in the New Testament. In other words, those healed are ones seeking Jesus, the power of the Spirit. While not exactly true in every case, generally, most people were seeking answers/healing from God when they were restored to health. So maybe when the lame man saw Jesus the times He passed by, at that time, there was no desire to seek healing and no "readiness" on the part of the lame man.

* It may have been that the lame man didn't really know who Jesus was and what He had to offer. This one is hard to imagine considering how Jesus' fame had spread through the land at the time.

* Maybe it wasn't God's timing for the healing to take place until John and Peter went up to pray. I've shared before that we as humans live bound in "kronos" time whereas God (the maker of "kronos" time) has His own "kairos" timetable. It could be, like the blind man healed in John chapter 9, that the healing took place at God's proper time so that, 'God's works might be displayed in him.'

To be honest, I am not sure why Jesus would have walked by this particular man in need and not stop to help Him. I would assume that there also were many others who were not healed as well though many sought Him. Moreover, just as there were multitudes who still did not believe in Him while He was on earth, there were also throngs who are not healed. Why?

It is a difficult question.

One thing I do know is that when Jesus healed, compassion was always a component of that healing. He was moved for the hurting, the helpless and the homeless. He had a mission for proclaiming in word and in deed that the Kingdom of God had come. He came to seek and to save that which was lost and He came to give abundant life.

In short, I don't know why Jesus may have walked by this particular person in need or even others during His time on earth and not stop. I do know that He and the Father knows best and nothing escaped or will ever escape His notice and that His thoughts and ways are so much higher than mine that I have to trust Him even when I don't understand.

Maybe it is a good lesson for me as I go about helping in international disaster response and community development. Maybe I can alleviate myself of the burden that I have to meet every need I see. Maybe.

"Lord, give me the ability to see and meet needs of those in my path today. Give me also the peace to accept the things I can't do and can't change."


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