This morning I am listening to Hillsong sing the beautiful worship song “So will I” (also known as “a hundred billion galaxies”) and am deeply moved by this breathtaking picture of our “God of Creation”. A picture of a hundred billion galaxies being born, that awesome power being released, tens of thousands of lightyears in size, just by a word and yet ….. and yet – He is interested, intimately interested in me, in you, in each one of us! As the music washes over me, I see a crystal clear mountain stream tinkling down over little waterfalls and stones. The water, absolutely pure. Then I think of a description of John Piper’s in which he, in trying to describe God’s glory, he says it is like the word “beauty”, when we use that word a picture may come into your mind but how do you define it? Just so Glory is difficult to define and the closest he can come to describe it is that God’s glory is manifest in His holiness, which you can describe.
So I see in the clarity of the water a picture of God’s holiness, completely clear and unpolluted. In comparison to that I see a raging, muddy, torrent flowing past it, stones, leaves, rubble and mud swept along – “that is like the world”, the Lord says. Polluted, sweeping everything before it.
How does the crystal clear communicate with the torrent? That is what the work of Jesus which He has accomplished for us. A means for our filthy, muddy water to touch the pure – a picture of the power of Jesus’ work on the cross. He must cleanse a small amount of muddy water to meet with God’s pure stream. However as each individual being is cleansed it is almost infintesimal in its effects on the torrent. When more and more water is cleansed and flows together in a pure stream is has more of an effect. That is why we are so ineffective on our own. We need to act together to make a difference to the torrent. That is why the church is so important. On our own we can have an effect, but together the effect is much greater in changing the muddy torrent to the crystal clear .
My reading is in Luke 5:12-26. These are the first two of 5 stories following the calling of the first disciples. Among others it demonstrates the growing antagonism by the high Priests etc against Him. In the first story about a leper, what spoke to me was the fact that the leper came to Jesus for help. He humbly declared his need to Jesus, vs 12. Jesus’ answer to him is the same as His answer to each one of us when we we go to Him for help, “I am willing”. Perhaps the problem is that we don’t always see or want to admit that we need help. Or maybe we just don’t think of going to Him, but rather try and worry it out by ourselves. Recognizing our need is the first step, then going to Jesus believing that He will help is the next. Of course His answers are not always as clear as the leper experienced, but He is always willing and will help.
The second story is a classic in demonstrating the real nature and identity of Jesus. His true divinity is the main point of this story, which I find to my amazement that many commentaries don’t pick up. Just as He is crucified for blasphemy, claiming to be God, here He demonstrates His divine authority and ability by doing a visible miracle to prove forgiveness of sins which is an invisible action but which God alone can do. This IS God Himself in human form.
The question I ask myself is “do I really believe this? That He is God in human form, walking here in Galilee, able to forgive sins to the uttermost? Able to heal anyone or any situation completely? I am not just speaking about mental assent. I am speaking about heart-felt, when the chips are down faith. I think this is an area in which I need to grow and would venture to suggest hat it is the lifelong task for each Christian. To grow in your faith and vision of who Jesus really is and what He can and wants to do for you, the church and the world.