Many of the people who were with Mary, believed in Jesus when they saw this happen. But some went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. – John 11:45-6
Have you ever thought how you might have responded if you were there? Would you believe if you saw someone raise the dead?
This week I was inter State, and unusually, stayed at the home of someone who I work with. Well into the evening we sat around a table and their wife recounted the story of her bike accident. A car came out of a side street and hit her side on, knocking her across one car, onto the roof of another. She has been in pain ever since, and rarely sleeps. She has tried every ‘healing’ imaginable, and most recently her Physio said to her it was unlikely she would ever improve.
I felt compelled to ask if I could lay hands on her and pray for her, there was a real sense that the Lord wanted to heal her. To my surprise, she declined. People rarely decline prayer, even if they don’t believe, and her response was upsetting. What if that was the only opportunity for the rest of her life, that she had to be introduced to Jesus? A life gone for all eternity.
It got me thinking about each of us, you, me the people we pass in our lives, believer, church-goer, non-believer, agnostic. Each of us have an opportunity to do something with Jesus this day, and only this day. Many of us assume life will go on, that we have tomorrow, next week, or next year to do something, but we only have today. What will we do with him today?
We allow our lives to drift, each of us; days turn into weeks, then months and good intentions don’t ever become action. Jesus is still neglected, yes even by those who believe, me, you. As I watched this family close up, I could see the vacuous existence that I have learned to recognise in so many middle-class families. They have security, success and are by the worlds standards happy, yet there is as CS Lewis tells us, a God-shaped void in their hearts. Something is missing.
A few days later, and I am still deeply saddened at what they had turned down, so convicted are they of their agnosticism and belief in the physical. To decline Jesus, how can that be?
This week our business hit a record month, and it was a monumental milestone. For those of you who know of our personal circumstance over the past decade, the restoration by God has been miraculous and as a family we pinch ourselves. Yet, within that same time, Jesus has become such a reality in our lives, that such accomplishment pales into comparison compared to the sheer joy of knowing him. To know with intimacy, this majestic divine personality is staggering. He is the unseen force in our family and our marriage, through knowing him we know the very God of the universe, and not only that he is prepared to come to our level and work within our limiting dimensions.
He gives us the love, the courage and the boldness to live him out in everyday life. We feel such confidence in him as a person, such that not only do we know him, we can also share him. Because of what he has done for us, our motivation is to take that to others; this giver of life is available to all who know that something is missing, a God who loves, who heals, who cleanses us, frees us, sets our feet on a rock.
Our efforts might be measly by comparison, but strangely such measly efforts are actually pleasing to him. They are pleasing because, in sharing the love of God with others, we are mirroring what Jesus did while on earth. Talking and sharing, usually with simple people, about the love of God. When we do such things, we find fulfilment, satisfaction in a way few ever find.
The woman who rejected the offer of prayer, saddens us. Why do people search everywhere except where they will find the answer? We don’t know, but we do know that the same thing happened to Jesus and yet he still pursued the same work. It happened to Paul, the Apostles and it will continue with us as well; people will reject the message. We must never stop though.
Somewhere along the way, we will uncover the pearl, the person who has never heard but wants to know.
The question for all of us, believer or non-believer is then, what shall we do with him today? There may never be another.