Commento

 

Real Faith and Irrelevant Pretty Notions

Da Jared Buss

Jesus raises Jairus's daughter.

When things go wrong, either in our personal lives or in the world around us, religion can start to seem irrelevant. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that it starts to feel like a useless hope. It feels like baggage that we no longer have a reason to carry around. Religious teachings can start to seem like meaningless ideals, and religious practices can feel futile. We might look at the messes in our lives and say, “My ideals haven’t stopped this from happening.” Or we might see tragedy and chaos on the news and say, “How is going to church going to change this?”

But all of this thinking is backwards. Religion isn’t a luxury item. It isn’t something that we ornament our lives with to testify that life is going great. It isn’t a beautiful thing that we do because we’re beautiful people. If religion is what it’s meant to be, then it only becomes more relevant the more things fall apart.

The clearest proof of this is the Lord’s well-known statement: “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17). People are so easily carried away by the idea that religion is for righteous people, but the Lord says “not so.” And good thing too—because where are these righteous people anyway? He came here for the sinners. He came to earth for the people who have created messes in their lives—not to congratulate them, but to help them. To save them.

This is why there are so many hard teachings in the Word. The Lord tells us how to fight spiritual battles—how to shun the evils that we unearth within ourselves. If we expect religion to be a beautiful adornment for beautiful people, these teachings are jarring. They’re a bit like a first aid course. Who wants to spend time thinking about injuries? If life was just a Saturday afternoon in an armchair, there would be no need to think about such things. It’s when something goes wrong that the value of first aid training hits home. Likewise, if we believe that nothing much is wrong with anything or anybody, it’s hard to understand why the Lord has so much to say about repentance. But if evil is real, it all makes sense. That bad stuff is what He’s trying to save us from. It’s why He tells us so many times that we need Him—we need His power. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:30, 31).

None of this means that we’re supposed to have a negative outlook on life. The Word isn’t there simply to teach us that hard times are real and that we need to be saved. The message of the Word is that the Lord can give us joy in spite of the hard stuff—in spite of the evil—if we let Him. He says: “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22). That’s not just some high-flying ideal. It’s a lot more powerful than the notion that life should be pretty. If the Lord is being “real” when He talks about the gritty and painful things—about loneliness and loss—then maybe He’s also being “real” when He promises that He can comfort us.

Much of the world seems to believe that religion is increasingly irrelevant. The world seems to say that religion hasn’t cured us of anything, so it’s a dead weight that the human race can dispense with. But this is backwards. The teachings of the Word are relevant because the world needs healing. This healing isn’t just something we can seek out for ourselves—it’s something we can share, if we have the courage. When we do this, we aren’t sharing a happy little ideal. We shouldn’t point to religion as something that’s merely “interesting.” We’re talking about the most real things in life—about struggle and sorrow, and joy that will transcend them.

La Bibbia

 

Matthew 9

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1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.

2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.

4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?

6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.

7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?

12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.

13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?

15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.

16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.

17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.

19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.

23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.

25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.

26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.

27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.

28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.

29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.

30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it.

31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.

35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.

36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;

38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.