Here is the promise of the Gospel, we are given a friend who will always enjoy rather than refuse our presence. This is a companion whose embrace of us does not strengthen or weaken depending on how clean or unclean how attractive or revolting, how faithful or fickle, we presently are. The friendliness of his heart for us subjectively is as fixed and stable as is the declaration of his justification of us objectively.
Every human friend has a limit. If we offend enough, if a relationship gets damaged enough, if we betray enough times, we are cast out. the walls go up. With Christ, our sins and weaknesses are the very resumè items that qualify us to approach him. Nothing but coming to him is required – first at conversion and a thousand times thereafter until we are with him upon death.
Jesus is not Zeus. He was a sinless man not a sinless superman. He woke up with bed-head. He had pimples at thirteen. He never would have appeared on the cover of Men’s Health (he had “no beauty that we should desire him” Isa 53:2). He came as a normal man to normal men. He knows what it is to be thirsty, hungry, despised, rejected, scorned, shamed, embarasses, abandoned, misunderstood, falsely accused, suffocated, tortured and killed. His friends abandoned when he need them most; had he lived today, every last Twitter follower and Facebook friend who have un-friended him when he turned thirty-three – he who will never un-friend us.
German Theologian Jürgen Moltmann points out that miracles are not an interruption of the natural order, but the restoration of the natural order. We are so used to a fallen world that sickness, disease, pain and death seem natural. In fact, they are the interruption.
When Jesus expels demons and heals the sick, he is driving out of creation the powers of destruction and is healing and restoring created beings who are hurt and sick. The lordship of God to which the healings witness, restores creation to health. Jesus healings are not supernatural miracles in a natural world. they are the only truly “natural” thing in a world that is unnatural, demonised and wounded.
One particularly striking part of this (Old Testament law) system is that when an unclean person comes into contact with a clean person, that clean person then becomes unclean. Moral dirtiness is contagious.
Consider Jesus. In Levitical categories, he is the cleanest person to ever walk the face of the earth. He was the Clean One…
When Jesus, the Clean One, touched an unclean sinner, Christ die not become unclean. The sinner beame clean.
Jesus walked the earth rehumanizing the dehumanized and cleansing the unclean. Why? Because his heart refused to let him sleep in. Sadness confronted him in every town. So wherever he went,whenever he was confronted with pain and longing, he spread the good contagion of his cleansing mercy. Thomas Goodwin said, “Christ is love covered over in ﬂesh.” Picture it. Pull back the ﬂesh on the Stepford Wives or the Terminator and you ﬁnd machine; pull back the ﬂesh on Christ and you ﬁnd love.
Jesus is using a kind of irony, saying that the yoke laid on his disciples is a nonyoke. For it is a yoke of kindness.
Who could resist this? It’s like telling a drowning man that he must put on the burden of a life preserver only to hear him shout back, sputtering, “No way! Not me! This is hard enough, drowning here in these stormy waters. The last thing I need is the added burden of a life preserver around my body!”