One of my favorite verses in scripture is John 21:25. In it John writes that there simply isn’t enough room in the world for all the books that we’d need if he had been able to record everything Jesus did. You see I tend to think of the Gospels as the definitive description of the life of Jesus when really what they are is an incomplete representation of His life, miracles, parables, and instructions. Now that is a truly mind boggling thought. Which for a guy like me leads me to wonder if what made it into the Gospels is there for a reason?
Maybe the miracles that were recorded are there because in addition to being really cool, they illustrate a point about the nature of Jesus.
Let’s suppose you’ve got something I want or need, and you’re willing to let me have it but first there are certain conditions I must meet in order to get it. Conditions by themselves are morally neutral, they can be reasonable, or they may amount to hoops you’re jumping me through simply because you can. But they are a fact of life. Husbands impose them on wives, parents on children, employers on employees. The list goes on and on. Without them it’s unlikely civil society could survive.
But Jesus apparently didn’t impose conditions or jump people through hoops in order to receive His mercy. Take the adulteress about to be stoned to death by a self-righteous mob. Jesus didn’t lay down any conditions for stopping the mob. He didn’t say accept Me as your savior, He didn’t demand that she renounce her sinful behaviors. He simply saved her life. Even more remarkable is the healing of the lame man by the pool, Jesus not only healed him without condition, He didn’t even tell the lame man who He was. Who does that? I’m always looking for a little credit for my good deeds.
So maybe one of the lessons I’m supposed to take away from the miracles of Jesus is all about conditions. Jesus didn’t just command us to help the poor and downtrodden, He showed us by example how He wanted it done. No conditions, no artificial hoops for them to jump through in order to receive help. And occasionally they just might ask “Why do you help me this way?”
“Why? Because Jesus loves you.”