The Gospel is ours now
by Rev. Dan Christ
why is is that Christians say they have a good news/ gospel and they seem just as sad as the rest of us? Why do they talk about
healing but there are just as many sick, blind, or disabled among them? Why proclaim resurrection, when they die and are buried just the same as everyone else?
If there can be an answer to the critics of Christianity and the inner critic of our own doubts which ask such questions, the answer must lie not in Christians but in the Christ. He is the one who said, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."
We look for fulfillment in demonstrated deeds of power and like the good people in the synagogue at Nazareth, we have too much doubt to believe they can or would be true in any sense than the flat literal reality of blind giving up white canes and dead people marching out of tombs.
In fact the fulfillment is in the hearing and the hearing which leads to believing. Any other option will disappoint us and lead us to demand of Jesus signs and wonders and deeds of power to prove his divinity. "If you are as good as you say you are, why not work a miracle here like you have elsewhere?" then we will
believe that is in essence what the people in the synagogue said.
They did not mind as long as he read the bible and said a brief sermon "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing>" Then they all spoke well of him and said like so many do when they come out after worship, 'Nice sermon pastor."
But like polite parishioners of today, the people of Nazareth knew that it takes more than words to make
fulfillment. They want to see some action. SO like Missourians, we say, "Show me" or like kids on the play ground, "Prove it"
Jesus reply is to tell two rather pointed stories aimed at their doubts and their criticism. "Doubtless you will quote the proverb, 'Physician, heal thy self'" It was to the unlikeliest of people God Elijah to feed the
widow of Zarepath and for Elisha to cure Naaman, and not Israelites.
It would be like telling Americans that democracy did not start with them but with the ancient Greeks and the idea of a bill of rights was not a notion the founding fathers came up with, but one which the English had invented about 125 years earlier. Does that upset or
annoy you? Well, you get a dim idea then of how upset and angry the Nazarenes were with Jesus as they tried to throw him off a hill.
No, my friends, if the words of the Savior, Jesus Christ, mean anything, they are just what they say, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing. Perhaps in the
kingdom on the last day, it will come literally true that the blind will see, the dead will come from their tombs, and the captives will be released.
In the mean time, the true is that we must take this to mean that as one of our astute
theologians in bible study remarked last week, 'Isn't this about the forgiveness of sins?"
As we sing in the hymn Amazing grace, "I once was blind, but now I see, was lost but now am found." We could extrapolate or expand to say, "I was dead in sin and captive to Satan, disabled by my own self-centeredness. But not because of Christ's forgiveness, I am free and alive and strong."
No Christians may not have a different mortality rate than non Christians. Blindness and disability may come our way and we
suffer as all men do. But as the bumper sticker says, "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven."
Perfection will have to wait till heaven. Till then the scripture of Christ, who was anointed to preach good news to the poor, is fulfilled in the hearing that indeed we are forgiven and we have a new start. It is fulfilled as we believe it is ours now. Believe it. Amen.