Rest in the absolute power and absolute authority of Jesus. Jesus failed if his mission was absolute peace on earth. – two phrases that hit me like a 2 x 4 when they left Dean’s lips. Most striking for where I am at in my life; rest. Matthew continues showing us examples of Jesus’s divine authority over sickness, debilitation and death in chapter 9. After each miracle, Jesus is clear to ask its witnesses not to speak of it again. Seems a bit counter-intuitive for a discipleship mission objective. We can understand this request better when we put it into period context. Countless impostors roam the streets, showing off their tricks to gullible citizens in the marketplace. These guys have a good act, a little diversion here, some slight-of-hand there, a rehearsed sales pitch and voila; you gain a following. Jesus does not want himself associated with these pretenders. He wants followers who pursue him for who he is, not people looking for entertainment.
What today’s message and drawing communicate is that many have turned following Jesus into precisely what Jesus disassociated himself from. We know how to put on a good show. Our bright colors, modern music, and progressive attitude draw huge crowds. We know how to plan a great party that gets people walking through the door, but if lives are not changing what purpose does the church serve?
Authority over death, disease, your comings and goings, your sickness all rests on Jesus’ shoulders because his shoulders bore the cross and he did not fail. Along with the aspects of life you’re comfortable acknowledging divine authority to control are the areas that aren’t so easy to keep from trying to control yourself; your marriage, your finances, your business, your whole life.
The word across today’s drawing may be familiar from the drawing two weeks ago, it is the word ‘authority’ written in Greek. Jesus’ torso supports ‘authority’ on his shoulders. You the viewer are the figure chillaxin’ on the theta, resting on Jesus’ authority over our circumstances. Our attention is directed above, away from Jesus’ supporting frame. If we are not careful, our rest will turn into complacency and we’ll take Jesus’ authority over negative circumstances for granted while trying to usurp his authority over the rest of our lives.
Rest in Jesus’ authority, but don’t miss it.