Early afternoon, maybe sometime shortly after midday. It’s The Champ, he’s walking through the streets of Jerusalem, listening to the latest motivational podcast. There’s a leper who needs healing, he swerves like a rugby player about to be tackled. There’s a lady with a bleeding problem, he picks up the pace, ‘Can’t get distracted, I’ve Got to Give the Father Glory!’ He says. Two blind men sitting by the roadside hear he’s passing by and cry out to him, he waves like any good celebrity would. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, he says a quick prayer: ‘Father, I pray that you would rebuke Satan for sending all these distractions meant to take me off course.’
Now imagine if that was the mindset that Jesus had. Does that sound like the Jesus we know? I would hope not. Yet as Christians, people who seek to emulate Jesus by doing as he says and picking up our cross like he says, we can easily tend to live like that and effectively miss the point.
And it happens in the most innocent ways;
– We stop at a red light where we know a certain beggar frequents, but we’re running late for church and motion to God that Satan doesn’t want us to be on time for church.
– We’re short on money to buy that luxury item and pray to God for breakthrough and motion to God that Satan doesn’t want us to prosper.
In it all, we can easily attribute the mercy of God to being the work of Satan.
What I mean by that is rather than crying out to God that we’re going to be late for church when we hit that red traffic light, why not thank Him that we no longer have an excuse not to talk to that beggar about Jesus?
Instead of crying out for more money, so we can add to the amount that we have and so be able to buy that luxury item that we don’t need. Why not thank God that through our insufficient funds, He has made a way for us to no longer have an excuse to not give that money to someone who really needs it?
And warranted that there is nothing wrong with buying luxury items or not wanting to be late for church. It seems that so often we treat the church like a venue and not a body. It becomes a building you attend and not part of your identity in Christ.
Genesis 2:18 and Ephesians 5:25 have some profound thoughts we can easily miss. It says:
Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’ (Genesis 2:18 ESV)
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. (Ephesians 5:25 ESV)
I want to make known to you that Jesus did not die for a building, but for a people. These people are the church. And when we read in Genesis 2:18, it says ‘I will make him a helper fit for him.’ And us being the church, being the bride of Christ. In that context, Genesis is effectively saying that we are a helper to Christ. Which is true.
Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. (Matthew 5:1 ESV)
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. (Matthew 8:23 ESV)
And Jesus rose and followed him, with his disciples. (Matthew 9:19 ESV)
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. (Matthew 10:1 ESV)
These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, ‘Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.’ (Matthew 10:5-8 ESV)
And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV)
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, ‘Have mercy on us, Son of David.’ When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, ‘Do you believe that I am able to do this?’ They said to him, ‘Yes, Lord.’ Then he touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith be it done to you.’ And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, ‘See that no one knows about it.’ (Matthew 9:27-30 ESV)
And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, for she said to herself, ‘If I only touch his garment, I will be made well.’ Jesus turned, and seeing her he said, ‘Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.’ And instantly the woman was made well. (Matthew 9:20-22 ESV)
And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, ‘Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.’ And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (Matthew 8:2-3 ESV)
‘You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’ (Matthew 5:43-44 ESV)
‘You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’ (Matthew 5:38-39 ESV)
‘Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.’ (Matthew 6:19 ESV)
‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?’ (Matthew 6:25-26 ESV)
‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.’ (Matthew 7:24-27 ESV)
How different would your life look if the church was something you lived out daily rather than attended on Sunday?
— This article originally appeared on City Block