Tuesday, September 18, 2007

"I Brought You My Son."

The church is the presence of Jesus in the world. Let's think about that.

In a startling statement in Mark 9:17-18, "A man in the crowd answered, 'Teacher, I brought you my son... I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not'."

Actually at the time the man brought his son to the disciples Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration with Peter, James and John, and Moses and Elijah. If I was Jesus, I would have pushed back at the frantic and bewildered father, "What do you mean by saying 'I brought YOU my son'? You talkin' to me? I was not even here, you numbskull!"

But, thankfully, Jesus did not say that.

In the mind of the man, to bring his son to the disciples was equivalent to bringing his son to Jesus. The disciples were an incarnate extension of Jesus. The disciples' failure was Jesus' failure. Later on the father would preface his request with "If you can..." (Mark 9:22). This "if you can" irritated Jesus and he responded accordingly. But the man had some reason to question Jesus' ability in light of his disciples' failure.

Jesus in his last hours would pray for the disciples, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:20-21). Oneness with Jesus and the Father...that the world may believe that the Father has sent Jesus. That reality is about us--the church. Most USAmerican Christians are "one" with America more than with the only radical Savior for America.

Ponder these words of the glorified Jesus to Saul of Tarsus, ""Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

Saul answered, "I am not persecuting you, Lord. I'm only persecuting Christians here and there."

Jesus said, "Don't you get it, Saul? Everything you do to the Christians you are doing to me!"

Jesus seals the reality that his followers are his presence in the world.

This world, filled with desperate people, has every right to conclude who Jesus is and what Jesus can do based on the life, words and deeds, attitudes and priorities of the church.

God help us. "Lord, we believe; help us recover from our unbelief."



At 9/19/2007 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is past time for the Body of Christ to stop the self-flagellation and remember that we are one Body and how we treat on another reflects on the One we say we follow.

At 9/19/2007 9:31 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I wholeheartedly agree.

At 9/19/2007 10:56 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Thanks John. Excellent post. God shows up for others when we love each other.

At 9/20/2007 8:42 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

what a tremendous reality: "God shows up for others when we love each other." Thanks!

At 9/20/2007 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post John.

It serves the dual point of keeping us humble too, does it not?

The disciples were unable to drive out the spirit in the first scripture you quoted. The church may be the presence of Jesus in the world, but at the same time she is certainly not Jesus. It is only by his own power that he heals, saves, and drives out demons.

Unless the church itself believes in Jesus' power to do these things, it will never be. Remember Jesus' rebuke, "How long must I put up with you, you unbelieving generation." Mark 9:19 (He was speaking to the disciples, wasn't he?)

But when the church confidently steps out in faith, the world will behold Jesus through the miraculous once again. "If you can believe it, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23 (Again, I believe this is meant to be a response from Jesus to those who would follow him)

I reiterate your point, "Lord, help our unbelief."

At 9/20/2007 9:27 PM, Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Good thoughts here, John, as always.

Yes, you would think that being a Christian here means being a flag waving American. And there's so much about our country that is wonderful, and we're blessed here through the sacrifices of others in giving their lives, I don't want to belittle that.

But what's this life all about? We need to reexamine that in scripture and especially with reference to the truth taught in Jesus. We need to get back to and insist on that, and let the rest go.

At 9/21/2007 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post. Oh that we would stop being "asleep in the light."

At 9/21/2007 9:53 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I do appreciate your thoughtful comments. I think the theology of Luke-Acts is just what you say--the church is the second incarnation of the living Christ in the world empowered by the same Spirit that empowered Jesus.

At 9/21/2007 9:53 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I do appreciate so much about our country, yet it can become a narcotic to the ways of Jesus in the world...the ways we are to follow.

At 9/21/2007 9:54 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

what a sad but true way to put it--asleep in the light...when we're supposed to be the light!

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