What I’m Thankful For: Jesus
As best I can recreate it, here’s a short, 5-minute talk I gave on Sunday as part of our ward’s primary program. Topic? “I Know My Savior Lives.” Of all the things I’m thankful for in my life, Jesus is definitely top of my list. It isn’t possible for me to adequately express my feelings about the Master in five minutes or in a simple blog post, but here at least is the crux of the matter for me. Yay Jesus!! 🙂
As I was trying to decide how to approach my brief message today, I stumbled across Matthew 9:9-13 in my personal scripture study:
As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. For I have come not to call the righteous, but sinners.” This passage struck me when I read it. Because you know what? The more I learn about Him, the more astonished I am by Jesus. He’s always doing the exact opposite of what I would do, or what I think He should do, if I were in His situation.
When presented with an option, He forgives the woman taken in adultery without a second thought.
He spends His time, not with the wealthy and the learned or even the holy, but with the underbelly of society — the outcasts: the leper, the unclean, the prostitute, the blind, the sick, the afflicted. These are His companions. These are the people He seeks out and invites to follow Him.
He refuses violence, stands passively before Pontius Pilate even in the face of false accusations, bearing injustice with dignity and grace.
This is Jesus: who ministers to the sick.
And this, to me, is the hope that is in Christ.
You see, brothers and sisters, I am sick. My heart is sick. It is full of doubt, fear, anger, lust, pride, judgment. But Christ has promised me a new heart. As the Lord says in one of my favorite scriptures, beloved for its jarring imagery (Ezekiel 11:19-20):
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.
A new heart of flesh to replace the heart of stone I had before.
Jesus says that where your treasure is, there shall your heart be also. On my own, my treasure is worldly — a treasure which, Jesus says, is its own reward.
But Paul reminds us that God’s grace is sufficient for us, that by His grace we are remade into New Creatures in Christ. We are enabled to treasure that which God treasures, to give more freely, to forgive more easily, to love more deeply.
And this love for God and our fellow man is the crowning principle of Christ’s teachings — the truth upon which hangs all the law and the prophets.
For me, this is the hope that is in Christianity: that God created us once that He might create us again, transforming us into what C.S. Lewis called “Little Christs”: individual expressions of His Goodness and Glory, millions of millions of whom — all different — would still be too few to express Him fully.
I know that my Savior lives, and that He really will do this for us if we let Him.
This post is one in a series. Get the rest of the posts here.