Thursday, May 12, 2011

MrsDrPoe: Putting Jesus in a Box

For this Theology Thursday, I invite you to open your Bibles, where we will be looking at several instances where individuals attempt to put Christ in a box.

Wait...what? A box? Like these??

Well not a literal box, my friend! Based on knowledge of what these individuals saw/heard Christ could do, each of them has some (limited) conception of His power. For instance, if we look in Mark 2:1-11 and 5:21-24, 35-43 we see two examples of individuals (a paralytic and his friends and a synagogue ruler, Jairus) who have the faith to know that Jesus has the power to heal both the paralytic and the dying daughter of Jairus. Subconsciously, however, these individuals are limiting the power of Christ (ie putting Him in a box) in that they believe that the sick person must be acknowledged by Christ and presented to Him.

If we compare these two events with the one discussed in Luke 7:1-10, we see that the individual in this story (a Roman Centurion who was friendly to the Jews) also has the faith that Christ is the only one who can heal his servant. This centurion places Christ in a bigger box, believing that Jesus can, acknowledging the sick servant, simply speak healing words from far away.

We can see an individual extend the box size again in Mark 5:25-34, when a woman who has had a flow of blood for 12 years believes that she can simply touch the hem of Jesus' garment (without His acknowledgement) and be made well. It could be argued that the box extended past a physical realm in the gospels when individuals bring their loved ones before Christ to have demons removed from them.

What is interesting to me is that, even though Jesus tells the paralytic (Mark 2:5) that his sins are forgiven him, no one comes up to Him after that and asks for that forgiveness. All of these "boxes" in the gospels are way too small.

So the question that we must ask ourselves is - do we put Jesus in a box? Do we "limit" His power to an amount that matches our understanding of what makes sense to us? Christ is the Word and the Word is God (John 1:1-5). He was there in the beginning when all things were created. He is all that is, was, and will ever be. His power and nature are incomprehensible. God essentially defines Himself in Exodus 34:6-7:

Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and
abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands,
forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing
the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and
the children's children to the third and fourth generation.

The nature of God is so hard for us to wrap our heads around, but trying to box Him in any other (necessarily smaller) nature gives us a false sense of our God and is, thus, an incorrect response to the power of Christ, which is so much greater than we will ever understand.


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