This is a difficult concept to fully grasp. We have a propensity to make things complicated. We love lists of rules. We have rules for ourselves – to guide and direct our own behavior. We might not think of them as ‘rules’, but we all operate with a set of principles that we feel are good and right.
We often apply our set of ‘rules’ to other people and when they treat us differently we feel offended. Wars are the result of nations feeling other nations are violating the accepted ‘rules.’
As parents we know there are certain ways of behaving that we need to ingrain into our children and we do our best to teach them. We find it exasperating when they don’t cooperate and we can spend a lot of time agonizing over how to guide or control the behavior of our children.
Society has a lot of rules for us and there are many authorities committed to seeing that we follow them. Recent advertisements on billboards remind me that if I don’t obey laws on the road, they will be delighted to catch me. Every year I am reminded that I need to present a financial account to my government or face penalties.
Many people think the Bible is full of rules and might cite the Ten Commandments as an example of the things you must do to please God. The Bible is a collection of ancient literature written over thousands of years by dozens of different authors with one unified intention: to reveal God to us and inform us of how we can have a relationship with Him.
Jesus came to earth to physically demonstrate God, to teach and gather followers and to die – much to His followers surprise and dismay. They didn’t realize that it was all a part of God’s plan for Jesus to die, but once they experienced the resurrected Jesus, everything He did came into perspective.
From that point on they put all their energy into conveying the message of God to everyone they could. Jesus was an integral part of that message.
So what did Jesus say was the ONE THING required to approach God?
Need. We must first recognize that we need Him. We need to know that we have a problem. I have to understand and recognize that I have a problem and I have no ability to fix myself.
We might have an obvious problem, a secret problem, or a problem concerning someone we love for whom we desperately need God’s help.
Matthew was someone who realized he had a big problem and responded to Jesus’ invitation to join him. He writes about it in a book about Jesus’ life and ministry that has been included in the collection of ancient literature we call the Bible. In chapter 9 he describes Jesus’ invitation to himself, as well as Jesus’ interaction with many other people and how they realized their need and received Jesus’ invitation and power.
That is all. That is the first step.
Jesus said “I have come to call those who know they are sinners.”
“Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
Everywhere Jesus went He taught and He healed. Many times our physical problems can drive us to God. The people who were healed by Jesus had to first acknowledge their need – often publically – and they had to have faith that Jesus could help. Jesus had power over the cruel circumstances they found themselves in. He brought hope and healing in the midst of their desperation.
I believe Jesus has the same power and the same compassion on people today. He can bring hope and healing in the midst of desperation, when we acknowledge we have a problem and we come to Him.
What prevents you from coming just a bit closer to Jesus today? Will you read Matthew chapter 9 and discover the variety of ways Jesus was able to help and heal?
Day 11 Encouraging people to Seek Jesus: 30 ways in 30 days
If you have been helped in any way through my musings, please give glory to God. If you find anything disappointing or offensive – please let me know so I can improve.
- Day 10: How does faith begin?
- Day 9: Faith in the midst of Adversity
- Day 8: Current State of the World
- Day 7: What does Jesus want from me?
- Day 6: The Critical Question
- Day 5: Best Invitation Ever
- Day 4: Freedom
- Day 3: My Stabilizing Factor
- Day 2: Knowledge of God and Blessing
- Day 1: Does it make sense to seek Jesus in 2014?