Jesus in Your Town
While this question is one that could occupy a conversation for a few hours. What I wonder if it a worthy enough question to challenge us to reevaluate the way that we go about the practice of our faith. The clip below is from a movie called “Joshua”. This is a play on the fact that Jesus’ name is derived from the older Jewish name of Joshua. So the essence of the movie is this: If Jesus walked into town what would He do? How would He act? What would be the response of the people? This is one of the best modern adaptations of the life of Jesus I have ever come across. (I don’t mean to overstate the movie.)
There is one scene in particular that gets me every time. Joshua comes across a camp meeting and walks in just as the evangelist is about the pray. Joshua doesn’t join in. He actually interrupts the meeting and causes a scene. The evangelist is dumbstruck. He doesn’t know what to do. Joshua tells him, “You know, you don’t have to do it this way.” Joshua tells him, “I know you’d like to have the faith to talk to these people. But you don’t know what faith is.”
While the caricature is awful, the perception that it portrays is not that far off the mark. This is how many in the world view the church and it’s bag of “party tricks”. Some charlatans bilking the faithful for their own gain. Others teaching doctrines that are not sound and therefore misleading those hungry for God, His presence and power in their lives. But the clip provides a couple of twists. First, Joshua reveals that the true intention of the evangelist (in this case) is to do what is right. He genuinely desires to help those that have come to the meeting. But he doesn’t know what or how he is supposed to do it. The second is that Joshua speaks the truth and it activates the faith of the people. The truth creates an awkward scene, but a healing actually takes place.
The Cost of Healing on the Healer
This is one of the best depictions of what Jesus’ miracles of healing must have looked like. The transfer of divine power through the human agent is an awesome burden. It has helped to see why Jesus spent so much time praying. It cost Him so much to heal those that were hurting. Healing wasn’t easy because it taxed the limits of the human experience. Jesus accepted the cost of not only bring our salvation through his death, but He also accepted the personal, physical and spiritual cost of touching those around Him with the power of God’s mercy.
This scene in particular reminds me of the woman with the hemorrhage problem in Mark 5:25-34. The story tells us that Jesus “perceiv[ed] in Himself that power had gone out from Him.” I don’t know what that must have looked like, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was something like it is shown here.