What is it that makes Jesus want to puke?
When those who call themselves Christian decide to play it safe and compromise. When people grow so satisfied with how they’re doing in this world that it never occurs to them to bring relief to others. When those whose hearts have been healed, whose destinies have been forever altered simply forget the spiritually (and physically) thirsty. When those of us who have been graced with new life refuse to engage a dying world desperate for answers.
If such an approach to life disturbs Jesus so much that it makes him sick, we must not look away in faux disgust at his language. Perhaps it is time for us to be good and disgusted about the right things, to be offended by the mediocre and ineffective. Our Lord is calling us to so much more, and the invitation has never been more timely.
The marching orders of Matthew 28 are clear: Go and tell others the story of the God who loves people enough to make a way, the God who gave up his right to get even . . . tell them about the gift of grace and the promise of his presence. And do something outrageous along the way: Love others as you have been loved. Go into this hurting and desperate world with more than good words. Take action.
Let’s be soothing and shocking as the situation calls for. Be hot or cold, but do something. By God’s grace, the world will change again. But by his grace, so, too, shall we.
Anything less sickens our Savior.
A Knock on the Door
I am so thankful Jesus finishes this very tough talk with words hope and restoration—I’m giving you such a stern correction out of love . . . now repent, come back to me. Notice the last image of Jesus in this passage isn’t a shocking one. Well, it is shocking, in its humble and pursuing love.
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.[i]
If we’d just open the door . . . he knows what we were made for. He knows where the story is heading. He knows what we long for and what we’re capable of. He knows. He knows what our relationships can be like. He knows what it will be like for us to connect with what he is still doing in this world. He knows how the world will be blessed if we will but join him.
It will look slightly different at times, this following Jesus into the world. But look closer, for there are similarities.
When you teach a child to read, when you care for a spouse or parent suffering from dementia. When you forgive someone. When you stand against an injustice. When you laugh deeply with someone. Weep openly with another. When you give with no strings attached. When you intentionally allow the spotlight to find a colleague instead of you. Whisper words of encouragement. Serve in small ways most would never notice. When you honor someone older or younger than you. Build a bridge to someone of a different ethnicity or sexual orientation. When you dare to do any of these things or a thousand others motivated by the pursuing love of Jesus, you are anything but lukewarm. You are hot and cold, soothing and shocking. You are telling his story to a world he has not given up on.
This is the beginning of a different life.
And get this: You were made for such things.
For Personal Reflection
Take inventory of your heart. Do you feel like you are shockingly cold and soothingly hot? Or does life feel lukewarm these days?
What’s one thing from this chapter that gives you encouragement as you’re on this journey?
[i] Revelation 3:20.