Sunday, 20 September 2015

A Bold (and Broken) Approach

I like what people say to Jesus in the gospels.

Perplexed questions like, "Don't you care?" (Luke 10:40) and, "why have you treated us so?" (Luke 2:48) Statements pregnant with meaning, heavy with years of rejection and sin and damage and battle and scars like, "I have no husband," (John 4:17) and "my daughter is severely oppressed." (Matthew 15:22)  Desperate cries of, "have mercy!" (Matthew 15:22) and disappointed sobs of "if you had been here, my brother would not have died." (John 11:32) Those in straightforwardly awkward situations who said, "they have no wine," (John 2:3) to those whose words betrayed hurt and doubt: "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead for four days," (John 11:39). 

I like that the things they say to Him are recorded.

They're not neat, measured theological statements. They've not been systematically processed, neatly packaged and respectfully presented. They're full of truth- but not neat truth, removed from the realities of life under the scathing sun. When they speak to Jesus, their words are heavy with what human experience is really like. They express the complexities of existence in a broken - and often brutal- world, of circumstances that are breakers crashing relentlessly over those who speak. These words are not fancy- and often they are filled with fear, confusion, doubt and anguish. They're raw. They're honest. And they're spoken directly to Jesus.

I like that that's how these individuals go to Jesus.

And I like that Jesus can take it. He listens and (in his time- Matthew 15!) he responds and he doesn't condemn and he doesn't turn them away. He is compassionate and patient and perceptive ... and he doesn't turn them away.

For me, this has been a week without neat theological answers. A week more characterised by fear and desperation than by peace and fullness. It's been a week where, if I am to go to Jesus- I must go messy, frustrated, broken and honest in a way I trust he can cope with.

Sometimes we approach the throne bold. This week I've approached more like the woman in Mark 5:

"She came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth."(Mark 5:33)

And this week, the Bible says, Jesus has heard my cries.


  1. Beautiful. Thank you so much.

  2. Big hugs. I think the people who approached Jesus your way generally did better than the well-turned out types who called him "good teacher" and asked intelligent questions....

  3. Absolutely. I've been learning recently about how Jesus doesn't do things the proper way that I think he should. This is both annoying and brilliant. If someone today did some of the things he did, I'd be there telling them they were a bit theologically inaccurate. Oh the irony.

    Love you loads Phil! Xx


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