Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Is There a Balm That Can Heal These Wounds?

Life of Christ 100

          We saw, in Life of Christ 99, the wonderful closing scene of the Feast of Tabernacles, in which Jesus clearly and publicly, before thousands in the Temple, interprets the service to be about Himself. Today I want to give you several lessons from that story.
          First, we see that Jesus is what the world needs. 'If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink' (John 7.37).
          It never ceases to amaze me where people go to fill the empty inside of them. Some turn to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Others pursue success, money, promotion, acquisitions of all kinds, or the cheering praises of a crowd. The alternatives are practically endless: the seeming peacefulness of false religious rituals and ceremonies; the comfort of a crowd that accepts them at the corner bar, the bowling league, the chess club, or the internet chat room; a hedonistic pursuit of pleasure, sex, or material comforts; a mindless loss of themselves in popular entertainment and music. I could go on and on and on.
          Such people, driven by their internal emptiness, will go anywhere, with anybody, spend any amount of money, contort their consciences into pretzels, drink anything, eat anything, taste anything, wear anything, shoot anything, touch anything, and take anything. And when satisfaction and satiation seem still just out of reach they keep trying harder and harder, and going further and further. This is why music, drugs, gambling, sex, comedy, alcohol, and other 'escapes' viz. addictions, get worse and worse. Like a mirage, what they are chasing stays just close enough to keep them moving toward it, and as they move they get wickeder and wickeder.
          All they have to do is come to Jesus. 'O taste and see that the Lord is good' (Psalm 34.8). In Him is the only real joy to be found in this life. 'Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation' (Isaiah 12.3). Further, such a joyful means of slaking our life's thirst is completely free. 'I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely' (Revelation 21.6).
          Secondly, we see that when we get Jesus, we get not only what we need, but what others around us need. 'He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water' (John 7.38).
          God's people have always been the people who are best at helping others. We can see this, historically, in the great social welfare changes such as the anti-slavery movement in the 19th century or the temperance movement of the 20th century. We can see it exemplified, in more modern times, in disaster relief, or in the simple yet unselfish way Christians care for their older neighbors.
          God's people not only understand and value living for others, but they actually have what those others need. Our society seeks to help those in need by pointing them to social workers, psychiatrists, or the government, and while such people sincerely seek to help the simple truth is that they have not what people actually need since they don't have Jesus.
          If you are a genuine child of God, filled with Him and with a desire to help people, you will find that they will seek you out. The will come to you, unbidden and in private, at your workplace. They will bring you the painful and failing areas of their life and ask you, brokenly, if you know how to fix them. They will want what you have because they see that what you have is real. And the better they know you, these coworkers, family, and friends, and the more genuine and mature your Christianity, the more they will come to you. They will see, in you, the water for which they so desperately thirst.
          Thirdly, there never has been anybody like Him, and there won't every be anybody else like Him. 'The officers answered, Never man spake like this man' (John 7.36).
          The world has seen some amazing men, politically, militarily, creatively, and religiously. The world is, right now, on a constant search for the next big star. The world is, right now, on a constant search for the man who will solve all of its problems. But if has never seen, and will never again see anybody else as astounding as Jesus Christ. Only He is the Lily of the Valley, and the Bright and Morning Star. Only He is the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.
          A few weeks ago my family and I attended a concert put on by the Air Force Band group, Celtic Aire. I enjoyed many of their selections, but one in particular made me sit up and take notice. They played and sang a song written for a September 11 memorial service at the Pentagon entitled 'There Are No Words'. You can hear it on the Youtube link above. Written and sung by Kitty Donohoe, the somber chorus sings,

There are no words,
There is no song,
Is there a balm that can heal these wounds that will last a lifetime long?

          Sitting in my seat, in the hushed stillness of that theater, as we all thought back to that horrific day, I found myself wanting to jump up on top of my seat and shout, 'Yes! There is a balm in Gilead! And His name is Jesus!'
          He is what the world needs. And since we have Him we have what the world needs. And nobody else will ever be like Him again.


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