Thursday, October 5th
Devotional written by Pastor Connor Johnson, Middle School Pastor
TURN YOUR HEART TO JESUS
This week, I have shared many stories from my river-guiding experiences in Oregon. One story I may have never told, especially to my boss, was a potentially dangerous situation. My co-worker and I stacked 4 rafts very high onto a trailer, and hit the road. After driving a few minutes on the highway, I yelled at my friend to pull the car over. We forgot to secure the rafts to the trailer! We had only tied one of the four anchor points on the trailer, and the top raft was flapping in the wind. We pulled over, strapped them down, and laughed sheepishly as we went on our way. We didn’t speak much of it, but I am sure we were both thinking to ourselves, “You really could have messed that up, bro.”
Sometimes, life brings unexpected moments where you don’t have much time to consider a response. In our situation, it was an emergency. In this story, consider the perspective of Jesus. In the midst of teaching, there is a wildly unexpected moment. Suddenly, the teaching is interrupted; the Pharisees no longer are learning or able to ask questions because a man has been brought down through the roof in front of the great teacher, Jesus. How will He respond? What will He do? I know if a middle schooler interrupted a sermon of mine on Sunday, I probably would ask them to step to the side, quiet down, and ask me later.
Jesus, full of compassion for those who are hurting, sees the man and his need. However, Jesus doesn’t address the obvious need this man has been suffering from. Rather, He speaks of a deeper need, more significant healing, and declares a statement full of shock, love, and authority, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” Jesus came to seek and save the lost. How do you normally consider Jesus? Disappointed with the sin that you fell right back into? Impatient with a Christian who forgets to pray enough? Frustrated with His followers for their lack of love for one another? Today, remember that Jesus, the one who heals and forgives this man because of the faith of his friends, despite the disruption, is the same teacher who says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).
Final Thought: The most significant life change happens in relationship with Jesus. Spend some time praying to God, thanking Him for His gentleness, love, forgiveness, and power.