Friday, September 26, 2008

The Real Deal

When I was in high school, I had really long hair, baggy and tattered clothes, a skateboard in the back of my truck and I played bass in a heavy metal band that was so loud we peeled the paint off of the houses in my neighborhood. I think most of the people who saw me thought that they had me pinned down at first glance. I was sort of automatically lumped in with kids who hated authority and loved marijuana. Of course, what most people didn’t see was the fact that I was doing pretty good in AP Biology II, was the president of FCA and an okay artist. I had a good relationship with my parents, I could sing every word of just about any Motown song and was pretty good friends with a bunch of old people at my church. I know it’s really stinkin’ cliché, but you can’t judge a book, you know?

Well, at some point in between the time when Christy and I got engaged and were married, I had a conversation with her dad about the first time I met him… It was after he spoke at our church one Sunday. I approached him after the service in my typically disheveled and grungy attire and shook his hand; and according to Bill, he wasn’t too pumped about me. Now, granted, I probably looked pretty shady, but I wasn’t really the kind of guy Bill always pictured would end up with his youngest daughter. Of course, we’re good friends these days, but at the time, he was just seeing the obvious: a hair farmer with clown clothes actively pursuing deafness.

One of the things I love about Jesus is that He sees right through everything superficial and knows who we are in the deepest places. He knows and cares about our real problems and needs. Like the time in Mark chapter 2 when some friends brought a paralyzed guy to Jesus and tore a hole in the roof to get him in because it was so crowded… Everyone could see the guy’s problem… it was obvious: he couldn’t walk. That’s why his friends brought him to Jesus. The whole room was waiting with baited breath for Jesus to heal his legs, but Jesus shocked them all by saying, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

It turns out his legs weren’t the problem… at least, they weren’t the real problem. Somewhere in the depths of this guy’s heart he was filled with guilt for wrong stuff he’d done in the past and Jesus saw that. But here’s the thing: Jesus didn’t just see it, but it was the first thing He dealt with. It was all He really cared about when he saw the man, and in an instant this paralytic was free from a burden that far outweighed the shackles of being unable to walk. John tells us in the very first chapter of his Gospel that Jesus came to show us who God is and what He’s like… how amazing is it to know that God sees past all the labels and clichés? He not only knows who I really am, but the stuff He cares about are all the things that really matter most to me. He sees and wants to deal with the stuff that nobody else knows about and He won’t waste time on the legs when the heart is the problem.

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