our relationship with Jesus is indeed PERSONAL, but it’s NOT PRIVATE

Read Matthew 5:23-34

Two phrases shape the narrative energy of Luke 18:35-19:10. One question, one request. When Jesus encountered the man born blind, he asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” It may seem like a silly question, but the man had a choice. He could’ve asked for money – it was what he’d been asking for every day he sat on that street. Jesus wanted to know if he was willing to change the way he lived. When Jesus spotted Zacchaeus in the tree, he made a similarly audacious statement, “I’m coming to your house.” Jesus already told people that he was passing through the town, which would’ve meant he turned down an invitation to stay at a local’s house. And of all the places, he chose to eat at the house of a notorious tax collector.

While both encounters with Jesus o ered restoration, they both required a new way of living. The blind man was no longer able to sit along the side of the road begging. He would need to become a productive member of society. After meeting Jesus, Zacchaeus would no longer be able to steal from his tax collector booth. In fact, his intent was to pay back four-fold what he had stolen. Jesus may have wanted to make sure they were ready for this change by giving them both a chance to back out. But, instead both men had an encounter with Jesus that transformed their lives that day. These encounters altered the way they interacted with everyone they lived with in community. Redemption always brings about restoration – both with God and others.

We often speak of wanting Jesus to change us, but we must recognize that when Jesus changes us, it evokes a new response from us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus illustrates how seriously he takes this restoration. He said, “So if you are o ering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matthew 5:23-24). When we’re in right relationship with God, we’re led to right relationship with others. There may be forgiveness that we need to offer, repentance we need to embrace, or peacemaking we need to undertake. Noticing Jesus’ actions in this story, we’re reminded that our relationship with Jesus is indeed personal, but it’s not private. It always changes the way we interact with others. Jesus’ intention is not only to save us, but to restore us within community.

Reflection and Response

Listen to “Restore My Soul“ by Vertical Church Band and use this space to express what you see as living out a fully restored life for all to see.

By Ryan Paulson 

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