Jesus is the kind of saviour we don’t want.
The message of the birth of Christ was first brought to mere shepherds, sleeping out of doors. “Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luke 2:10-11)
Why would anybody be interested in the birth of a Saviour in the city of David? Who would have believed today the report of the angels?
If someone sends us an email saying, “I bring you good tidings of great joy,” what would we expect to hear? What would represent good news to us? I think it is fair to say that for most people money would represent good news. If we were to win the lottery, or if someone were to send us a great deal of money, that news would qualify as “good tidings of great joy.”
Saviour from life
Bestman Chinem heard the report that some company was giving out free cell-phones. He did not wait to be convinced but dashed there to get one. But how would we react to the report that a Saviour has been born? A Saviour? What kind of a Saviour? Would we even be sufficiently interested to pay a visit to the new-born child? Indeed, the “good tidings of great joy” concerning the birth of Jesus turned out to be bad news to many. For Herod, this “Saviour” must not simply be ignored. This “Saviour” must be killed. It is not merely that he is not the kind of Saviour we want; he is a big threat to us all because he is determined to save us from our life and lifestyle.
Some people were robbing a bank in the dead of the night. A man walked in on them and switched on the light. Then he said: “I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12). What do you think the armed robbers did to him? They shot him dead.
Why did the king of glory leave halcyon heaven to come down to this sinful world? Jesus says: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10). But were we not alive before he came? No! The life we lived was counterfeit. It was the life of the dead; circumscribed by death. It was a life of sin and sickness denied of the presence of God. It is therefore necessary for us to relinquish it in exchange for the true bread of life Jesus offers.
Jesus says: “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:25).
The wrong saviour
That makes Jesus the kind of saviour we don’t want. The Messiah came with a major assignment: to save from sin. The angel appeared to Joseph to clarify matters concerning Mary’s pregnancy: “She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).
However, while sin is God’s preoccupation, sin is man’s occupation. The principal thing God heals is sin. But the last thing we want to be healed of is sin. Man is a sinner by practice. This means left to us we cannot be saved. Jesus maintains with men salvation is impossible. (Mark 10:27). There are so many things we want, but salvation is not one of them. We want houses, we want cars, we want lands, we want positions; but we don’t want salvation. God is not unrighteous: he will not give us what we don’t want. He will only give salvation to those who want it. He will only give salvation to those who yearn for it. He will only give salvation to those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. (Matthew 5:6).
Jesus met a paralytic who had been sick for thirty-eight years at the sheep gate in Jerusalem and asked him a seemingly strange question: “Will you be made whole?” At first glance, this does not seem to be a nice question to ask a man who had been sick for that long. But Jesus knew the man was not really interested in getting healed. As a matter of fact, he did not even know the precise nature of his sickness.
Hear and understand. Man is only aware of sickness when it affects the body. God is aware of sickness when it affects the soul. Man is a shepherd and bishop of the body. God is the shepherd and bishop of the soul. (1 Peter 2:25). Man is concerned when he is sick that he should be made well physically. God is concerned when we are sick that we should be made whole spiritually. Man would do anything to save the body from physical sickness. God would do anything to save the soul from sin-sickness. That is kingdom dynamics.
Sickness cannot kill: only sin kills. No man has ever died of sickness. Sickness only kills the body, but sin kills the soul. However, sin is the least of the concerns of men, in and out of the church. If we were given a choice between having our sins forgiven and being healed of a deadly disease, frankly, many would choose physical healing over salvation any day.
I have never met anybody who liked sickness. But most people love sin. One of the peculiarities of sin is that it is pleasurable. The prophets of God are insistent in warning against the pleasures of sin. Sin kills the soul, while sickness only kills the body. Therefore sin is infinitely more deadly than sickness. Jesus says: “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).
Men fight sickness tooth and nail. When there is sickness, Christians wrestle in prayer. When there is sickness, we spend a lot of money on research looking for a cure. When there is sickness, we spend all we have on doctors and medical bills. In the ministry of Jesus, people moved heaven and earth in order to be healed of diseases. Some even removed the roof of a building in order to get a paralytic to Jesus. But when there is sin, we don’t bother. When there is sin, we don’t wrestle against it. When there is sin, we enjoy it.
And so Jeremiah declares: “the harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20). We are not saved because we don’t want to be saved. We are not saved because we don’t want to forsake sin. We are not saved because we don’t hate sin. We may not be fornicators but we don’t hate fornication. We may not be liars but we don’t hate lying. But the man who stands in the righteousness of Christ must detest what is evil. The psalmist says: “you who love the Lord, hate evil.” (Psalm 97:10). (Continued).