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Thursday, 3 May 2012

Wait til you're asked...

Capernaum. A couple of months ago, I wandered round the ruins of this town on the northern shores of the Sea of Galilee. The Temple ruins date from the time of Jesus, and he taught there frequently. Not far from the Temple are the ruins of a first century home, which tradition has named as the home of Simon Peter. Someone – I forget who – has built a church at an angle above the ruins, so as not to cover them entirely while also declaring them to be a holy site. At the risk of being very sacrilegious, I have to say that it resembles a dog squatting over a carcass of a rabbit, say, in order to mark it as ‘his’. 

Well. That image aside, my reading this morning was from Luke 4:38 – 44. The action from those verses took place in Capernaum, in the Temple now in ruins, and possibly in the home overshadowed by the modern church. 

Familiar story. After synagogue Jesus went with his friends to Simon Peter’s home for lunch, and found his mother sick with a fever. Jesus was there. What struck me as odd this morning was the fact that Jesus’ friends ‘asked Jesus to help her’. 

Interesting. Jesus was there. He knew she was sick. He saw the need, and knew he had the power to make her well.

But he waited until he was asked. I wonder why. 

Was he mentally still in the Temple, turning over the teaching he’d just given, wondering if it had gone down well or would be rejected? Was he thinking about something someone may have said to him afterwards? 

Or was he just tired, and not thinking particularly clearly about the practicalities of getting lunch on the table? 

Or is there a principle here that is being communicated? That for whatever reason, God often waits until we bring a need to him, before he acts.

It isn’t that he isn’t aware of the need. I’m sure that Jesus, however distracted or tired he was, didn’t fail to notice that Simon’s mum was sick. But in his gracious desire to involve his creation, in this case his close friends, in his work, he waited until he was asked to do something.

I wonder what he’s waiting for me to ask him to do today.

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