I was talking to a friend who has issues with eating and goes to a self help group. I told her I could relate, because I used to suffer from compulsive eating until people prayed for me and Jesus healed me from that. She was impressed – but when I got onto the subject of Jesus being the only way to salvation, she didn’t want to hear. From saying how great it was that I had Jesus in my life if he could heal me, she moved to: don’t talk to me about him any more.
Which is her loss, not mine, but it breaks my heart – I care about her, and she’s turned down the most wonderful thing ever.
To be honest I had felt a bit hesitant to tell her about that healing, because I really wouldn’t want to come across as saying: hey, put your faith in Jesus because he heals. I’d really hate to give anyone the impression that that’s why you should – it’s not what Jesus came to this earth for, it’s not what he died for, it’s not his main role and, though he can heal people and he does sometimes heal people, he doesn’t always. He healed me from the compulsive eating thing, but he hasn’t healed my back problem. Healing is something Jesus does, but it’s not what he’s mainly about – it’s more like a sideline.
What’s his main role? Saviour of mankind – and, oh yes, God.
He came to this earth and lived here as a human being just like us – and while he was living as a man he went around preaching and, yes, also healing and performing miracles but those were just signs of who he was: signs of love and compassion, but also signs of power and authority. He was showing people evidence that he wasn’t just an ordinary human, he was God come down to live among us. (Hence the title of this post – that would have been the reaction of some who saw him bringing sight to the blind, healing lepers, raising the dead: Oh my God, who is this guy who can do these things? He must be God!)
And then he did the thing he had come to do: dying as an atoning sacrifice for the whole of mankind. He died on the cross because he is the Saviour – and he rose from the dead because he is God.
So if you ask me why I say you should follow Jesus – or why I follow him – I wouldn’t include his ability to miraculously heal people. Or, hang on, let me rephrase that: I wouldn’t say “follow Jesus because he can heal you”, but his ability to miraculously heal people is a result of him being God, and I’d certainly include “because he is God” among the reasons why you should follow Jesus.
I think “because he is God” is pretty high up there on the list of reasons to follow him. Because he is God he deserves our worship. Because he is God he should be obeyed. Because he is God he has the authority over the whole of this universe and over all of us.
Because he is God we should bow down in awe before him and worship him. Because he is God we must all repent of our rebellion against him and turn to him in faith.
Because he is a loving God, a self-sacrificial God, a God who came down to live among us and to die in our place – because he is the Saviour – because of that we can turn to him in repentance and know that we’ll receive forgiveness, a clean slate, a new life. Because he is a loving, self-sacrificial God, we can put our trust in him. Because he is the Saviour, we can put our faith in his atoning sacrifice and trust his promise of eternal life.
Because he’s God, we must. Because he’s the Saviour, it’s actually a really good deal for us, so by refusing him we’re seriously shooting ourselves in the foot, and losing out on so much – not just having a guilt-free life here and now, but knowing we’re going somewhere really good after we die; not just knowing where we’re going after we die, but having a guilt-free life here and now, knowing God’s love for us, having an intimate relationship with him… I could go on… knowing Jesus is the most wonderful thing ever – once you accept him as Lord and Saviour.