Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Difference Christ Makes

When children are toddlers they sometimes see themselves in an omnipotent way, believing they can do anything. I remember when our son Ryan was little, he told his mom that he was going to be a pastor like his dad, but during the week he would be Zorro. He also said that would have to be kept secret of course. We love it when kids use their imagination, especially in their play. However, as people get older they begin to realize there are limitations and there are things that they cannot do. Sometimes people come face to face with impossible situations where they feel completely powerless.

That’s what happened the day that Jesus and three of his disciples descended a mountain to find a boy who was demon possessed. The scene was desperate. The disciples had attempted to cast the demon out of the boy, but to no avail because it remained in control. The father had seen his only son brutalized by this ferocious demon over the years. It would seize the boy causing him to scream in agony. He would go into convulsions, foaming at the mouth. The demon would try to hurt him by driving him into fire or water. He was covered with the scars to prove it. In addition, the evil spirit had made him deaf and dumb (Luke 9:39-40). On top of this, an argument had broken out between the disciples and some teachers because the disciples had failed to cast out the demons.

The father felt helpless as the disciples were powerless to help. How many times do we also feel helpless when we are facing our own personal crisis? Can we admit that many of our own dysfunctional habits and patterns that we inherited in the homes we grew up in have caused such havoc in our families? Can we acknowledge that we have made a mess out of our lives and we need Jesus to intervene?

When Jesus arrived and saw what the demon was doing to the boy and his father, he said, “Bring your son here.” Even though the demon made one last attempt to destroy the boy, Jesus rebuked the Spirit, healed the boy and presented him to his father. Everyone was amazed at the greatness of God (Luke 9:41-43).

What a difference Jesus made in that boy’s life. That difference is seen every time a child opens their little heart and receives Christ and begins a life-long journey with Jesus. It is seen every time a man and woman invite Christ into their marriage and acknowledge their need of his help. It is seen every time a mother and father acknowledge their need of his help to parent their children. It is seen every time a man acknowledges an addiction and asks Christ to help him get free. It is seen every time a woman turns to Christ and asks him to lead her out of her depression.

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