Today, I saw Jesus racked with pain. The doctors aren’t sure what the cause is and at this point, are doing little to provide any relief or hope. Jesus seemed so pitiful and lifeless as He slumped down in His seat. He could barely lift His eyes to look at me. Jesus is supposed to be the Great Physician. Why can’t He just restore Himself to good health through some miraculous healing?
Today, I also received word that for the past 824 days Jesus has been separated from His own children because He chose to raise them by biblical principles which the state finds to be unacceptable—reason enough to have all five children put into foster care. Children’s Services is now not only trying to take away His parental rights, but it has also filed criminal charges against Him for neglect and abuse. Can you believe this? All of this is taking place in the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave. Jesus doesn’t have any more money to pay the lawyers’ fees, and the Christian legal ministries aren’t sure how they can help. So, He's having to fight the legal battle by Himself. Jesus isn’t sure He will ever see His kids again.
As if all of this weren’t enough for one day, after I arrived home, I saw a picture of Jesus on one of my favorite websites. He’s a street orphan in Ethiopia. The filth and poverty all around Him was beyond description. I learned that He has to fight off the dogs and older children to try to scrounge up a little snack for supper from the landfill on the outskirts of the city. This is His home. He walks barefoot through the dump trying to avoid the dirty syringes that are sticking up out of the ground. Somehow Jesus was able to get His hands on a Bible, but it does Him little good because He can’t read.
Now, before you dismiss all of this and say that the summer heat has really gone to my brain, I want you to take to heart what King Jesus will say while sitting on His glorious throne:
‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Matthew 25:34-40 ESV)
I am afraid that we, the church in the United States of America, have been so conditioned to view Jesus as simply a vending machine or bellhop that we have forgotten the true order of things—we are to serve Him. He is our Lord and King, and we are his servants. Daily, we have the opportunity to “see” Jesus—His brothers—in distress and provide for His needs. (This does not even account for those outside the kingdom that we are privileged to go to and serve.)
What will it be for us on that great Day of Judgment? What will Christ’s evaluation of our hearts and lives be? Will we find ourselves with the sheep or the goats? Will we hear “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom” or will it be “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels?” Don’t tell me you have faith if you have shut up your heart to the needs of the family of God.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17 ESV)