When’s the last time you were amazed by Jesus?
When is the last time you were excited about him?
Put together, Luke’s story of Jesus’ early ministry in Capernaum, his authoritative teaching, his exorcism of demons, his healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, and all the other healing and preaching he did there, demonstrate the authority and power of Jesus.
The people encountered Jesus and were left hungry for more.
When they discovered Jesus, they were amazed. This is an overwhelming and astonishing sense of amazement.
This passage really spoke to me, as I watch the crowds in Capernaum amazed, longing for more of him. As I watch his power and authority over demons and over sickness.
I admit for myself that it is so easy to get academic or routine about my faith. I believe that spiritual habits are really good and important. But I also feel how they can get so standardized they lose that sense of amazement. I know that God doesn’t ever promise that our relationship with him will feel vibrant and exciting all the time.
But I wonder if today you and I need to rediscover Jesus?
I wonder if it has been a long time since you were excited about him?
I wonder if it has been a long time since you felt your relationship with him was really meaningful.
One of the amazing things that our evangelical forefather John Wesley brought to faith in Christ was experience. Wesley was coming out of a time when following Jesus was, well, boring. It was just a bunch of religious rituals at church. And Wesley had what he described a strange warming of his heart, in an encounter with Jesus. For him it was an experience of Jesus!
These people at Capernaum had a vibrant experience with Jesus and they wanted more.
When you experience Jesus, you will want more!
I’m afraid that for myself and perhaps for many of you, it has been a long time since we experienced the authority and power of Jesus!
We need him. We need to encounter him. We need to spend time with him. If you’re like me, then maybe you look at the people of Capernaum with a bit of jealousy thinking “Yeah, but they actually got to be there with him in person. Talk with him. See the look in his eyes, the inflection in his voice. He touched their sick.” I get that. I wish he was in the flesh right here as well.
But know this, we can still encounter him. First, we have his Spirit with us, something those people in Capernaum did not have! Second, we encounter him in his Word. Also, something they didn’t have. Yes, they could meet him in the flesh, but after three years, that was over. We can encounter him through his Spirit, through his Word all the time. And Finally, we are his body. We encounter him through the church, the body of Christ. To encounter Jesus, we should do what he did. Spend time in solitude, pray in the Spirit to the Father like he did. Read about him. Over and over. Actively be part of your family of faith, your local “body” of Christ.
Finally, I believe we need to see him with new eyes. We can magnify Jesus in our lives. Here’s how one person described Jesus, and it magnifies Jesus!