Midweek Wake-Up, October 17th, 2018
If you walk into many Christian bookstores or look at the online Christian book sites you’ll find many different books on what Jesus can or wants to do for you. Many of these books tend to be “Christianized” self-help books. For example “Your best life now – 7 steps to living at your full potential” or “Stepping Up – Discover the power of your position” or “The power of positive energy – powerful thinking, powerful life”. And this is before we begin to look at books about how God wants to heal us from all our sicknesses!
If we were going by numbers, the sheer number of book sales for these types of book might indicate that these things are of supreme importance for the believer. It’s so easy for all of us to come to Jesus wanting or demanding that some immediate need is met for us. Nothing has changed much in 2000 years. The eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ ministry tell us that huge crowds were attracted to Jesus primarily because he was healing so many people and delivering so many people of demonic oppression. At first, it seems that his disciples were very happy and pleased with how the healing and deliverance “campaign” was going. We read in Mark 1:36-37: Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Perhaps the disciples would have been quite happy if Jesus was to write a book entitled “5 steps to true healing” or “3 powerful words to guarantee deliverance and fulfil your destiny”.
Jesus’ response to the disciples must have been quite astonishing: “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (vv. 36-38). So Jesus’ primary mission at this stage of his ministry was not healing and deliverance but preaching and teaching. And the content of his message was the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (v. 15).
The proclamation that guilty sinners like you and me can be made right with God and brought into His kingdom through the person of Jesus Christ is the best news ever! And ironically, it is through the message of the gospel alone that we can live our best life now, know the transforming truth of our position and experience the most powerful energy of the Holy Spirit illuminating our thinking and empowering our living. These things are certainly important! But, beware of any “Christian help” books that give mere lip service to, or, are detached from the gospel – the great news of the life, death and resurrection of Christ for us. It is the gospel alone that is the power of God for the rescuing and transformation of everyone who believes (Romans 1:16; 12:1-2). Hallelujah!