By Jon Pausley - Okoboji Bible Conference Ministeries
Peanut butter and chocolate. Is there a better combination? Can peanut butter M&Ms or Reese's peanut butter cups be improved upon? In my estimation, no, they cannot. You may not agree, but I would guess that you have a combination of your own that you consider to be unmatched.
There is a divine combination in the person of Jesus that we dare not miss. In the eighth chapter of the gospel of Matthew, we see three pictures of the authority of Jesus. Scripture teaches that Jesus was no ordinary person. He was not just a nice person who taught us the Golden Rule but was the incarnate God in flesh. Over and over in the gospels, Jesus claimed divinity. Well, if you claim to be divine, it is natural for people to want to see proof. In Matthew chapter 8 Jesus gives proof.
Jesus shows his authority over areas of life outside of human control. He heals sickness by his touch, he calms a raging storm with words and he casts out demonic activity with one simple command ‘Go.' These are three areas that humanity would like to have authority over, but we do not. We can mitigate sickness, but we cannot heal all of it. We can predict the weather but not calm it. We can pray against demonic activity but only in Jesus' name can it be stopped.
Jesus has authority. The captivating combination that resides in Jesus is his ultimate authority matched with his compassionate heart. When the authority of Jesus is released in the gospels, we see it released because of his compassion. Jesus heals the sick with his word, feeds the hungry with miracles, casts demonic activity out of the oppressed and calms storms to save lives. A divine combination that lives in Jesus.
We must here take a pause and consider the cynical. If Jesus has this authority and has this compassion – why does he not heal me or my loved one? Why did he not calm the storm that took my home? Why am I still oppressed? We can easily, and understandably, get stuck here. This is where we must read on.
Further into the gospel story, we read of this Jesus willingly putting aside his authority and allowing himself to be crucified. In that crucifixion he took on the payment for the sins of humanity. Jesus' authority is seen again as he defeats that which no one can control – death itself. Jesus compassion extends beyond our moment of crisis and reaches into our eternal future. He healed our sickness of sin and death and through his authority offers life.
It is true that Jesus does not heal every sickness or calm every storm. In his compassion he does far better. He gives us his presence. He walks with us, gives the strength to rebuild and provides us opportunities to trust his plan. Ultimate authority and unending compassion a divine combination.
As we move through the season of lent and into the celebration of Easter – consider Jesus. Because, as much as I like peanut butter and chocolate, Jesus is better — far better.