Jesus gives gifts without wanting recognition, says Cameron Martin, Rector, St Hugh's Church, Scunthorpe
THE long slow decline of religion in the UK as indicated by the 2011 Census results has produced much discussion among Christians. The grief and anxiety are inevitable, but is it entirely necessary? After all, Jesus didn't come into this world to start a new religion. His stated purpose was actually to announce the presence of the "Kingdom of God" (Luke 4:43).
The book of John tells the story of a woman at a well. Here Jesus introduces her to the possibility of eternal life.
To paraphrase, Jesus essentially says to her, "I don't much care where or how you worship, but if you can recognise me, streams of living water will flow from within you."
In the story above, Jesus focuses her attention on a deeper interior reality, rather than external ones. The religion of the woman is immaterial. However, we notice a minimum requirement to recognise Jesus in order to receive what he offers. It might be tempting to conclude that as long as we recognise and name Jesus that is what matters.
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The problem is sometimes even recognition isn't a requirement for Christ to work in our lives. In John Chapter 9 Jesus spat on the ground, made mud pies and smeared them on a blind man's face. Soon the man could see.
The method of the miracle is so unusual that we often miss the most important point. The man didn't ask to be healed. He was minding his own business when Jesus engages him. He rubs dirt and spit on his eyes and then tells him to go wash it off.
The blind man didn't even know his name. Here Jesus performs a miracle without anyone asking or recognising who he was.
Jesus serves as the unknown healer, able to give gifts without wanting recognition.
If we, who are merely human, are able to give anonymous gifts, how much more is Jesus?