Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the Sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority. In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth. Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are ‘The Holy One of God!’”
“Have you come to destroy me?” could easily be translated by a teenager into “What do you want?” It is a mystery why we turn our backs on those who love us the most and could help us the most! It truly is a mystery.
The devil seems to know who Jesus is, but he doesn’t seem to know who God is. Jesus is not the God of destruction or the God of hate! Jesus is the love of God made flesh! God loves man. He loves us more than we could ever merit; more than we could ever earn; more than we could ever imagine!
I didn’t learn much in my CCD classes. I know I didn’t learn much because I don’t remember much at all. But I do remember one lesson. I remember one of my teachers pulling out a fifty dollar bill and asking everyone in the classroom who would like it. I raised my hand faster than I had ever raised it before. That was an easy question to answer, “I do!!!” I couldn’t believe that he was asking us. Who wouldn’t want a fifty dollar bill – a real one!
The bill in his hand was pristine. It looked like it had just come out of the mint! Then, before our eyes, he took it and crumbled it all up. Then he asked us if we would still like it. Of course, we all raised our hand again and shouted out, again, “I do!!!”
Finally, our teachers took the bill and dropped it on the floor and began to step on it, stomp on it and grind it into the floor with his shoe. Then he looked at us and asked us if we still wanted it. Of course we all wanted the fifty dollar bill.
Then our teacher said, “My dear children, we have all learned a very valuable lesson today. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth fifty dollars. Many times in our lives, we fall, we crumple up and are ground into the dirt by the sins we commit or by the sins of other. In the eyes of God, we will never, ever, lose our worth. Dirty or clean, you are still priceless in the eyes of love; in the eyes of God.”
What can I say…it was the 70’s you know! But what my teacher told me that day is still true today. In fact, it has always been true. We are loved by our Creator. We are loved by our Father.
What is it about God’s word that is so powerful? It is the message, the Good News, that he brings to us! When people abandon us, the Lord speaks loud and clear, “I am with you till the end of time.” When no one appears ready to help us, the Lord speaks even louder and clearer, “Never forget, I lay down my life for you!”
The Lord did not come to destroy us. He actually came into this world to save us from ourselves!