This morning, Luke 4:33-37 gave me some food for thought.
You might have heard the saying,
“There are two times when you need to go to church: 1) When you feel like going, and 2) when you don’t feel like going.”
I still find that quote funny and I completely agree with it (and no, the irony is not lost on me that I am sitting at home right now, writing about going to church instead of actually being at church). There is quite simply no place like being somewhere, surrounded by like-minded people who love you – whose love comes from God.
To further drive this point home, as I was reading through Luke chapter 4, I came across verses 33-37:
Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice…
First of all, I want to make sure you’re aware: the church is filled with a massive variety of people. There are people there who have been hurt – who are hurting. There are people there who have the ability to hurt you, and hurt themselves. For all of those people, including you, it is exactly the right place to be.
…saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”
There are people in church who know all there is to know about God, but don’t know Him. They are in the right place.
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.” And the report about Him went out into every place in the surrounding region.
Jesus healed this man.
He might not have even realised the state he was in. He was playing right into this demon’s hands, and he still had the audacity to attend church? PRAISE GOD!! Whatever made him feel okay about being at the synagogue (church), I praise God for that. It shows us that healing is absolutely, 100% possible with God.
Yes, you can wait for God to seek you out if you run from Him, ashamed of the choices you have made (Matthew 18:12-14). But the relationship you have been desiring with Him, can be found inside the very place where you might expect to feel the least welcome – surrounded by Christians. Broken, breaking, hurting, aching, Christians.
Not one of us have been left untouched by the dark wounds of pain. Not a single person inside that church is better than you, less than you, worse than you, or more worthy.
In these verses, I find that the demon possessed man was exactly where he needed to be… where Jesus was. If he had decided to stay home because of guilt or whatever reason, he would have missed out on the healing he received. He would have carried that demon around with him until who knows when.
God is working on every single person you meet at church, even the ones who seem to have everything all together.
And, thankfully, He is also working on those who aren’t at church – I should have been at church today.
“Church is a hospital for sinners, not a rest home for saints.”