May 5, 2009, 6:33 AM
If Jesus is the solution, that means there is a problem somewhere. Problems; we seem never to have enough of them. Worst of all, they never seem to want to get out of the way. They have not only grown in number but in our modern world they come in all colours, shapes and sizes.
Problems have become an agenda item in the daily scheme of things. Problems of all sorts – solicited or unsolicited. No one is exempted, when you least expect it, problems will come knocking. Mark you; it has nothing to do with your strength, or your level of righteousness. It is a natural phenomenon. We all have to deal with it one time or the other and sometimes it can be quite a humbug.
During His earthly ministry, Jesus encountered many who were afflicted with problems for which they needed immediate solutions. All those who brought their problems to Him left fully satisfied with the answers (except for one who was not willing to take the medication). Jesus did not always wait for them to announce their problems. He read their hearts there and then and knew instantly what the problem and the remedy were. He never stopped bringing relief – to the broken-hearted, the heavy-laden, the sick (all kinds of ailments - the lame, the deaf, the dumb, the leper), the disadvantaged, the deprived, the wretched in the society, the lost – you name it. Jesus made no distinction of the patients He treated.
Would you consider solitude as a problem, particularly when it has come about as a result of your lifestyle? A Samaritan lady was not living right; she had had five men in her life and the one she was with was not her husband. The women of her village had ostracised her because of this. She no longer joined the group of women who went to fetch water in the morning and evenings. She went on her own and at midday when she was likely to find no other woman there. The women had little to do with her.
She was on one of her water-fetching trips at midday when she ran into Jesus who recounted her life to her and it set her thinking; how did He know about me? When it clicked, she confessed her inadequacies. She went back to the village to announce to the villagers that she had met the Messiah who had told her all about herself. “Come, see a man who told me everything I did.” (John 4.29)
This solitary and isolated lady suddenly regained her place in society and she is credited for being the first evangelist – the one to bring the good news to the people who had not thought much of her in the first instance. “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Saviour of the world.” (John 4:42) Restored, accepted by Jesus, the Messiah, she reintegrated society and must have lived a decent life ever after. Her problem was solved through that encounter.
Does sin constitute a problem for you? Have you been committing the same sin and forever repenting but never quitting? Well, we know of a lady who had such a problem. Worse, she was caught red-handed in adultery and would have been stoned to death. Somehow the opinion of Jesus was sought on the matter “by the teachers of the Law and the Pharisees”. (John 8:3) This was what they said: “In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you think?” (John 8:5) This was a trap. So Jesus responded in these terms: “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7) These words pronounced by Jesus were what saved her, literally let her off the hook. The Bible accounts states that each of her accusers dropped his stone one after the other and left. Now this was no license for her to continue sinning; so Jesus warned: “Has no one condemned you? Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11) Thus her problem was solved. Saved by the bell!
In another instance, Jesus had predicted Peter would deny him thrice after the cock had crowed twice. When their eyes met at the point he was denying Christ, Peter wept. Peter was an outspoken, natural leader of the twelve disciples, but he was also very impulsive and forward. On that night however after denying Christ, he broke down. Since that time he had a problem. How could he face the Master again? The Master no doubt was aware of his problem and did what He could to restore him. When their paths crossed after His resurrection Jesus repeatedly told Peter to feed his sheep and lambs. But first He had asked whether Peter loved Him. Peter seemingly put on a spot said to Him. “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17) To have been given a new assignment was proof that he had regained his status. Restored and pardoned, Peter’s image problem was solved.
Jesus intervened on many occasions healing the sick. His family recognised He had power in this domain. Once His brothers said to him; “You ought to leave here and go to
At another time Jesus was accused of having lost His mind because He readily solved people’s problems and the people flocked to Him. (Mark 3:20) When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” (Mark 3:21)
For coming to people’s rescue and delivering them from the hands of the evil one Jesus was called all kinds of names. His enemies labelled Him Beelzebud emphasising: “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons He is driving out demons.” (Mark 3:22) Jesus made it clear to them that if as they said He was Satan, a house divided against itself cannot stand. By this He meant He could not cause the problem and then be the one to solve it.