Luke 4:40-41 When the sun went down, everyone who had anyone sick with some ailment or other brought them to Him. One by one He placed his hands on them and healed them.
I love the words, “one by one”. Earlier in the chapter, Satan offers Jesus many ways to use and demonstrate His power and all of them involve some kind of mass-produced, impersonal result. Jesus refused to wield His power apart from relationship. He is focused on the needs of each individual and His relationship to them is critical to His “Lord of All” character. Clearly, He could have waved His arms and healed everyone and fixed everything, but He instead insisted upon demonstrating that He is the God of every person…not just the God of mankind. This awareness builds the groundwork upon which we construct our understanding of His most powerful act of all. As we watch Him take the long walk to the cross, we know that this is not just for “all people”, but for every person. It was for me. And Steve. And Josiah. And my neighbor, Berta.
One by one, He healed them all. One by one, He still does.
However, I wonder: when we serve the “one by one” God, why we so often work mostly to become like each other. He constantly demonstrated a passionate desire to maintain a real relationship with individuals…and yet we tend to model our lives after those around us, hoping that our friendship with Him will look just like their friendship with Him.
Someone told me recently that they absolutely would not read a certain translation of the Bible because their small group leader didn’t like it. Another person mentioned a specific philosophy that they had disregarded without evaluation because their mentor was not a fan. I understand following leaders. I get that we all need discipleship…in fact, I’m really passionate about that fact. I don’t, however, want to ever assume that as followers of Jesus we will all look, speak, pray or even believe exactly like one another.
The image of God – stamped on each one of us – allows for some really beautiful and startling diversity if we’ll truly get to know the one-by-one God.