Treadmill lesson #1: Hamsters really need to get a life.
Treadmill lesson #2: Like boots, parkas, and mittens, treadmills are useful for winter survival.
Treadmill lesson #3: Once the machine and the body are in sync, the brain can focus on more useful things – like listening to thoughtful podcasts or scripture.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying a mix of both – good teachers delving into the Word of God, and John presenting the Word as God. As I listen to John’s unfolding of the story of the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, there have been several times where I’ve had to hit the “pause-and-reflect-on-this” button.
PAROT #1: Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Beyond the fact that Jesus was defying all the politically correct ways to deal with Samaritans and women, I found it interesting that when this woman of a not-so-wonderful-or-upstanding reputation returns to her village with the news that she had encountered the Messiah, the One who told her everything she had ever done – everyone believes her! This is the woman who is alone at the well because her lifestyle separates her socially from the other women of the community – she is essentially an outcast. I’m amazed that anyone even listened to her, much less believed what she was saying. The correlative link between reputation and credibility seems backwards here…and yet through her, many people came to believe in the One who offered living water to their thirsty souls. I so love how Jesus spread the message of His Father…
PAROT #2: Jesus healing the paralytic man. Can you imagine how this man felt? After years of confinement to the limited domain of a mat on the ground, he is now free to move and walk and jump and leap…. and pick up his mat and carry it! Amazing!! What really caught my attention in this vignette though was the reaction of the Pharisees. When these spiritual leaders of the community encounter the former paralytic, they don’t see a man who has had a life-changing encounter with Jesus, they see a man who is defiling the Sabbath rules by carrying his mat. A man was paralyzed and is now WALKING, and all they can see is the mat in his arms. It almost makes me laugh – in a sad sort of way. Makes me wonder how many times I’ve focused on the wrong thing… and missed what God was REALLY doing…
PAROT #3: Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Okay – so raising people from the dead is pretty much a STOP-and-pay-attention kind of thing. And that really was Jesus’ point about it – He deliberately waited to go to Bethany until he knew that Lazarus was “asleep.” Mary and Martha both knew in their hearts that if Jesus had come sooner, Lazarus would not have died. That certainly could have been the case – but this wasn’t about Lazarus, really. It was about Jesus glorifying God the Father. The best way to bring that glory was in a resurrection, not a simple restoration of health. But beyond the amazing power of God to raise Lazarus – and its foreshadowing of an even greater resurrection to come, the part of this story that captured me anew was the fact that Jesus wept for Lazarus. He knew Lazarus was going to die – He even knew when Lazarus died – He knew His purpose was to glorify His Father – He knew that Lazarus would live and breathe and eat and be with his sisters and friends again. He absolutely knew all that. And yet He was still moved with compassion… and He wept.
Pause and reflect on that.