Responsive. A quality of being barely alive to being fully alive. Giving any response at all to being quick to respond with genuine care and concern. Simply using words, listening and answering.
Jesus was responsive. In every sense.
He was divine, yet his pupils dilated and his nostrils were full of breath. Even so, he said that real life, eternal life, was to know him and his Father who sent him. (Jn 17:3) He listened and he spoke, responses full of life giving words and tension filled directives. He acted in mind blowing ways, liberating and healing the enslaved, the hurting, the grieving, and the lost who came to him in faith.
In chapter 5 of Mark’s gospel, Jesus encounters three people whom the community would have perceived as:
a psycho, wild man
a crazy, “hypochondriac” woman
and an ultra- religious snob
Though he had every right to, Jesus didn’t judge. He didn’t justify a reason to pass them by. He didn’t condemn.
His actions frightened the powerful and shook the timid, challenged the knowledgeable and invigorated the outsiders, and overcame them all with amazement!
He threw legions of demons out of a scary, self-mutilating freak and into a herd of suicidal pigs.
He restored his sanity.
He was a channel of powerful healing energy conducted through a woman’s faithful touch into her own broken body. He relinquished her agony.
He took a lifeless hand and gently ushered a little girl from death to life and into the arms of her faith-full father.
He revived a relationship.
His words set people free, calmed fear, and gave hope:
“Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!”
“Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
“Do not fear, only believe.”
It seems to me that Jesus was available and attentive to the people around him. He didn’t have to seek them out or hunt them down. He didn’t struggle with what to say. He followed his Father’s lead. John tells us that Jesus “can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.” (Jn 5:19)
Whose lead are you following? Are you too busy doing your own version of “good” to notice the people crossing your path on any given day? Are you governed more by what you can’t do than by what only God can do? What does it take for you to respond? Are you bound by judgment and justification, or are you open to the Spirit’s gentle nudging?
Friends, it is God who responds to faith. We are just the vessels through whom he responds. Will you give him enough margin to use you today? Respond.