Jesus lived a better life than I have. I have yet to hear or see or read of anyone who has lived a better life than Jesus. And even though I have almost lived twice as long as he did, the quality of his life far surpasses all. There is no comparison. He is worthy to be studied, how he thought, how he acted. His anger and compassion, his rebuke and his praise as we read in the gospels all line up with what we know is true, if. If the following premises are true, then his life makes perfect sense. If there is a God who created all things good, then Jesus restores, lame feet, withered hands, blind eyes, and dead bodies back to life, back to the original “good”.
Jesus’ miracles were not bizarre or random acts of supernatural, but with the purpose of restoring hands, feet, eyes back to how God originally designed them, good.
If we are made in the image of God, then the most important thing would not be our hands and feet, but our spirit, our thoughts, that is… our inner life. How can Jesus restore our thoughts back to the “good”? This is surely a more difficult task for Jesus, because he has to persuade our free will! (Anyone who has been a parent knows the difficulty of persuading another person’s free will.) But Jesus taught, “That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile the man.” (Mark 7:20-23). As I read these sins of the heart, they are not good. The TV, news, and media are filled with people making the headlines every day because their heart chose to do these things. These are not good.
If how I behave matters to God, even to the point of eternity of heaven or of hell, then something must be done to change my heart, my free will. If there is a hell, then the cross makes perfect sense. He died on the cruel cross not only to forgive me, but to change my heart, my spirit. “For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.” (Acts 3:26). Restoring hands and feet seemed a simple thing for Jesus. Within a few seconds they were healed. He could do this without effort. But to change my heart it cost him his life.
If Jesus died on the cross to save me and change me, then his commands make perfect sense, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” (Mark 8:35). If it cost him everything, doesn’t he have the right to ask the same of me? Restore my heart back to the good, and restore me to you. Dan Peters