John 5: 17 (NLT)
Jesus replied, "My Father is always working, and so am I."
John 3: 8
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.
Most of our days are fairly predictable. If I were to ask what you’ll be doing today, you’d probably be able to give me an outline of how you will spend 80-90% of your time. In one sense, that’s normal and okay. And yet, within the routine of our days, we must make room for the unpredictable, for the divine interruption, for the Father’s invitation to step into someone’s story. For the first disciples of Jesus, their days could be described in many ways, but I would guess that none of them were ever boring, bland and predictable.
Jesus was wildly unpredictable. Just when you thought he was going to do one thing, he ended up doing something different. When you assumed he was likely to go a certain way, he turned and went in the opposite direction.
Imagine you are a reporter back in 30AD and you’ve been assigned to follow Jesus and report on how he heals people. As you walk behind him, you see two blind men shouting out for him to have mercy on them. What will he do?
“Then he touched their eyes…..and their sight was restored.” (Matt 9: 29-30)
You’re genuinely amazed so you keep following him. A few days later another blind man is brought to him. You think to yourself: ‘He’s going to touch his eyes again.’ But look at what happens on this occasion:
“He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (Mark 8: 23-25)
You are surprised. What was with the spitting in the man’s eyes? You’re intrigued so you follow him for another while and soon this guy Bartimaeus starts shouting out for Jesus to heal him.
You think to yourself: ‘Well he’s not coughing so he’s not going to spit. He must be going to do the touching thing again this time.’ Look what happens:
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.” (Mark 10: 51-52)
Jesus never even touches him. He just speaks the word and the man is healed. Now you are majorly confused. You decide to follow him for one more day. Once again Jesus encounters a man born blind and you’re thinking: ‘Touch, spit or just say a word? What will he do?’:
“Jesus spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes. “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam”. So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.” (John 9: 6-7)
Okay, so Jesus spits again this time, but not on the man like before. Instead he spits on the ground, makes a little mud pie with his saliva, and tells the guy to go wash in a pool, and when he does, he can see again.
Jesus was so unpredictable. You never knew what he was going to do next. But the other thing I want us to grasp is this: There was no formula to how Jesus healed people.
To be honest, I prefer formulae. I like it when A+B=C. If I do this and this, then God has to do this? If I say this prayer this way, then God will answer it that way.
The problem with formulae is that God is a person, not a slot machine. He wants a personal relationship with us as individuals, not some interaction where we treat Him as an impersonal force, like a genie, where we rub the lamp and He grants our wishes.
So why did Jesus do things the way he did them? Why was he so unpredictable, why was there no formula?
The secret is in John 5:
“Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working…
….Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.” (vv. 15; 19)
Jesus says, 'The Father is always at work all around me and so I see what He’s doing and I simply join in.'
Jesus lived in constant, conscious awareness that his Father was always at work all around him. As he walked around he was spiritually sensitive, constantly watching and listening to see and hear where God was already at work. As he heard the whisper of the Father – ‘heal him’; touch him’; ‘make mud with your spittle and put it on his eyes’; ‘just say a word’ – he would respond with absolute obedience.
In the same way, God is already at work in your office, community, family, in whatever situation you’re facing. He is active and intentional long before you show up, so all you need to do is open your spiritual eyes and ears to discern what he’s doing and then simply be obedient to what he says. There's stories He's already set up for you to step into today.