Jesus, Me, and the WWE

Day 13

Prayer for the day

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

Scripture for the day

Genesis 31-32, Matthew 9:18-38

Jacob’s episode of wrestling with the man/God/messenger has to be one of the strangest in the Bible. A few things stand out:
1. Jacob wrestles with God.
2. Jacob is winning?
3. God/the man has to cheat and dislocate his hip.
4. Jacob wrestles with God.

As strange as this story is, it’s not the strangeness that’s intriguing. It’s that Jacob recognizes that something is at stake in his wrestling. He clings to the person he’s been wrestling and won’t let go until he receives a blessing.

In Matthew’s account of the multiple healings, we see a few people who likely have done a different kind of wrestling with God.

We see a religious leader with a dead child. I would imagine he’s been having some pretty serious wrestling matches with God fairly recently.
We see a woman who had some kind of blood disease or disorder for twelve years. I would imagine she’s been wrestling with God over her condition as well.
We see two blind men. We see a mute, demon-possessed man. And we see a crowd of people that the Bible says were harassed and hopeless.

Each one in his/her own way had been wrestling with God. They had likely argued with God about their situation, plead with God for intervention, wept and gnashed their teeth in anguish. And each one, it would seem, clung onto their God like Jacob did, begging for a blessing.

ANd then the most amazing thing happens. God blesses them. And when Jesus heals them, note the language he regularly uses: Your faith has made you well.

What Jesus is saying is not that they have some magic talisman called faith that has healed them, but that, like Jacob, they have done well in clinging to the God they were wrestling.

And so we are presented with something of a paradox: we must cling to God even as we wrestle with God. In the midst of our struggles, our pain, our disappointment, in the midst of our wrestling with why God would allow this or forbid that, why God would do this or not do that, our responsibility is not to not wrestle, but to cling to Him as we do.

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One thought on “Jesus, Me, and the WWE

  1. what struck me here is that laban did not seem to fear God. i mean, he acknowledged him but had his idols too, idols that his daughters took with them. God hasn’t revealed himself to the world yet here has he? his plans to bless the whole world by blessing abraham is not in it’s infancy yet. which brings me back to a question i had before, of why the patriarchs send thier sons back home to get married. is it an ethnic home? because in this case it doesn’t seem to be a spiritual home. and if it is an ethnic home i can see why the jewish people are so on about self-identifying in the second testament. the ethnicity was important to them and God doesn’t seem at all phased by that yet could it be argued that the canaanites of the day were just as Godless as the people in labans family? i had forgotten until i checked that canaanites were direct desendants of noah. this idea that there are a people of God and not a people of God is starting to thin in my mind. all people are from God. Whom God chooses to bless and whom he chooses to curse seems… more related to his character then their ethnicity. and then the correcting bit. those whom God loves he corrects. didn’t he send the isrealites into the land of canaan to correct them? i remember reading something about that somewhere… time to check google. so after much checking i have found another part of the narrative that speaks to God’s justice but his ultimate redemptive purpose for all of humanity including the Canaanites. it seems they got lost, were punished and shown the power of God. rahab was spared right? and then held up as an example of faith.

    i also find jacob’s response interesting when he is confronted by Laban after leaving in his absence. as a clever manipulator and a supplanter, he feels as though laban was going to supplant him. and he views the 20+ years of labour as a type of manipulation as well. or, at least he positions it that way to make his manipulations seem more palatable? i don’t understand the genetic implications of putting a stick in front of a cow to make it’s offspring spotted… but i do understand that the dream he has in chapter 31 does not describe the environmental pressures he affected to produce his own inheritance. in the end where is god to be found in all of this trickery?

    He says go back to the Land of your fathers and i will be with you. so Jacob Goes back. God tells Laban not to talk to Jacob.

    Then Jacob, knowing the storm he could very well be returning to makes great provision to bribe his brother out of anger, and sends people infront of him to test the waters so to speak, Going so far as to hedge his bets with half of his entourage. this is not the action of a faithful man, who trust in God’s presence with him. but then, who am i to judge? just as bad, if not worse.

    so the supplanter becomes the prince. he wrestles with God and man and prevails. I like How you put a question mark after “Jacob is winning”. A) a fight with God is not fair. his love for us is stronger then our love for him- and he’s a multidimensional- transcendental being. B) up to the point in the story Jacob has won everything. why should he not win this? i think the parallel that you have drawn between the scriptures is really inspired… Jacob clutching to God in a way that demands attention and blessing, and God clutching back in a way that demonstrates love and involvement. Jacob learns about God in this moment. in vs 9 of chapter 32, when he relates the twisted version of his meeting with God he says God promises to deal well with him. that’s not what God promised, God promised to be with him in vs 3 of 31. not to abandon him. hand to hand combat in life and death must be exactly the type of situation You can’t supplant your way out of. jacob must’ve learned that the person he was wrestling with was Capable of blessing him, or he wouldn’t have asked. the wrestling with God, and the remaining with God in-spite of the troubles, is an admirable trait. i wonder if he thought back to God’s promise as he was wrestling?

    I don’t know that i see the people as wrestling with God, not in the sense that God sent the malady, God sent the demon, God sent the blindness to instigate a faith response. if anything the ones God is wrestling with are the scribes. they are wrestling with the idea that God has returned in the person of jesus. And jesus tries to instigate a faith response in as plain a way as i’ve read him doing it. i mean, jesus says Have faith- i forgive sins and heal people. i bring people to a burdensome knowledge of their sins and heal them from the burden in the same action. this does not follow in the tradition of some of today’s evangelical methods. why else would he draw the distinction in vs 13 of chapter 9 between mercy and sacrifice? he wants them to learn that they need healing as much as the people who are physically sick already know it. but did the palsied man or the woman with the blood issue or the blind man know about thier spiritual condition any more then the pharisees did? is there even a distinction in Jesus actions between healing the sins of a person and healing their body? I guess what i am trying to say is that the line i’ve drawn between spiritual things and physical things is blurring. Faith that God Could deliver my eternal soul from being lost forever and Faith that God could provide for my daily needs are the same faith. Like the woman at the well. water vs spiritual water. everyone was ignorant of the spiritual realm of Jesus’s ministry, except the spirits themselves, and people after he told them about it and explained it a great deal. not just the scribes and religious leaders we always pick on.

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