Pain memories

Movies that do well at the box office and sell a lot of DVDs portray characters with whom people want to identify. What are your top three? The biggest sellers tend to portray strong action heroes for the guys and tender love stories with meaningful dialogue for the women.

Jesus’ stories pull you right in, just like great movies, because he understands the human situation so well. And even though we’ve all been pampered at one time or another, it’s not with the rich man that we resonate in his Lazarus story. We head straight for the beggar because our own pain memories are so strong.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores” (Luke 16:19-21). Our ancestors’ rebellion against God became a congenital birth defect. Through our human flesh and blood we are bonded with Adam and Eve not only physically but with their terrible sin as well. Every time we sin we affirm their horrible choice.

Curses fell upon the human race when they (and we) sinned. The most immediate is pain. No one escapes. Everybody hurts—Lazarus hurt; we hurt. We long for God’s soothing touch now, and we yearn for our ultimate escape into heaven.

Both are ours through Christ. Now and in eternity.

Pastor Mark Jeske has been bringing the Word of God to viewers of Time of Grace since the program began airing in late 2001. A Milwaukee native, Pastor Jeske has served as the senior pastor at St. Marcus, a multicultural congregation on Milwaukee’s near north side since 1980. In addition, he is the author of six books and dozens of devotional booklets on various topics.


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