I anxiously grabbed the page out of the printer and flipped it over. There they were, smudges, just like the other pages before it. We had close to 100 color copies that needed to be done, and we had nothing to show for it after more than half an hour at Kinkos. We had asked for help multiple times, but the printer still wouldn’t cooperate. After the seventh copy came out of the printer with smudges across it, I had enough. Why couldn’t it just work?
Are you ever in awe of Jesus’s patience? I am. All the time. Perhaps it is because of its contrast with my own impatience. Seriously, all it takes is one dysfunctional piece of technology, and my patience can go out the window.
Christ’s patience is seen frequently during Jesus’s interactions with His disciples. He graciously explains the meanings of parables when they miss the point over and over. He lovingly responds to Peter despite Peter’s tendency to talk without considering his words. He even responds patiently when two of the disciples enlist the help of their mother to petition Jesus for preferential treatment, using the opportunity to explain servant leadership rather than scold (Matthew 20:20-28).
In his sermon on Sunday, Chris revealed another example in scripture of Jesus’s amazing patience, and what is most amazing to me is at WHOM His patience is directed in the account of Mark 2:6-12. He was patient with the very men who were looking for faults in Him, the scribes!
Sometimes, I like to look at the scribes and Pharisees as the “bad guys” of the Jesus story. It isn’t hard to do. They were the ones who scoffed at His words, acted in fear to suppress His ministry and plotted His death. And yet, Jesus responds to them with patience while they reason against Him in their hearts when He forgives the paralytic’s sin before healing him.
As much as part of me wants Jesus to really put the “bad guys” in their place in this account, I am thankful He didn’t. My thankfulness comes from the realization that I have a lot of the attributes of a scribe or Pharisee in my sin nature. Do I scoff at things I don’t fully understand? Sometimes. Am I prideful at my own accomplishments? Often. Do I like to look good on the outside but neglect to fix the heart issues within? Guilty as charged.
The only reason I can ever be loving instead of pessimistic, humble instead of prideful and truly changed instead of pretending to be good is because of Jesus. He was patient despite my glaring flaws and gave His life for mine in the most unequal of exchanges to ever take place.
Since this is the question on my mind, I will ask all of you: in what ways are you still acting like the scribes even though you know the truth of the Gospel?
Another question on my mind is where do I need to reflect the patience of Christ? We ended up getting the pages printed after all, but I certainly can use more of Christ’s patience in situations like this throughout daily life. We love because He first loved us, and our patience should overflow out of the knowledge of His incredible patience toward us.