For The Simple/Common People
by Pastor Robert V. Shipman, Sr. | August 29, 2014
...and the common people heard him gladly.
Some things are a mystery. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us that. (The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.) Why do children die? You may not understand--why there is so much evil or bad in the world. Why do natural disasters destroy innocent lives? And Look! We cannot figure out how free will coexists with predestination. How can there be a thing called God's Sovereignty without God ever participating in sin, leaving man’s moral choices as man’s primary responsibility. We don't like it, but we cannot understand why it seems like bad people get away with everything, while good people suffer so much. But don't let what you don't understand stop you from responding in faith to what you do understand.
The Bible teaches us simple things that we can understand. Things like, God loves us. Jesus reminded us that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). But, Jesus was not really interested in winning religious or philosophical arguments. He was not interested in scientific explanations or philosophical frustrations that dismiss God’s existence simply because a person cannot understand life’s major crisis and God’s place in them. Instead, Jesus was interested in getting people to enter the Kingdom that the Father was building through him. ...and the common people heard him gladly. Jesus did not seek out the deep thinkers like Nathaniel (John 1:46 - And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?). Deep thinkers searched for Jesus. (For example, Matthew 23:35-36 35 - Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?) Even today, Jesus is not interested in helping you understand everything about the origin of man, the tension between free will and Providence, the detailed intricacies of human travel from life on earth to or through death; but there are things that He knew and knows that simple people need to hear.
Common people, simple people are both phrases that refer to people who live life based on a clear understanding about life. They are not "stupid" or "ignorant". They, like those who consider themselves to be educated, make a choice of what presupposition they will build their lives upon. Whatever they do not understand, they wait until it is revealed in some way. They do not try to solve the mysteries of the universe. Common people read the record that God left on the earth and His imprint in the sky. Common people heard Jesus say blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3), and despite the crowd, they found themselves in (Matthew 4:24 - 5:2 “and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan. And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: And He opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…”) they say Amen. Common people understand Jesus' statement, "you must be born again” (John 3:3). They are not theologians who try to break down the process of salvation, if Jesus said it, they simply believed it must be done, and it can be done, and will be done for those who will surrender. Common/simple have no problem understanding that Jesus came to “seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10; Matthew 18:11).
Simple people know that there are moments that miracles happen; but they understand that not every moment is a miracle. They know that a daughter is healed when doctors have given up, is a miracle (Matthew 9:18). Simple people know that a terminally ill leper whose science and culture could not cure him, received a miracle (Luke 17). They need no deep understanding of fasting, and its relationship to preparing a path for God to work. Simple people are cognizant—mentally aware—that since there is God, a blind man may be made to see at any moment. They do not ask why every blind man is not healed, they simply trust that one day, God’s generosity will overtake them. Simple don’t try to explain things, they are just thankful.
Maybe our joy and our commitment to witnessing about the presence of Christ in the world would increase, if we spent less time looking for deep sayings from all of the deep thinkers in the family of God. Our experiences with God are profound without any attempt by us to magnify our journey. Christ does the common things for common people. He gives healing, assurance, and provision. He makes us aware of our place in the Kingdom of God.
Finally, simple people do not need to be impressed; they need direction. They need encouragement. They need the power of a word from Christ. Simple people heard Jesus because His message was simple, plain. In the context of Mark 12, Jesus had refuted religious arguments and openly dealt with an ernest seeker. But when he turned to the common people, the simple people, He gave them a simple narrative question that presupposed that their answer would be, “because He is God.” That’s all they needed. Simple interrogations! Simple declarations! The narrative itself put to rest the questions about who He was and where He came from, so that Jesus could return to the plain/simple teaching of the Kingdom.
This week, why not try to listen to the simple things that Jesus had to say. You will find yourself refreshed in the spirit and ready to live this new life in Christ with new excitement.