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  • Christopher Thompson

The Church WeWant to Belong To

Luke Chapter 13:10-17 recounts the healing of a woman paralyzed for eighteen years. When Jesus healed her, the synagogue leader criticized healing on the Sabbath. It’s a story of the organized church missing the chance to prioritize a suffering woman’s needs, neglecting the sentiments and values of the people.


In Tuesday morning’s sermon at the Stuart Auditorium, Dr. Bill Knott, Associate Director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the Adventist Church, urged us to pay attention to the new things God is doing among us and align ourselves with them. Knott illustrated the disparity between religion’s priorities and those shown by God through Christ. Jesus’ humble and compassionate ministry contrasts with the priorities of religious institutions today.


Knott emphasized Jesus’ prioritization of the needs of a crippled woman who, for multiple reasons,

would not have been welcomed, let alone favored, in a temple filled with pompous men. Jesus centered her needs and highlighted her deliverance. What if we too prioritized the work of freedom and emancipation for the imprisoned, brokenhearted, and downtrodden? This is the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry.


Knott questioned the worshippers, asking, “Why do we rarely preach Jesus as this kind of Lord today?

Why have we turned Jesus into the ultimate defender of the status quo?”


Yet, according to Knott, “Jesus is still engaged in setting the people free.” We must be mindful of those among us who are hurting and desperately need the Lord’s deliverance. These individuals must become our priority. Knott also shared a letter from a widow who felt abandoned by the church and its leaders as her attendance and health waned. Our task is to draw near to Jesus when we have a need and to meet the needs of others when we have strength to spare. Only then will we become the church we would want to belong to.


—CHRISTOPHER C. THOMPSON

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