With compassion and love in His heart, Jesus asked "How long has he been like this?" "Since he was a boy," the desperate father replied.
Jesus asked this strange question as the boy was convulsing on the ground in front of them in Mark 9. I call it "strange" because it seems unnecessary. Why does it matter? Doesn't Jesus already know the answer? Why make the boy endure one more second of pain as Jesus and the father have a conversation?
Strange usually means good when it comes to Jesus' ministry, and this is no exception. Jesus did not come to target people as mere objects of His mission. He came to relationally love people. He talked with and listened to people. He got to know them. He loved a long dinner together full of conversation. Dinner parties, not evangelism crusades, were at the core of Jesus' ministry.
Religion objectifies people. Jesus loves people. There is a big difference. The former spiritually bullies people while the latter spiritually builds people. Jesus talked with this father, not to delay the boy's healing, but to build the spiritual transformation that would follow the miracle. He connected with the father relationally because that was just as important to Him as healing the boy. Divine healing brings immediate joy. Divine relationship brings eternal joy. The first without the second makes Jesus' mission incomplete.
At Celebration we minister to people out of love and relationship because that is what Jesus did. We are Different because Jesus was. We never want the urgent need before us to create neglect in the person that comes with the need. That is religion not Jesus. That is an organized machine not a personal touch. Perhaps that is why so many are leery of the organized Church.
Let's love people as Jesus did.