From time to time, radical men and their radical thoughts have swept across the stage of history. When these men appear, they disturb the comfortable and self-satisfied among us. But there is one man who deserves our special recognition. His career was like the path of a comet -- in both its briefness and intensity. Who was this man? He was everything his name describes. He still is. His name is Healer.
Though his years were short, his extraordinary life established a new race among the afflicted, broken-hearted, and strife-torn peoples of the earth. There has never been a light like the light that shone forth from this man. His words broke into the unexplored areas of the human heart, bringing men's motives out of their dark burrows and into plain view. Even those who followed him found the ancient foundations of their lives quaking in devastation.
The words he spoke had an amazing effect on people. When he spoke, some people totally abandoned their homes, families, jobs, and properties to follow him from town to town, doing whatever he told them to do. Others heard his words and turned their backs on him, or called him a devil, or plotted to kill him.
What did this man talk about that caused such a stir? What was it that polarized all of humanity, causing some to adore him and others to grind their teeth at him?
It was something so wonderful that if you heard it, you could hardly believe it. The good news he proclaimed was this:
Deny yourself. Turn away from your self-centered life. Let your old impulses and desires die inside of you. Follow me in the way I am going and you will find yourself caring for others and having all your needs met.
Is it any wonder that the society of his day cried out against him? Whatever else the deafness and blindness of his hearers might have missed, it's clear that they saw this: he was the seed of a whole new order of things. The greatest enemy to this man's message was the fossilized human heart.
Yet, what this man accomplished was enduring. That's why his name is important. His name shines in all that he has accomplished. His name is Deliverer.
The same world that he came into has made him the victim of a great campaign, a campaign to distort his true image. His shocking message and what it brings us all to has been intellectualized by a million hollow words. We've lost sight of him in the dust of a stampede to enshrine him and institutionalize him. Although he poured out his life in the dusty, sun-bit villages of Judea, artists have insisted on presenting him clean, combed and sleek, in spotless clothing, and with an expression that the average child would think strange and repulsive.
These, among a million other impressions, have made him unreal to so many of us. This distortion of his image has also distorted his name. If we view him in an unreal way, we truly cannot know him or be connected to him. His name is Restorer.
The traditional groups that have a supposed devotion to his memory largely ignore the matter that was closest to his heart -- the message of his kingdom, the call of deliverance from the decaying society in which we live. He was the most passionate and determined man who ever lived. The blazing quality of his life was so pure that even death has bowed down before him. His endurance and single-mindedness have established a beachhead in this hostile world. He accomplished the mission he was given to do. He is God's anointed son, sent by his Father to set all creation free.
To the complex reasoning of the resisting heart, he is a tyrant, demanding total obedience. But to the yielding heart, he is a king who offers total care. To take him seriously is to enter upon a challenging and radical new path. Of those who find themselves stirred by his word, he said, "These are my sheep. They will hear my voice." He is the perfect Shepherd.
The life he established is unending, and one day it is going to fill the whole earth, and then the whole universe. Despite what we may have been told, we now know that his name is Salvation.
This is the name he is known by among the people he is gathering. His name is true because it says what he is. His name is Yahshua.
Does his name stir your heart?