Summary: Ever feel like a Jack in the Box? Ever feel crammed or pressured by people or problems in life? God never designed you to be stuck in a box that limits you. Discover how to escape the the box that you find yourself in.
Take a stroll down memory lane with me for brief minute. I want you to think back to your childhood and all the toys you played with as a little girl or a little boy. Maybe you had an Etch N Sketch or a Simon Says. My favorite was Lego’s. I loved building things. But there is one toy that comes to mind that has probably stood the test of time. And until recently I did not know that it was still in production. Even if you didn’t have one you knew someone who did. It’s the famous and historical Jack-n-the-Box. And just in case you have no earthly idea what a Jack-n-the-Box is let me describe it for you. It is a Jack in a box. It is a colorful, tin box shaped toy with a handle on one side. Stuffed inside the box was a clown like figure, usually with a painted face and a jester’s hat. The idea of the toy was to get the Jack who was stuffed, squeezed and crammed into this little biddy box out. This was done by winding the handle on the side which played a circus tone that went something like this. (sing tone) The fun was in the element of surprise because as you were winding the handle and the music was playing, you didn’t know when the Jack would suddenly pop out and make its appearance. Although I experienced the excitement of this toy as child I see now that it demonstrates an alarming reality in many of our lives. Often times we are like this Jack in the box, pressured, influenced and sometimes forced by the circumstances of life or the people around us into a box that was never made for us. Have you ever been in a place where you said “this is just not me, I don’t seem to fit.” Maybe you have put yourself in that box by limiting God and what he wants to do in and through your life. What do we do when that happens? How do we break out of the box people try to place us in? Well, Jesus presents a great example for us in the gospel of Luke. I want us to see what he did and hopefully his example will encourage us when we experience the pressure to meet everyone’s expectations.
The story begins with Jesus entering the city of Capernaum, a city central to the ministry of Jesus. He is teaching in the synagogue. The people respond in amazement at the authority with which teaches and cast out demons. Before long the news about him begins to spread throughout the city and by sunset the people are bringing all the sick and demon-possessed to Jesus to be healed. And although he does heal those that were brought to him and demons are cast by now there is this building expectation of Jesus to continue to heal more and perform more exorcisms. The people are amazed but they lack true knowledge of who he is. They have yet to realize that he is the Messiah, the Anointed one of God, the one sent as the Savior of the world. And all their limited eyes can see at this point is a man who has miraculous power to heal and cast demons. An accurate view of God will always lead us to an accurate response in the midst of life’s circumstances. What is your view of God? So what does Jesus do as the pressure starts to build from the people to heal more and more of the sick? What does he do when the people expect him to do the miraculous? How does he respond to the Jack in the box syndrome?