The Gospels are full to the brim of stories of the incredible healing power of Jesus’s love, many of which end in the exact same way.
In Matthew 9, Jesus restores the sight of two blind men because of their faith in Him. Their response? Despite Jesus’s desire to avoid celebrity status, “They went out and spread his fame all over the region.”
In Mark 5, Jesus is met by a man who is possessed by many demons. He has become so violent that he repeatedly snaps through chains and shackles. There happened to be a herd of pigs feeding in the distance. The demons beg Jesus, “Send us into those pigs. Let us enter them.” So Jesus gives them permission. At his command, the demons come out of the man and enter the pigs. The whole herd plunges down a hillside into a lake and drowns. The first response to this event? The herdsmen flee to the nearby town to tell everyone what happened. When the man who was demon possessed begs to go with Jesus, Jesus tells him, “No, go home to your family and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful he has been.” The man follows Jesus’s commands and begins to proclaim the great things that Jesus did for him, and all who hear are amazed.
In Luke 4, Jesus casts a demon out of a man. The response? “The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region.”
In John 5, Jesus heals a man who has been unable to walk for thirty-eight years. His response? “The man went and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had healed him.”
Perhaps most powerfully of all, in John 4, we hear the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. Because of the extreme heat, women typically drew water in the early morning or evening. The woman in this chapter lived in such shame and isolation that she went out in the noonday sun to draw water in order to avoid the community. Although Jews normally avoided Samaria altogether by taking a different route to Galilee, Jesus purposely took the less preferred route to go through Samaria. Upon encountering the woman, Jesus asks her for a drink, which shocks her. “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water,” says Jesus. As the chapter goes on, Jesus lovingly exposes the woman’s shame and makes it clear to her that He is the Messiah. The woman’s response? She “left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village telling everyone.” The Samaritan woman was so transformed by Jesus’s love that she immediately dropped what she was doing and went to tell everyone about Jesus.
Although we don’t know exactly to what extent anymore, we know that Jahar is still suffering from physical injuries sustained that night in the boat, including a loss of hearing in one ear. We can only imagine the emotional suffering he is enduring as a result of being in solitary confinement for over a year. And unless something has drastically changed that we are yet unaware of, we know he is spiritually lost and in desperate need of Jesus.
In the story of the Samaritan woman at the well, we see that Jesus purposely goes out of His way to pursue sinners and outcasts. Why would Jesus pursue someone like Jahar who is so full of evil, hatred, and violence? In addition to the obvious answer of love – perhaps so Jahar can be like the people in each of these stories. I truly believe that one day, Jahar will experience the miraculous healing power and grace of Jesus Christ – the enormity of which will inevitably elicit a response that mirrors the response of each individual in the stories above: Immediately going and telling. Telling his family…….and if God so allows, telling other prisoners or other Muslims. When Jesus saves any one of us, our innate desire should be to share that love with everyone we meet…….but how much more could that be true of someone who is rescued from such a grave and seemingly hopeless situation. It is my fervent hope that one day, I will get to hear Jahar’s passionate testimony……either on Earth or in Heaven…..and that I will get to witness the multitude of lives that were reached for Jesus because He relentlessly pursued one of His beloved children.