Although he also traveled by water, walking was the primary mode of transportation for Jesus of Nazareth. As a child, we know Jesus journeyed with his parents to Egypt. Outside of that, most of his life took place in a small territory in Palestine. His public ministry spanned a region no further than 100 miles.
I love these four words from John 9:1: "As he passed by . . ." A great many events in the gospels happened, “as he passed by,” along the way. On the road. In the marketplace. Out in the countryside. By the city gate. On the shoreline, by the water. In a home, at the dinner table. Very little of Jesus' ministry took place "at church," in the temple. Jesus’ ministry happened while he walked, “as he passed by.”
Speed is an ultimate asset in our culture. We have a lust for expediency. Orders from Amazon come faster. We eat fast food. Microchips in computers and phones get exponentially faster. (See Moore's Law.) We want to make money faster, retire faster, finish a degree faster, get projects done faster. Life is done in a rush. We get to the end of a day and it’s a blur. We think, “I did a lot today, but what did I do?”
John 9:1 says, “As he passed by, Jesus saw a man blind from birth.” What if he was driving, running, or in a hurry? Instead, Jesus moved with a pace at which he could "see." He saw the man. He saw his need and he had compassion.
A Japanese theologian named Kosuke Koyama wrote a book called Three Mile an Hour God. In it he wrote:
“Love has its speed. It is a different kind of speed from the technological speed to which we are accustomed. It goes on in the depth of life at 3 miles per hour. It is the speed we walk and therefore the speed the love of God walks.”
Jesus walks at the speed of love. He’s our 3 mile-an-hour Savior. And he sees you. He sees your secrets and baggage, your pain and fear. He sees death and dung, and still chooses to walk among us. To forgive, to heal, to help.
Would you adjust your pace? Would you slow down so that you can "see"? See God’s work in the world. See how you might join in on what He's doing. See the people around you. Know their needs. How can we be unhurried, undistracted, and attentive to the world around us?
Go for a walk.
Sit on your front step in the evening.
Redefine how you use electronic devices.
Remove a few unnecessary items from your crowded calendar.
Set aside a few quiet moments every day to read God’s word. To commune with him in prayer.
“As he passed by . . ." Jesus sees you. He’s your 3 mile-an-hour Savior.