Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Want to be the Shoulder

"Jesus replied, 'Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.'” Luke 9:58 (NIV).

Poor Jesus. On a journey to Jerusalem accommodations were hard to come by; a recurring theme in His life. Incensed with a display of inhospitable behavior, fellow travelers and disciples James and John prepared to pull out the big guns. A little fire from Heaven could teach anyone some good manners and hospitality. Aware of the power of spoken words, Jesus wisely shut them up. His primary concern wasn't a place to stay. Read His words again carefully.

Dens and nests are places to give birth and raise offspring, not to crash for the night. Jesus had nowhere to rest His spiritual headship; there was no Body of Christ to receive it. He handled all the responsibility which was a daunting task. His comment focused on the need of an Operations Center for the Kingdom of God, not the lack of a Motel 6 close by.

Handel's Messiah placed Isaiah 9:6 in the minds and on the lips of millions of listeners.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder...”

The next time Jesus returns, it will be to rule. He'll come with His bride who'll reign with Him. The thought occurred to me. Believer's are the Body of Christ, however, Isaiah mentions only a shoulder will carry His governmental responsibilities. I know this much about anatomy – a shoulder does not a body make. Where are the hands, feet and so forth?

Much emphasis in Christianity is on doing – get everyone involved. If we all do our part, the job will get done and Jesus will return. This reminds me of the Jewish belief that if every Jew perfectly kept the Law for one day, the Messiah would come. Looks like Christians followed their example, put a different spin on it and jumped on the hamster wheel to make it so. No wonder we're all worn out!

"Many will say to me (Jesus) in that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by thy name cast out demons, and by the name do many mighty works?” Matthew 7:22 (ASV).

Wow, these folks must be superstars – they did the stuff! Why wasn't Jesus impressed with their accomplishments?

"Then I (Jesus) will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you, away from me you evildoers,'” Matthew 7:23 (NIV) emphasis mine.

Ouch! That hurts! How can anyone do the right things and reap such a stern rebuke?

Again, look closely at Jesus' words: “I never knew you.” According to Jesus it is possible to do great works and still not know Him. The gifts of God are irrevocable; once given they operate regardless of one's spiritual condition. It's important to remember that the gifts are just that, gifts. They aren't indicators of maturity. We've seen it before. Men and women achieve notoriety because of things they've done but later their lives are revealed to be a sham. As a result, more harm than good occurs.

Jesus desires intimacy, not close encounters or casual acquaintances. Many (present company included) have substituted the study of Scriptures as a means to know about God, which is not the same as knowing Him. God's Kingdom manifested on earth won't be engineered by happenstance. Intimacy with the King will be the key.

How about you? What does a face-to-face, Moses type encounter with God look like to you? If you've spent time learning about God, how can you shift in order to know Him personally? What issues, hurts, mindsets and beliefs block you from pursuing intimacy with God? Are you willing to let them go? I hope so.

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