geezeronthequad: The Lures of Jesus – You Really See Me Like That?
When I first went on Facebook, I didn’t have any friends for six months. Then one day the message popped up. “Wandena Swartz wants to be friends on Facebook.” After six months of careful thought, prayer and fasting, my wife decided to “friend” me. Understandable since Facebook friending can be risky business and (unlike much on Facebook) she really knows me. All this to point out how unnecessary to the world’s concerns a guy with no Facebook friends can be. Nobody important to the survival of the West, the war on terrorism, pandemic outbreaks, poverty, sex slavery, balancing the federal budget or anything else ever calls me. Not Zogby, the Washington Post or NY Times, Brian Williams from NBC Nightly News or editors of Slate. I’m not trying to milk anybody’s sympathy. Actually I’m pointing out what good company I do keep.
Think of anybody mentioned in the Bible who was on God’s team in some way in either testament. If God in the Old Testament or Jesus in the New hadn’t touched their life, made Himself known and captured them for His purposes, who would they have been? Utter nobodies swallowed up in the yawning anonymity of masses of people and centuries of time – not even a dust speck. But taking their place in God’s economy and plan, nobodies become timeless and their stories live through all time into eternity. Want a piece of this? Jesus Christ wants it for us.
Jesus entices people with the unimaginable. Note that I didn’t say the impossible. I can envision myself becoming a pro wrestler or a goalie for the Montreal Canadians but at sixty-four, those are insane as well as impossible. Unimaginable goes beyond impossible but can include it. Peter was a hard-working guy carrying some good things. Boldness which could morph into courage on occasion. Loyal – when he gave himself to anything or anyone, Peter was in all the way. He was also a sack of broken cookies – a hothead with a temper always boiling under the surface. Impulsive – launching into action without much forethought. He could fold like a house of cards under pressure. This was a man who had probably already logged some big mistakes before he met Jesus. Some days it couldn’t have been much fun to be in the boat with him.
Then came Jesus Christ Who one day said, “Now I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” (Matt. 16:18) Jesus basically said, “I will breathe all my life (It’s truth, love, beauty, holiness and power) into your brittle clay and every good thing that sputters inside you now will become strong and every sin and failure wiped to a cleanness that will remain.” We don’t get offers like that every day. Not only did Jesus make an offer that high-priced motivational speakers say we can currently scrape up from inside our gall bladder or somewhere. He said, “I have plans for this new wholeness and heartiness. I will do something with it…I will build my church.” Jesus also did this with Peter and the other fishermen in Matthew 4:19,20. They would start fishing for men. They dropped everything and followed Him even though they knew nothing about where this was going. Peter might have been entitled to a few questions. What did You say? How are You going to do that? Plans for me? Anything You’d like to share? What’s a church? Instead of asking, he followed. And things got interesting.
Jesus came at Nathaniel another way. Philip (another disciple) talked up Jesus to his friend Nathaniel (John 1:43-51). Nathaniel knew that Jesus came from a loser town that produced nothing but no-goods. But he came to check it out. Seeing him coming, Jesus said, “Here’s a guy with no time for dumb fluff. His ‘baloney’ detector is always set on ‘high’.” This, by the way, was a complement. How badly we need some “baloney” detectors (read spiritual discernment) today. “How do you know me?” “I saw you standing under the fig tree before Philip called you.” Nathaniel immediately said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.” Jesus knows how to punch through the lines of a skeptic. We don’t know what was happening under that fig tree but Nathaniel knew that if Jesus saw that, He could see anything. And Nathaniel was promised he’d see more than he could imagine.
In heaven, I want to meet up with someone I remember (not sure) as Molly. In college, all of us in the Jesus Movement talked about Jesus to everyone we met including those we chased down and tackled. We went to country churches in groups on Sundays all over western Pennsylvania. This was rarely pretty. We weren’t sharp, mature or sophisticated. We just had fallen in love with Jesus Christ and blabbed and blathered about Him everywhere. One Sunday night, I (among four or so) talked about what Jesus was doing in my life. Afterwards a girl of early high school age came up and asked me to pray for her. She (Molly) said she wasn’t sure her sins were forgiven and carried a lot of guilty feelings. We talked about taking Christ’s death on the cross as more sure than our feelings. I prayed. She said “Thank you” and walked away. The pastor’s wife came over and said that Molly came forward every Sunday for prayer about this. I said I would continue to pray and we soon left. A few weeks later the pastor’s wife got back in touch with a couple of things. First, after praying with “that one guy”, Molly never came forward for prayer at another service. Instead, she radiated a soul-deep peace you could see on her face. Second, it seems that a time bomb ticked inside Molly; she suffered from health issues I didn’t know about and had died just before the pastor’s wife called.
Jesus Christ, the Lord of the cosmos and counter of sparrows, loved a sickness riddled young girl who dragged her prickly ball of emotion to the front of a country church every Sunday. One Sunday night, He simply said, “Enough.” His loves waxes so hot at time like this, He isn’t too picky about who He scrapes up to be the instrument. A strong hand with velvet touch slipped inside the shallow prayer of an immature spiritual punk and the surgery was done. Jesus implanted His peace to carry a sickly girl in His love through her last few days. Drawing off alone, I said something like, “I know this was You…but can I do more of this?” I wasn’t under the fig tree but He had me.
What fig tree might we be standing under that Jesus sees?
Next time at geezeronthequad. com; Jesus enticing us through richer satisfactions.
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