Thursday, February 23, 2012

Want, neediness, and Jesus

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to be in plenty, I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

 Paul, in Philippians 4:11-13.

Both Paul and Jesus had many occasions to want for things. What is the difference between living in want, and possessing a neediness of spirit?

Jesus did not let his want of things disturb his constant communion with the Father or displace the anointing of the Spirit. He never dwelt in spiritual neediness, but contented himself with the Father’s timing, even for something as important as the full revelation of himself.

Jesus, eager to eat his last Passover meal with his friends, reveals his body and blood in the food before them. He speaks of the culmination of prophecy, covenant completion, the coming kingdom of God, and reveals himself, with stunning vulnerability, to his friends. Missing the revelation of Jesus himself entirely, the disciples proceed to argue amongst themselves as to who is greatest. The disciples, in their neediness, miss the opportunity for worship entirely (at the very origin of communion, they miss communion!!) and Jesus, the one who washed their feet, graciously speaks to them about greatness and service.

Now, as while he was on earth, Jesus is in want of fellowship with and worship from his followers. If anyone has reason to want, it is Jesus. He is very God who dwelt among his creation, having spoken the redemption story that he both authored and came to fulfill, and yet, in our neediness, we miss him.

Jesus was strengthened in the Holy Spirit with power, having been rooted and established with love, KNEW the love that surpassed knowledge, and was filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. And so He waited on his Father’s timing- then for the eyes of his followers to be opened as he patiently teaches along the Emmaus road and eats meals (Luke 24), and now as he sits at the right hand of the Father, waiting again to come in glory. Not once, throughout all eternity, has the righteous wanting of Jesus fallen into neediness.

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