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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Sovereign, Sinner, and Student

(Taken from a journal article dated 12.29.04) As I think about how to invest my life that it may be well spent, I look to Jesus and observe his associations. One thing is for sure about Jesus - he is intimate. He is real, authentic, raw, and intentional. There is nothing superficial about Jesus, nothing haphazard, nothing wasted, nothing accidental. And I have seen how His intimacy is three dimensional with his associations. First, Jesus has unaltering intimacy with the Father (Sovereign). He and his Father are one, and Jesus emphasizes that he can do nothing apart from the Father. In his priestly prayer in John 17, he speaks of his pre-incarnate unity with the Father and how he willingly gave up such eternal intimacy that we could know and have intimacy with God. Time and time again it is said that Jesus went away to a lonely place early in the morning - and late into the night, Jesus departed to be with the Father, to commune, to hear his voice, to be empowered. Without a doubt, Jesus was Father-centered and spent his life for his pleasure. Second, Jesus was intimate with his students. As a teacher, he did not hide behind podeums or platforms nor get swallowed up by the applause of men, but rather he was well content to be with the twelve he had chosen, men whom he ate, drank, slept, and walked with. He listened to their pleas, handled their objections, and loved them to the end (John 13:1). He not only went into their shoes but went into their hearts and souls to abide forever. He did not call them slaves but friends, and there is no friend who laid down his life like Jesus. He said that he would be with them to the end, that he would never leave them nor forsake them. Truly, Jesus was intimate with his students. Finally, Jesus is intimate with sinners. He is a Physician who loves to have patients who realize that they are sick and want help. He is a host who loves to prepare a banqueting table for those who are hungry and thirsting. He is a great light for those groping in darkness. Jesus dined in the houses of sinners and tax collectors and what some would call "the scum of the earth". He shared conversations with them, embraced them in His enveloping compassion, and welcomed all who would come to him for forgiveness of sins. A leper felt the transforming touch of Jesus, a prostitute heard the redemptive words of life, a tax collector was accepted when the world rejected him, and a thief received the promise of paradise with Jesus. And the sinner hears the scream of intimacy in the cross. The invitation is for all sinners to come. He says, "Give me your filthy garments, and I will give you my perfect robe of righteousness. Come, for it is I who came from heaven to you." Truly Jesus is the most intimate friend of sinners, closer than any brother, and if I am to live life well, then I must be intimate with the Sovereign (Father), with students (those whom I disciple), and sinners (the lost world around me) every day of my life. These three folks Jesus knew well, knew deeply, knew truly. I must know them as well if I must live well. God help me. Lord, I come to you as a student and a sinner. I come because Your throne of grace irrisistibly draws me to come. In spite of me, you want intimacy. Sovereign Lord, out of my emptiness may I experience your fullness; in my dependence, let me know your power; in your constraining love, let me live a relentless passion to practice random acts of compassionate dumbness. May I not waste this day with trivial investments with no eternal beneficence! Have me that others may have you I pray, for the sake of Jesus and His glorious name - Amen.

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