Wednesday, March 07, 2012
I wrote in my last blog about how I spent a few months seeking after God and finding only empty silence. Now I realize that this only fueled my hunger for more of Jesus. It confounded me and made me think even more about how much I needed Jesus to come to me.
Not only that, but this was actually in direct response to my prayer months earlier that Jesus was increase my hunger for more of Him. I asked Him to make me more hungry for hunger, and to make me thirsty for more thirst. This, I see now, is exactly what He did.
During this time I also felt called to go and re-read the words of Jesus to His Churches in the book of John’s Revelation. Here I noticed something that applies both to me and to the Church as a whole.
Speaking to the church in Laodicea, Jesus says that they are lukewarm and because of this He is about to spit them out of His mouth. Most of us remember this passage because of the implications it has for any of us who begin to grow cold in our relationship with Jesus. Bringing it closer to home, it is a warning for all of us to take care of our love for Jesus. Our relationship is more important than anything else in our lives. Without Jesus we have no hope, no life, no power, no purpose, no vision. We have nothing without Jesus.
But look at what else Jesus says to this church:
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.” (v. 17-18)
As a people, as churches, we can become very independent. We can reach a level of self-reliance that separates us from Jesus. We don’t need Jesus to teach the Bible. We don’t need Jesus to worship. We don’t need Jesus to plan our Christmas pageant. Of course, it would be nice to have him along, but if He didn’t show up we could still pull everything off. But, obviously, church – or life – without Jesus isn’t life at all. It’s an illusion. It’s empty. It’s dead.
What we need to do is to realize that we are actually desperately hopeless without Jesus. We need to have eyes to see how poor we really are. This means our power, our experience, our resources, our ability, our reputation, is worthless. It is not our strength, instead it is actually what we need to be rid of so that Jesus can clothe us in His own power and life and Spirit.
Notice the last part of this passage where Jesus says:
“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (v. 19-20)
Jesus affirms His love for us, even in our arrogance and pride, His love for us is the same. His love calls us to repentance. He stands outside His own church and asks kindly, humbly, to be allowed back inside. He even knocks. (Who knocks before they enter a church?) Jesus asks to be asked to re-enter His own home. If we do ask Him to come inside and if we make Him again the King we adore He will restore us to fellowship and commune with us as He did before. Like nothing ever happened. Then He says:
"To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” – (v. 21- 22)
He’s already looking forward to that day when His church in Laodicea wakes up and invites Him to be their Lord again. He’s even willing to scoot over on His throne and make room for us to sit with Him on the throne that the Father gave to Him after enduring the cross of shame. He’s making room for us – His children – to sit next to Him for eternity.
What amazing love! What astounding grace! Our Lord Jesus, even in His rebuke is gracious, and forgiving, and optimistic about our response.
Don’t let Him down. Turn, seek Him, listen for His still small voice, and invite Him into His home again. It’s where He longs to be. It’s where you long for Him to return again.
Wait a minute. Did you hear a knock at the door?