Thursday, October 25, 2007

The way. . .The truth. . .The life

Matthew 4:18-20
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. (19) And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (20) And they straightway left their nets, and followed
him.

These men, . . .these simple fishermen, I don't say that to belittle them, but these were solid men, dependable men, with simple needs and tastes. . . when they saw Jesus and heard Jesus speak for a mere moment, they left their old lives behind for new. . . They left everything. Jesus touched something within them and they cast everything they had known for their entire lives, maybe even for generations of their heritage away to follow Him. Peter had a wife. It is one thing to go chasing after a whim walking along the beach, if you are single and unattached. It is a far different thing when you have the responsibility of a family.

They jumped onto the the path that Jesus was on. They followed His footsteps. Jesus showed them the Way and they followed. Did they yet have 'the truth'? No, the Way came first. Jesus did not at first speak of doctrine. What He offered was a magnification of that which they were already familiar. He did not offer to make them into great teachers or healers or shepherds. He did not offer them fame in their own time, a place in history or riches beyond their wildest dreams. They would have or would become all those things along the Way, but at this time they did not yet have that vision. They were not capable of seeing that far. Jesus enticed them with the magnification of something that was close, something that they already knew. He did not mislead them. He put what He was offering in terms that they could understand. They were comfortable and knowledgeable about fishing. There is comfort in the familiar. We can relate to and more easily get excited about that which we know. The Way comes first. The excitement, the passion comes first.

I've never known of anyone who first came to God through correctness of doctrine or truth. It is the longing for something more. It is Jesus speaking to our innermost needs, our pain, loneliness, hunger, shame that He calls to. It is our hunger for purpose in our lives, this is what God fills. This is the Way that Jesus first leads us to. This is the example for us to follow in reaching our world. We need to begin in the very same manner that Jesus began.

Without God we all have an empty spot. As hard as we try, as many things as we try, we cannot fill this empty spot without God. It is not any distant and exotic place that people have to be led to. It is only necessary to illuminate a need that is already there. Jesus knew that Peter and Andrew both loved to fish. Being aware of that, He knew how greatly they would be attracted to casting nets and pulling men out from a sea of sin. They hungered for what he offered. They greatly desired for their lives, a purpose beyond what they had ever known in their little boat. He had put it in terms that they could understand. Like many of us, they had passion for what He offered, for the need that He had filled. They had found the Way, but there was not necessarily much, if any Truth within them at this point.

When I came to life Tabernacle for the first time, I hungered for what I saw. I watched an older man worship God with a passion and joy that I envied, but could not understand. I did not hunger for correct doctrine. I hungered for being filled with that joy that I saw. I had to be shown, to be taught that there was a relationship between lasting joy and the Truth. The joy of what He offers gets us on the path, shows us the Way. The Truth sustains us and gives us the nourishment to complete the journey.

Jesus filled needs in the context of Truth. He showed us that there is a direct linkage between the two. It is the Way, the filling with the joy of worship, the joy of His calling, the intense joy and intimacy of being filled with His Spirit combined with the feeding on the substance of reading and hearing the preaching of the Truth of the Word of God that sustains us for the long journey. It is the joy and lively passion of the blood red wine, plus the solid wholesome nutrition of the snowy white bread taken together, it is the combination of the joy of needs met and the Truth of the sustenance of righteousness and holy living that will carry us to the life never ending in His presence. . .the Way and the Truth give us Life. . . lead us to Life. . . .

Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega. . .
He is the beginning and the end. . .
All the fullness resides in Him. . .

Jesus is the Way. . . the Truth. . . and the Life. . .

I love you my God. . .
I love you my Lord. . .

Dave

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