Friday, May 17, 2013

Constancy and Jesus

Did you ever wish that Jesus had a 2 year old?  Or that He had a cell phone with internet access so He got texts and "urgent" emails all the live long day?  Or that He dealt with the truly unfair (and annoying) coworker that you deal with?

I have.  

I've wished that Jesus had a 2 year old so that the Bible would tell me exactly what to do.

I want a rule to follow, a list to check, and an answer key.

But, that's not how the Bible works.

Yes, there are certainly rules to follow, but there are equally as certainly areas where we are given principles to follow.  We need the Holy Spirit to direct us when it comes to applying those principles.

When it comes to being a mom, one of the hardest parts for me is the constancy.  

People constantly need things!

This is most clearly evidenced on a recent car trip.  As we were driving, the girls were simultaneously vying for my attention.

these pictures are from a different drive :)
Gracie was yelling, "Knock, knock!  Knock, knock!  Knock, knock!" so that she could tell me a knock, knock joke.  Maggie wanted me to sing the "Ma-na-ma-na, doo dooooo doo doo doo " song from the Muppets with her.  Then as we drove by Perkins, it prompted Leah to start saying the Pledge of Allegiance as loud as she could upon seeing the gigantic flag.

All at the same time.

Let's just say it was overstimulating for me. 

In such moments I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

But, this time I chose to laugh, because the combination of all of those things is hilarious!

In the interest of full disclosure, there have been times like this on other car rides that I would cover my ears.

Yes, constancy is hard.  

Jesus lived a life filled full of constancy!

Matthew 14 alone makes me see just how very constant His human life was.

In verses 1-12, we read about Jesus' cousin, John the Baptist, being killed.  

I would imagine that John the Baptist understood Jesus better than just about anybody.  After all, he prepared the way for Jesus, announcing that Jesus is the Lamb of God.

Jesus is understandably deeply saddened upon hearing this news, and in verse 13, He seeks time by Himself.

Does that sound familiar to you?  I know that time by yourself can be quite the hot commodity at times in our house!

The sad irony is that Jesus, Himself the Prince of Peace, doesn't have a moment of peace.  People just keep following Him.

In verse 14, when Jesus finally gets where He's going, a crowd is waiting for Him.  But, never selfish, Jesus has compassion on them and heals them.

And, of course, as we read in verses 16-21, all of those people need to eat!

The disciples are less than helpful, not to mention that hungry people aren't easy or fun to deal with.

But, not only does Jesus feed them, in verse 22, He gives the disciples a task and then sends them off.  Then, He dismissed the crowd.  Dismissing 5000+ people is no easy task.

We see, in verse 23, that Jesus finally gets time by Himself...and He spends it with His Father in prayer.

After this, Jesus walks on the water, and Peter wants to walk out there, too, but he starts freaking out.  

Jesus, the Rescuer, like He always does, rescues Peter.

Which, of course, (when we read parallel accounts) the disciples don't really understand.  Some worship Him...others aren't sure.  They are a pretty wishy washy bunch of guys.

To be fair, though, I think we'd all be quite confused.

What do we see in the constancy of Jesus' life?

  • Jesus gets sad.
  • He's life is filled with immediacy.
  • People are always around Him.
  • He has to feed them.
  • He has to manage their comings and goings.
  • He watches His friend, Peter, panic, and He picks up the pieces.
  • People always want something from Him.
That's just like me.  

I get sad, people are always around me, I'm always fixing food, managing my girls, helping them calm down, and meeting need after need after need. 

This is why Jesus is our Emmanuel...God with us!  He lived the very same kind of life that we live, except He didn't sin.  He didn't snap.  He always responded perfectly.

And, I think it's really easy to let this twist our thinking.  

We think, "Well, if Jesus could handle it, why can't I?  Maybe I just need to try harder.  If I can get my act together enough, I'll be able to respond just like Jesus did."

We fail to realize that, just like we need Jesus to save us, we need Jesus to empower us to live.

This is the Gospel.  When Jesus saves us, we don't turn to Him with hands full of gifts and good things.  We turn to Him with hands full of garbage.  He takes it away.  He redeems us because of who He is, not because of what we have to offer.

That's how we need to live, too.  Yes, God has given us gifts, and strengths, and lovely temperaments, but we need to rely on Him to use those.

He didn't live as our Emmanuel so that He could see us struggle and then say, "See how I did it?  Just try really hard, and you'll succeed."

No.  He lived so that He'd feel our pain, our frustration, our longing, our weariness...making Him the perfect intercessor for us.

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.
Hebrews 4:14-16

So, today when you are weary (I'm speaking to myself here, too), and your 2 year old irrationally insists on being able to see the butter on her toast, or you get yet another demanding email, or you can't seem get a thing done because of a million interruptions, please don't try harder.

Turn to Jesus, your Emmanuel, your Rescuer and simply ask Him for mercy and grace.

And like He always does, He'll deliver.

Linking up with:  
A Royal Daughter

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