10 January 2005

“What do you want…” (Matt. 20:21; Matt. 20:32; Mark 10:36; Mark 10:51 and Luke 18:41)

“What do you want me to do for you?” There is no shortage of occasions in the gospel text where Jesus confronted a particular follower with this question. It is an important question. It may be the most important question you ever answer. What do you want Jesus to do for you?

Now answer seriously. Answer carefully. Answer honestly. The answer may be most insightful in the sojourn of your new heart. Do you want healing? Redeemed relationships? Happy, well adjusted kids? A secure job? A spouse? A better spouse? A holier life? Ask for whatever you wish and it will be given to you… and, yet, you will remain unfulfilled if it is anything other than Jesus Christ.

The text doesn’t give us liberty to say definitively but I seriously wonder whether or not each time Jesus asked this question in the gospels He was grieved. The advantage the Son of God had over all of us was the ultimate 30,000-foot view of life. This is what He saw: there was nothing more glorious, more satisfying, more beautiful, more exciting – there was nothing more than Himself. Christ was infinitely compassionate to heal the ridiculously finite problems of each requestor, but I suspect, knowing what they really needed, His emotion was bittersweet.

You see each of us runs the risk of making God a supernatural waiter who would bring us the feast we really desire. What do we desire for Him do for us? Let us look this infinite, beautiful Creator in the face and answer with the depths of our hungry soul; “I want you, the Bread of Life! – please stay here and allow me to feast!” I can only imagine the joyful radiance in the face of Christ if even one of those requestors had responded to Him this way. God help me look straight past the healing into the mysterious eyes of the Healer and fall in love.

I fear for the church in America. Growing ministries, spiritually healthy kids, increasing holiness and any number of noble pursuits have been our answer to Jesus’ question. But these things are lousy lords. They will ruin us when they reside in the supreme place in our hearts. Only when Christ is supreme, when our eyes are fixed on His beauty, is our life ordered properly. Our motivations will be ultimately idolatrous and proud, and therefore, ruinous until Christ is all in all.

Our enjoyment of Christ’s supremacy is the only claimable promise of the New Covenant. Enjoying Christ is our only true source of freedom and life! This is the better hope by which we draw near to God (Hebrews 7:18-19). Troubles will come and go, but He will “never leave us or forsake us.” Jesus Christ is the one true, secure gift emanating from the Father.

May God grant us the grace to be the few who find this most glorious way.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
- Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:13-14


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