Written December 29, 2016
I am not one of those “reason for the season” folks. We have known for quite some time Jesus COULD NOT have been born in December. Shepherds don’t keep watch at night that time of year. Yet, when I drove past a building people call a church, my heart was warmed to read the word fastened into the ground like a placard: Jesus. I formed the word into my mind, planning to write on the word.
It is not just a word to me. He and I, we are bound together, like the way I tied the humming bird feeder to the tree outside the parlour window. Double knot, and triple. We shall not be undone. What does Jesus mean to you? I want to tell you what he means to me.
The expression I just now used, the warmed heart, is more fully formed by John Wesley in his journal. “My heart was strangely warmed” is so aptly right when it comes to how I view Jesus. Even as I search for him now, I sense his warmth in me! Other ways of stating this, is the welling up I feel when I sense him. He fills me up as if with water, jar of clay being poured into, to the very top, sometimes overflowing! Then there is another, love, joy, acceptance, peaceful calm.
I can name where I get these ideas from, a confirmation. They come from him, his word jumping around in me. The warmth is from a witness who saw Jesus walking: John the baptizer, “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11 NASB). Two others it was who felt the same way. “They said to one another, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?'” (Luke 24:32 NASB). The water gushing out comes from Jesus himself, as does the joy and those bunches of other ecstasies. To the woman, and to us Jesus promises: “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14 NASB). The bundles: “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:11 NASB). And: “Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love” (John 15:9 NASB). Also peace and well being: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27 NASB).
These are not just factual statements, unfeeling, beyond experience. They are meant to be felt deeply, as surely as falling on ice will leave a welt on your knee; just extremely opposite to that sort of pain. And so is this word from our topic today: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4 NASB). This I am certain, is the most beautiful and greatest word. It is something that God gifts, and some other thing he involves us in, expecting us to discover how to be found in him, and find all along that he is in us!
I know I have quoted loads from him this time around. All right. My point is that we need to keep the main thing the main topic, and the main is not just what Jesus DID — you know, through his death and resurrection. We truly live and love by what he SAID. You know — “teaching them to obey everything I said” kind of thing (thanks here to Steve Hackman, “A Single Sentence,” for this observation).
Jesus is looking for people, his most wanted, to do just one thing, one that puts in one sentence what he is after. Two words only. ” Follow me.” It means be his disciple. Become like him who was and is the image of the invisible God. I will follow, and I will listen. This is what Jesus means to me. We are kind of attached, he and I.