DayBreaks for 3/30/17: Who Do You Really Want?
John 18:3-4 So Judas came to the grove, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons. Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
Of course, Jesus knew the answer to the question he asked, but as he always seemed to do, the question was not to gain knowledge for himself, but to cause those who had come to arrest him to consider their actions and what they were doing. They had the right answer: “Jesus of Nazareth.” They wanted Jesus, all right, but not for the right reasons. They didn’t want him as Lord or even as a rabbi. They wanted him as a captive – a prisoner.
The question is very valid nearly 2000 years later, and it is still Jesus who asks it: “Who is it you want?”
Let’s not be too quick to chime in, as did the soldiers: “Jesus of Nazareth.” That’s the obvious Christian answer, the expected response that upholds our status as believers. But do we want Jesus as a captive who we would put in a box and call him forth to perform for us on demand? Do we want a Jesus of Nazareth that is a construction of our own mind and wishes, or are we willing to accept the Jesus of Nazareth that calls us to carry our cross daily, to die to ourselves, to be poured out for others even as He was poured out?
I fear that far too many of us, indeed all of us, have distorted visions of Jesus. American culture has made him a warm, fuzzy creature, a best buddy. And there is some truth to that, but American culture doesn’t want much, if anything, to do with the other part of Jesus: a Lord that confronts us with demands.
Who is it that you want? Why do you want him? He refuses to be a magic genie or talisman that we can pull out when we want him. We must surrender to him. Are we really willing to do that?
PRAYER: Jesus, we often don’t really mean it completely when we say that we want you. We want you as our Savior, but not necessarily as our Lord. Help us to learn that your greatest blessings are reserved for those who obey you and submit themselves to you. Give us submissive hearts that want you just because of who you are in all your fullness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.