|Photo by Michael Belk, "Journeys With The Messiah"|
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Running Into His Arms
In our Bible study today we were asked the following question:
What is your first reaction to this question? One of the members of our group said that she would be in such awe that she would fall down at His feet, probably weeping and praising Him. Another said that she would approach Him timidly, feeling unworthy. My first reaction was that I would run into His arms,
"If you saw Jesus standing nearby, how would you approach him?"
I guess I feel a lot like Simon Peter, who, after the Lord's death, felt lost and alone...and probably quite perplexed with how things had happened. The disciples never expected that the Lord would die...even though He had given them plenty of hints and notice...they just didn't quite get it. So, they went back to the thing they knew best...fishing.
In John chapter 21 we find the disciples out in a boat, where they had been fishing all night long and had caught nothing. In the morning, (see verse 4) "Jesus stood on the shore, yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus." And then in verse 5, Jesus calls to them, "Children, have you any food?", and they answered, "No." So He tells them (vs. 6) to "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." And so they did, and the Bible tells us that "now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish."
First, the disciple John recognized that it was Jesus, and said, "It is the Lord!" (vs. 7) When Simon Peter heard that it was Jesus, he put on his outer garment and plunged into the sea....and in his excitement and joy, hurried onto the shore to meet the Lord.
Was it because Peter felt worthy of Christ that he ran onto the shore? Did he feel entitled to being first in line to greet the Lord? Probably not...remember, Peter was the one who had denied Christ three times the night before He was crucified. And Jesus doesn't exactly let Peter get away with that when He does sit down with him on the shore to have breakfast. Jesus asks Peter three times in verses 15-17 just how much he really loves Him...and tells Peter to not only tend to, but to feed His sheep.
This gives me pause. My gut reaction to the question about how I would approach Jesus was to run and leap into His arms. Now I wonder...How would He respond to my exuberance? Would He welcome me with open arms, like the pictures above...or would He have some questions and instructions for me as well?
Honestly, I know that I am not worthy to approach Christ with anything but awe and extreme reverence and deep humility. I am not worthy of His love, mercy and grace. But guess what? None of us are worthy in our own strength. We are only able to approach Christ because He has made us worthy. He paid the price for our sins, and washed us white as snow with His own shed blood on the cross.
Romans 8:14-17 tells me that as I am "led by the Spirit of God", I am a son (daughter) of God. I am an heir of God and joint heir with Christ...and therefore I am worthy to be called His child...and to call Him, "Abba, Father". "Abba", in the Greek means Father, a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. Therefore, I have confidence that I can approach Jesus, the Son of God, with unreserved joy and excitement, knowing that He will indeed welcome me as His beloved child. And, as any good parent might do, He may ask me a few questions about whether or not I've been a good girl...and perhaps He may even give me some instructions for how I could improve or possibly give me some new assignments. And that's okay with me.
Romans 8:18 says "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."
So, whatever instructions Christ may have for me will only help me to continue to grow in grace and be prepared for the glory that is yet to come in heaven.
Now this question is to you, dear friend...how would you approach Jesus? Do you feel unworthy to even speak His name, afraid that He might not know you? Or do you have confidence that you can run into His arms as a child running to her father, and know that you will be welcomed and loved...and cherished? If you aren't sure about that...I invite you to make sure now...just ask Him to show you the way, and He will definitely welcome you with open arms.
These flowers have nothing to do with the story...but the rose was blooming in my garden this morning, and I wanted to share it with you. The violets continue to bloom on my kitchen windowsill, and again, I wanted to share them with you. Sometimes we just have to stop and smell the roses/flowers. Life is too short to be so busy and hung up on whether or not we meet all the proper standards. However...one standard needs to be met...ask Christ to come into your life and heart....and then just breathe....and smell the roses. You are beloved.