You know there’s a problem when you get into the habit of apologising for being broken. For being sinful. For not having it all together. For not being a moral princess all the time. You know there’s a problem when others expect this of you, and when you expect this of yourself. You know there’s a problem when you believe the lie that it is your own moral goodness and togetherness that makes you worthy, lovely, and whole.
Time to wake up from this slumber, this numbness of soul. There is no moral superiority or moral inadequacy welcome here. Only Jesus. Standing in place of my morality. His perfect obedience to the law in place of my efforts. His suffering in my place to secure my salvation.
Why do I keep apologising for falling short? for failing? for not pleasing people? for not being perfect? Why don’t I replace my apologising with appreciation? turn my “sorry” into praise? into a song of thanksgiving to the one who knows my mistakes, but loves me and still chose to offer me his great mercy anyway?
I love the gospel of John because of how it displays this relationship that Jesus had with his Father.
I love how John captures the dynamics there, the authority, the attribution of power, the conversing through prayer, the displays of glory, the demonstrations of love, the reminders of his will and purpose.
I love how Jesus didn’t assume a position of leadership here on earth as we think of leadership. He was “Rabbi” to many, a teacher, a parable-storyteller, a miracle-worker, a friend. But his leadership-style wasn’t to assume a position of authority and issue a set of expectations that those under him must perform in order to earn his approval and favour. His leadership had a different taste, one of servantheartedness, of compassion, of pointing to God’s authority, of acknowledging our inability to meet the requirements of the law, of offering an alternative to meeting this requirement, of sacrificing himself in love to set his followers free, of undeserved favour, of trusting in God’s will not trusting in self.
Jesus points people to his Father, constantly encouraging his listeners and disciples to hear his Fathers words, that is testimony is true because his Father sent him. Jesus comes under his Father’s authority, that is what is different here. He doesn’t count himself the highest authority there is. He acknowledges that he is “under”. He knows his place. But not in a self-degrading manner or in false humility.
He knows he has a place in his Father’s house, and that his Father has given him work to do, because his house has many rooms! He knows he has been given power and authority from his Father, entrusted with his Father’s sheep. As the Good Shepherd he desires to guide and lead others to his Father, the ultimate Shepherd of our souls.
Jesus knows he has been entrusted with something beyond himself, that this work is something he cannot do alone. He knows he must ask the Father. And he speaks to his disciples, to us as his sheep, and invites us to ask the Father for help also, inviting us into the very same relationship he has with his Father. He gives us work to do too, by his Spirit.
He asks us to ask.
He shows us how this relationship dynamic plays out. One where we are accepted and able to come before our Heavenly Father to ask him for guidance, to ask him to lead us, to cry out to him when we don’t know where we are or where we are going. When we realise our own power and authority and strength aren’t enough, we realise we can’t lead our own lives, let alone lead others!!! We need his leadership, his authority, his relationship in order to remain who we are, to remain in him, to remain rooted and found in LOVE. To be leaders of a different kind, by Jesus example, leading the way to the truth and eternal life found in God’s steadfast love and kingdom.
We are called to lead lives of love.
To be so moved with compassion that we weep as Jesus wept. To be so compelled by others concerns like Jesus was for Martha and Mary that we extend our stay, our welcome, our comfort to others; to support them, to speak words of life to them, to point them to the only way, truth and life that is found in Jesus. When we live by faith, we look to Jesus to lead, coming under his authority. He is the resurrection and the life — and when we believe in him, death does not have the final say and fear has no place. Perfect love casts out fear. Here God has ushered a new command: love.
He has freed us so we are free to love.
Jesus came in his Father’s name to break the chains that bound us to obedience to the law. We are delivered by God’s grace into a new covenant, where he is making all things new, restoring our relationship with himself, so that our obedience is by faith into the blessing of a life with him, an inheritance with him, a future with him in his house, his kingdom. Dwelling and remaining forever in his love and his care as our Great Shepherd, our protector and provider.
He takes us from a land of slavery, deprivation, self-leadership and obligation to standards we cannot meet. He makes a way for us in Jesus to enter into the providential land, the land of his dwelling place, the pastures of his presence. Where the abundance of his blessing flows. Where his favour is declared, the harvest of his goodness and love abounding. Where he leads and guides us in his way everlasting. Where there are no more chains. Where there is no shame. Where we sing his praise and stand in faith. Where Jesus welcomes us as friend, advocating on our behalf before the Father. Where he stands in our place. Where his righteousness grants us access. Where we come to the wedding banquet pure and whole and ready. Where we are cleansed by his blood, clothed in his love. Where we remain in his love forevermore.
How ready am I to receive this?
To live by this? To walk in this?
To believe THIS.
The truth that I am forgiven first, that I am called to a new way.
A way of living not in sin, but in Christ;
not in condemnation, but in grace;
not in judgement, but in love;
not apologising for my brokenness,
but appreciating the sufficiency of his blood.
How ready am I to receive this?
To believe THIS.
How ready are you to receive this?