Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creating an Appetite

Jesus knows something about the power of curiosity. In some ways, the miracles he performed drew people in to consider the kind of life that might be possible if what he was saying was really true. What if there really was a kingdom in which the blind were able to see and the lame able to walk? What if there really was a place where sins could be forgiven – really, honest to God, forgiven! – and in which relationships were genuinely restored? What if sooner, rather than later, the poor had equal access to the table with the rich? What if there was hope for the people at the bottom of the pile? What if . . .

Jesus proclaimed the real presence of the Kingdom of what if. He declared that entrance was available now. Now! He lived there himself and invited anyone who would to gain immediate access to that wondrous reality through him. The righteous rule of God, for which humankind had longed for ages but access to which was not anticipated until the end of the age, was currently accepting applications for admittance with all the rights and privileges accorded thereto.

By the time they had walked with him for a few months, his disciples were convinced of the reality of the invitation. They did not get all of the implications, but they somehow recognized that Jesus really could pull it off. He really could enable them to see and know God. In fact, some of them were close enough to have actually heard God’s voice! Think of it!  So successful was Jesus at developing their appetite for the full reality of the Kingdom that, even when it appeared that the whole enterprise might collapse around their ears, they could not bring themselves to walk away from the table.

They had been spoiled by wonder and were unable to find satisfaction in anything else. So much so, that their lives began to take on the shape of his. Long after he was no long physically present, the lives of those who had tasted of the Kingdom vibrated with his life to such an extent that strangers coined the term “Christian” – Christ follower – to ridicule their chosen way of living. Unashamed, they soon wore the name as a badge of honor – attracting others curious to make sense of the way they lived – even in the face of threatened death.

Oh for grace and strength and  courage to live in such a way that my very life creates an appetite for the Kingdom of God. Please, let it be so, Lord Jesus.

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