How would you describe the twelve disciples? Those supposed on again, off again followers of Christ? Well, they were a rather rag tag bunch of men who seemed hungry for God, but were continually entangled in their own fears, doubt, duplicity, vanity, spiritual dullness, and peer competition. In a word, they were us. Perhaps you can identify with me when I feel like the freshman punter who is called on to the field to save the football game in the last 10 seconds. More than life he wants to succeed, and please his beloved coach. As the ball is kicked you can observe the anticipation on the coachs face. Then there are a couple of eternal seconds of not knowing. As the ball misses the goal posts the coachs agonizing disappointment is in evidence as his body goes limp with the defeat. How apt is Pauls description of me: What I don’t understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. (Rom. 7:15 Msg)
Heres the bomb shell: While you and I are stuck in our muck, wallowing around in our struggle between victory and defeat; between the ideal and our reality; between love for God and self-disgust, Jesus eagerly desires our fellowship; our intimacy. Hours before the cross, Christ makes detailed preparations for his motley crew of 12 to join him in his last meal. Get this: After washing their feet, (Jn. 14:1-17) he tells them, I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer (Lk. 22:15) At this supper, the Master shares the fact that one of them is plotting to betray him. The twelve jump all over it. Who is this low life among us? And then they began arguing about who once Jesus is out of the picture is the greatest among them. That is, his replacement. Were observing a power struggle here. (Luke 22:21-24) And he eagerly wants to fellowship with them? The answer is yes, all the while knowing that in hours they will all run away like cowards and deny him. Such grace is incomprehensible.
My friend, I dont know about your struggles with sin. I surely know mine: Attitudes that are downright ugly. Lusts that would prove embarrassing if put on a public screen. Shall I go on about my indomitable pride? My fears? My hair trigger capability of explosive anger? A writer years ago spoke of our secret, inner habitation of dragons. I have them and I suspect you do too. Jesus knows all about them and still eagerly desires our intimate fellowship.
I am reminded of Don Quixotes love for an immoral woman, Dulcinea del Tobosco who finds it unfathomable that he would take her as his lady. While she sees herself as she really is, he sees her as his beautiful lady. Similarly, Jesus loves us and sees us as his bride. Pure and holy. Christ like. Paul hit it on the head in stating, Where sin increased, grace increased all the more. (Rom. 5:20) Personally, I am compelled to keep returning to that kind of love. To Jesus who is the embodiment of irresistible grace. As the disciples put it, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. (Jn. 6:68)
QUESTION: Today, are you responding to the Masters irresistible grace? Are you allowing him to wash your feet and dine with you in spite of the fact that he knows you from the center to the outer edge? He knows that one day you and I again will, in all probability, miss the 35 yard field goal. And you know what? It wont change his love for us one iota. And that my friend is the personification of irresistible grace.
You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you–nothing left that he could even chide you for; the only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him to save you. (Col. 1:21-23 Living; selected)