Fourth Sunday Of Lent: Partnership and Fellowship with Jesus
At the marriage at Cana, Jesus could have filled the water pots with wine - from nothing. But then there would have been no partnership. It would have been a one-man show. The servants therefore were invited to share in the miracle by doing their part - the easy part - of filling the pots with water. Then Jesus did the difficult part - of turning it into wine (John 2:1-11).
In today's Gospel we see, in the feeding of the five thousand, Jesus could have produced food from nothing. But He did not do that. He invited a little boy to give Him his lunch packet; and in partnership with that little boy He fed the five thousand (John 6:1-13). The little boy did what he could; and Jesus did what He could!
The man born blind too was first asked to do what he could (John 9:1-7). He had to wash in the pool of Siloam. Then Jesus did the difficult part of opening his eyes.
We see the same principle in the raising of Lazarus. His friends did the easy part - removing the stone that covered the grave. Jesus then did the difficult part - of raising Lazarus from the dead. His friends were then once again given the opportunity to do what they could - to unbind Lazarus and release him (John 11:38-44).
After the resurrection, we see the disciples going fishing one night. "And that night they caught nothing" (John 21:3). That is a picture of man striving under the law! Then Jesus came. He could have filled their boats with fish without their casting their nets into the sea. God Who commanded the fish to come near Peter's boat on that lake, could just have easily commanded those very fish to jump into his boat. But then there would have been no partnership. So man had to do his part. They had to cast their nets into the sea. And so in partnership with Jesus the miracle was done. Man does the easy part and Jesus does the difficult part. But they did have to cast their nets. That is the obedience of faith - that Paul speaks of when he says, By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for the sake of his name. Romans 1:5
In all our life, Jesus wants to be a partner with us.
When Peter came to Jesus to collect the temple tax, Jesus told Peter to throw a hook into the sea and catch the first fish that came up. In its mouth, Jesus said, would be a shekel, which would be sufficient to pay the tax for both Jesus as well as Peter. "For you and Me", were the words that Jesus told Peter (Matthew 17:27). Think of that phrase "For you and Me". This is partnership. Jesus is interested even in helping us to pay our taxes. From the mundane things that affect our everyday life here on the earth, on to the things that will abide forever, Jesus calls us to live by the principle of "You and Me".
Jesus said that when we took this yoke of partnership with Him we could find rest in our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). This is the rest that we are exhorted to enter into, by ceasing from our own works (Hebrews 4:10-11).
Adam was created by God in His image - not because God wanted a gardener for Eden, but because He wanted someone with whom He could have fellowship. God did not save us out of the pit of sin in order that we might serve Him, but rather in order that we might have fellowship with Him. It is due to a lack of understanding of this, that multitudes of believers are weary and heavy laden today, just like Martha.
At the age of 95, having walked with God for over 65 years, the apostle John decided to write a letter - inspired by the Holy Ghost. The theme of his letter was 'fellowship' (1 John 1:3). Having seen churches and leaders who had left their first love (Revelation 2:4) and who now had a name that they were alive (with all their varied Christian activities) but who were in fact dead in God's sight (Revelation 3:1), John certainly saw that the great need was to lead Christians into the joy of fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, inside the rent veil.
There may be joy found in several fields of activity. Some find it in sport, some in music, some in their profession, and some even in Christian work. But the purest joy in the universe is to be found only in fellowship with the Father (1 John 1:4).
The psalmist says, "In Thy presence is fullness of joy" (Psalm 16:11 ). This was the "joy set before Him" that made Jesus willing to endure the cross daily (Hebrews 12:2). The fellowship with the Father was Jesus' most prized possession. He did not value anything else in the universe in comparison with that. This fellowship was what Jesus knew would be broken on Calvary, when for three hours He would have to endure the agonies of the cross for lost humanity (Matthew 27:45-46). Then the Father would have to forsake Him and the fellowship that He enjoyed with the Father from all eternity would be broken. He dreaded that break of fellowship so greatly that He sweated great drops of blood in Gethsemane. The cup that He prayed to be removed from Him was just this: A break of fellowship with His Father.
If only we could see this and be gripped by it! How lightly we speak and sing about following Jesus! To follow Jesus means to value fellowship with the Father like He did. Sin would then become exceedingly sinful to us, for it breaks our fellowship with the Father. An unloving attitude towards another human being would not even be tolerated, for it would break our fellowship with the Father. The list could go on and on of those things in our lives that we would stay clear of because it would break our fellowship with the Father.
May the Lord give us revelation so that we see clearly that true Christianity is nothing less than a life of unbroken fellowship with a loving Father in heaven.