“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20 NIV).
A strange wonder came over me while singing the decision song after last Sunday’s message. We sang, “Hallelujah! He has found me, the One my soul so long has craved. Jesus satisfies all my longings, through His blood I now am saved.”
I experienced a fresh awareness of how deeply I believed what I was singing. These were not mere words to me. I actually felt myself singing/saying to Jesus, “You made me for Yourself and I am completely satisfied in you. You are the supreme satisfaction to my soul’s longing!”
These past few months I’ve been compelled to preach Jesus as never before. We spent several weeks earlier this year looking at the seven miraculous signs of Jesus in the gospel according to John. Most recently we studied the seven letters that Jesus dictated to the seven churches of Asia Minor. As I’ve studied and preached on the person of Jesus I’ve become especially struck by a new thought, at least it’s new to me.
The contemplation of Christ is the satisfaction to my deepest longing!
What’s new about this you ask? We all see Jesus as the answer. We all call on him to meet our needs. Jesus is the heavenly banker that sends us money. He’s the faithful grocer that delivers fresh bread. He’s the immediate care doc that heals our sickness. Jesus is our need supplier.
But that’s not the Jesus I’m learning to contemplate. It may seem a nuanced difference, but to me this has been a huge revelation. Jesus is more than a supplier. He himself is the satisfaction for all of our need.
That’s what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples through all of those sign miracles. That’s why he would say things like, “I am the bread of life.” Yes, he fed them real bread, but it only satisfied until the next meal. He was teaching them about something better.
That’s what the book of Revelation is really about. It’s the revelation of Jesus. To each of the seven churches he offered a unique revelation of himself. Why? Because that’s what they needed most. They needed to contemplate and receive the revelation of Jesus. It would be that understanding/reception of Jesus that would satisfy them in their unique time and place.
Certainly self knowledge can be profitable. As Socrates said, “Know thyself.” But introspection without contemplating the revealed/revealing Christ inevitably leads to a faulty prayer life. As we consider our own lives and our own needs we tend to pray, “Lord, please meet this desire in my life or else take it away from me.”
This kind of prayer sounds very spiritual, but upon closer inspection we see that it is solely focused on the desire. “Lord give me this desire or take this desire away.”
Contemplating the Christ by whom and for whom I was created leads me to pray, “Lord, reveal to me that knowledge of You that will satisfy me today.”
Whatever longing you feel today can be met in knowing Jesus more fully. That which you need is not out there somewhere. It is in Christ.