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Monday, June 4, 2012

Jesus: The End or Just the Means?

As soon as David killed Goliath, Saul resolved to keep him nearby from that point forward and to use him for his own agenda (1 Sam 18:2 & 5).  He did this until he perceived David as a threat to his agenda, at which point he no longer wanted David nearby.  In fact, at that point he just wanted him to no longer exist and he set his mind to making that a reality (1 Sam 18:6ff).

But upon David's victory over the big Philistine, "the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul" (1 Sam 18:1), and he "stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David" (1 Sam 18:4).  So much for "like father, like son".  Jonathan recognized David as God's King and, in his own words, only wanted to "be next to (him)" (1 Sam 23:17).  To Jonathan, God's anointed one was not the means to another end; he was the end.

We are often more Saul-like than Jonathan-like. For many of us, doubtless all of us at times, Jesus, "the Son of David", the Lord's anointed King is someone we want to keep close when we believe he can advance our agenda. We want proximity not intimacy, and this only so that we might have something else that we want.  Worse than this, when God won't advance our agenda or when we feel he threatens our agenda, we may prefer that he just didn't exist.  And although we can't make that a reality, we may try to live as if it is.

Jonathan wanted more than proximity.  He didn't just want to be king himself in the presence of God's anointed.  Jonathan wanted to experience the covenant love of God's king, to be his friend, to be "next to" him.  He didn't want proximity, he wanted intimacy.  He didn't want God to advance Jonathan's plan; he wanted to advance God's plan.  Jonathan wanted God's king and God's plan to succeed.  There was no "so that..." behind his desire to be close to David.  He simply loved him as his own soul.

What do you want with Jesus?  And why?  A.W. Tozer wrote in his book The Pursuit of God:
"Acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of Christ to His people.  He waits to be wanted.  Too bad that with many of us He waits so long, so very long in vain."
God give us a soul that is knit to his own, a love for him that makes us desire intimacy with him without any "so that..." behind it.  God give us a heart like Jonathan's who wanted to "be next to" the king for its own sake.