The home of Simon the former leper in Bethany was the center of attention.
It was a three-fold attraction:
- A man who used to be a leper,
- A man who used to be dead, and
- The man who made these things happen.
This was an attraction powerful enough to brave gathering near the home of a leper! Surely, Simon had gone through all the cleansing rituals demanded by the Law. At any rate, John describes a gathering of some size and significance. As usual, the crowd contained true believers, curious seekers, and outright enemies.
There was more going on there than mere attractions. People were drawn to Jesus because of deep needs within themselves. That life is a struggle was a known fact then as now. We come into this world we are totally dependent upon our mother for the sustenance of life. Growing up only widens the circle of our dependence. When we can walk we no longer need to be carried but we still need somewhere to walk and someone to show us how. We mature into adults and learn how to provide for ourselves through discipline and hard work but these things only provide the basics. Each of us still has a sense of deeper needs than mere survival.
What are these needs? We long for beauty, for meaning, for purposeful work, for companionship, for rest from our purposeful work, and even for joy and pleasure. The blessings and challenges of life are not distributed evenly in this world. Appeals for care of the sick, disabled, and the poor move those who are well, able, and affluent among us to give to these organizations. Deep needs are resident in the hearts of those living on the streets and those occupying the penthouses high above the streets. It is for these things that we, like the people in the Jesus Story, come to Jesus.
Jesus and the Father
When Jesus made the claim that He and the Father were one, this was at once the most promising and illuminating thing He could have said. The people knew who Jehovah God was. He had revealed Himself through a series of covenantal names. Each of these names reveals God to be the answer to the deepest longings of people.
- We need things so He is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord Who Provides things Genesis 22:14
- We need to belong to Him so He is Jehovah-Mekaddish, The Lord Who Sanctifies setting us apart for Him. Exodus 31:13
- We are embattled against evil so He is Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord Who Is My Banner, My Victory. Exodus 17:15
- We are subject to sickness so He is Jehovah-Rapha, The Lord Who Heals. Exodus 15:26
- We are like sheep so He is Jehovah-Roi, The Lord Who Is My Shepherd. Psalm 23:1
- We are often troubled so He is Jehovah-Shalom, The Lord Who Is Our Peace. Judges 6:24
- We need for Him to be close by so He is Jehovah-Shammah, The Lord Who is Present. Ezekiel 48:35
- We have a sinful nature that separates us from God so He is Jehovah-Tsidekenu, the Lord Who Is Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:6
- We need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves so He is Jehovah-Saboath, the Lord of Hosts. 1 Samuel 1:3
When Jesus claimed to be One with the Father, He was claiming to be all of these things. People were attracted to Him because, knowingly or not, they needed Him. This is also true for us.
John 12: 9-11
Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I need You! Without You I am alone in this world and in deep trouble. I need everything You revealed in Your covenant names! Thank You for being there for me. You are my Shepherd, my Healer, my Savior, my Provider, my Victor, my Righteousness, my Peace. You sanctify me, setting me apart for Your use. You have grafted me into the Vine making me a full member of Your Holy Nation, of Your Chosen People. Oh, how I need You, Lord! Thank You. Amen.
I Need Thee Every Hour
Words: Annie S. Hawks and Robert Lowry; Music: Robert Lowry
1. I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee!
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.
2. I need thee every hour, stay thou near by;
temptations lose their power when thou art nigh.
3. I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly, and abide, or life is vain.
4. I need thee every hour; teach me thy will,
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved