I have observed that often Jesus answered people’s issues not with a specific outcome, but with Himself. Here’s what I mean:
John 11, as we looked at a few days ago, tells the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Martha, in her grief, unable to receive Jesus’ reassurance that Lazarus would rise from the dead, answers Him saying, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus makes a profound statement. He states, “I am the resurrection and the life.” In John 14, Thomas asks Jesus to show him the way to the Father. Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”
We ask, “Lord, give me the way to get through this situation.” God’s response is, “I am the way through your situation.” When we ask for a fish, God does not give us a snake. When we ask for an egg, He does not give us a scorpion. So how much more will He give of Himself for those who ask? (See Luke 11:11-13)
When we pray for more love or peace or patience, He offers Himself. He is love. He is peace. He is patience. These fruits come from abiding in Him, allowing Him to be our Source.
As we continue through the last week of Jesus’ life on this planet, we land in John 14-17. Here, Jesus is teaching His disciples one last time before the cross. As you read this passage, you can feel the urgency of His teaching. He is cramming in so much as though these are His final words to His closest friends. When He first met His disciples, He bid them to follow Him. Here, His language turns to a much more intimate word. Jesus calls them to abide in Him. As a vine and branch connect, so we are to connect with Him. As the vine is the sole source for the survival of the branch, Jesus is our sole Source for the Abundant Life. As a branch does not bear fruit apart from the vine, we do not have the Fruit of the Spirit apart from our Vine. God does not expect us to independently love others. He asks us to abide. He will produce the love within us to share. We pray for outcomes: “Lord, give me peace!” God offers Himself: “I am the Prince of Peace.” We ask God for strength. He doesn’t give strength to us; He is our Strength, our Fortress, our Strong Tower, our Shield.
Easter is not about what we do for God. The theme of the death and resurrection of Jesus is not our obedience to Him. God’s solution to every problem we have is Himself. Is your marriage hurting? God is the answer. Are you struggling with a difficult past? God is the answer. Are you depressed or overwhelmed? God is the solution. You don’t need His “stuff” to handle your problem; you need Him. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In Him, all is well. That’s our hope because of Easter. Where death and separation has destroyed, He is the Resurrection and the Life.
What part of your heart needs some resurrection and life? What struggle have you prayed about for a long time without an answer? What are you waiting on God to do? What attribute of God are you crying out to receive? His strength? His wisdom? He is interested in offering Himself to you. He is Strength. He is Wisdom. He is the Creator, Preserver, Master, and Lord. He is the Almighty, All Sufficient King. He is a Covenant God who heals, provides, sanctifies, sees our deepest parts, and delivers us. He is our Banner, our Peace, our Righteousness, our Judge, our Rock, and our Hope. He is the Shepherd, the Savior, the Redeemer, and the Most High God. He is the Lord of Hosts, the Mighty One, our Shield and Strength. He is Jealous, Holy, and Everlasting. He is Always There, First and Last, the Living God. He is our Father. He is our Husband. He is the Breath of Life. He Is.
May God’s blessing be on you as you allow Him to be what you need.