"Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God, got up from the table..."
I've been preaching a sermon series this month entitled, 'A Heart for the Poor.' We've been looking at how God feels about the poor and what the Bible says, as well. This past Sunday I delved into the root of poverty - with Wess Stafford's wonderful book, Too Small To Ignore as the basis for this teaching. He spoke about poverty being a collection of a variety of factors: economic, education, health, physical environment, socio-political, and spiritual. One of the off-shoots, quite often, is a sense of fatalism among the poor. It goes deeper than a feeling of helplessness - it moves towards the "I just don't matter" mentality.
One of the ways to combat this fatalism is to introduce people to the amazing love of God. Not in a "you-must-believe-this" way... but an "isn't-it-wonderful!?!" way. That ALL might come to believe the truth that God knows them, loves them, and has a plan for their lives.
As I was reading John 13 today, I was reminded of this in a strange way. A simple sentence in verse 3 stated that Jesus knew "he had come from God and was going to God." It made me stop and think. It's more than knowing "where you're from" and "where you're going." it's a deeper sense of identity (having come from God) and destiny (going to God).
Now sure, this was JESUS we're talking about: Son of God... Savior of the World... Lord Almighty, etc. We're not exactly in the same ballpark as he. But then again, all of us have indeed come from God (in our creation)... and when we give our lives to him, we will be going to God as well. So how then might this knowledge shape the rest of our days? Maybe giving us a new-found sense of confidence - confidence to live out whatever God is calling us to do?!? Maybe a renewed sense of purpose - that our lives do matter, and have eternal consequences. Maybe it's as simple as a deep assurance - an assurance that no matter what happens to us or what we experience (good or bad), that we are held in the hands of God (we've come from him and will be going to him)... and that we will NEVER BE ABANDONED!
Identity & destiny... what an amazing gift! AMEN.