Thursday, June 9, 2011
"You Can Do Nothing" - Jesus
"...apart from me you can do nothing." - Jesus to his disciples.
"Come on Jesus. You've got to be exaggerating. I can tie my shoes without you. Look, I can even double-knot it...Oh...Woops."
I know I think I can do a lot of stuff without Jesus. There are a ton of things that I think of as nonspiritual and not in need of his divine intervention or touch. But the reality is, Jesus is right (who would have thought?), we can't do anything without him.
I believe that even people who don't believe in Jesus can't do anything without Jesus. I may be on shaky ground here, but the one who holds the keys to everything good is Jesus. So anything anybody does anywhere that is good, however tainted, has done so with Jesus. That includes tying shoes.
Can you imagine a world without Jesus? I don't believe anyone can even comprehend the horror that would be that world.
I've had conversations with high schoolers who think they're "all good." They don't need God, they politely assure me. When this happens, I try to help them see that we're having a conversation rather than trying to rip each other's throats out. We're probably even eating food, rather than simply trying to eat each other.
We would never be "all good" without Jesus. It is simply by his grace that we're not "all bad" all the time.
Can we even imagine a world without Jesus, a world without good? I don't think so, and I don't even really want to try to. And this time I'm not just being lazy.
But in the quote above Jesus is addressing something beyond the more general reality that there is no good apart from him. He's drawing a line in the sand for his disciples. He's saying, "You can do nothing apart from me. You need to eat, sleep and breathe me."
It's such a "counter-Phil" statement Jesus is making. "Counter-Phil" because it's "counter-fall." "Come on Jesus, don't smother me!" I want Independence. I want to be able to do my own thing and not be held accountable.
But as a disciple of good, I'm called to stick to the source of good, Jesus. I'm called to stick to him like crazy-glue. Because If I don't, I'm told that I can't do anything good.
And I want to do good. Or rather at least I want to not be unable to do anything. So I guess as a disciple, I'm going to have to learn more about this whole "abiding" thing Jesus makes such a big deal of. I believe I know much about it already, because of the grace he's given me. For there is so much good in my life not of my own making. He abides with me.
In the chapter I'm quoting, John 15, Jesus says "Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you." I am clean! What pure joy it is to know that I am clean. What a joy to be tethered to this Jesus, not only because he kicks tail at Field Day races, he's just so totally good.
So next time I tie my shoes, I'll try to remember where the ability comes from. And if I mess up, I'll know who to blame. Just kidding Jesus.