There is an earthly principle that says, “The one with the goods has all the power.” If I carry something you need or want, I wield the power of negotiation. I maintain the right of determining the cost.
In John 1:38, Jesus said to His prospective disciples, “What do you want?” In this simple statement He did two things. First, He revealed who was in possession of the GOODS. Secondly, He increased their level of desire and value for what He had. Jesus didn’t chase people down the street nor hawk His things on the corner. No, He maintained the value and integrity of what He had by limited access.
The Pharisees knew He was not a salesman selling His wares.
“Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion.
For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God.”
The one power they thought they had was their approval or rejection but Jesus wasn’t looking for that. He did not give Himself to man, for He knew what was in a man (see John 2:24,25). If Christ looked into the eyes of passersby for the twinkle of acceptance, His Gospel would have been worthless, cheapened and nullified. Though I am sometimes caught catering to man for affection, Jesus never did.
Jesus offended, purposely dismayed and in a sense shooed away prospective disciples. The Gospel didn’t cater to any. He didn’t allow for personal wish lists or an a la carte gospel.
And why? Why was He so abrupt? Why did He send away the very ones who were following?
Because of this:
He was not looking for philosophers to adopt an ideal.
He was not looking for mercenaries to pick up a crusade.
He was not looking for scientists to devise a theory.
He was not looking for teachers to impart a doctrine.
He was not looking for the religious to teach a theology.
He was not looking for managers to supervise a plan.
He was not looking for mourners to comfort and console.
He was not looking for debaters to argue a case.
He was not looking for a philanthropist to fund a cause.
And He was not even looking for followers to walk where He led.
No, what this mysterious Man, who had all the power, was searching for was LOVERS.
Those who would follow, yes, but not like the Rabbis with a nodding amen to agree to lessons and laws. No, He wanted abandoned embracers of Him, those whose value of Him was matched only by His value of the Father. He sought lovers, sick with desire, caught with intrigue.
Love focuses outside of self. It is directed outward, gazing on something that cannot be had or owned, even though it forms a complete union. It’s not an emotion, though it is fraught with feelings. It is not a getting but a being got. Jesus is looking for those captured, possessed by Him, those who would leave all, captivated and gazing.
Ideals can make for martyrs. The power of hate can hold you to the fire. Yet only love will cause you to leave self completely: to the end of your rights, opinions, possessions and relationships. Only love will cast aside allegiance to parents, siblings, family and friends to follow.
“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me,
and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”
Love is the answer and lovers are what He desires.