Is Jesus just a pincushion?
I admit, that was a loaded question. Maybe even an unfair question. But I was interested in your comments, and they did not disappoint me. You all seem to have a pretty good grasp on what Jesus has done for you, or what He does for you, on a daily basis.
You know where to go when you are in trouble, and Who to thank when success knocks at your door. I know all of these things, too. I know them intellectually, and sometimes, I wonder…do I know them in my heart? Yeah, I think I do, but still, I’m not sure, and I’m also not sure if it even matters.
I was interested in your opinions for several reasons. The first was to see what you “really” think of Jesus. The second was to see what is being taught about Jesus. You see, we pretty much reflect everything we have been taught, whether we know it or not.
The third reason was to see if anyone sees something different. But the visions of Jesus we shared, although beautiful and true, were all very similar. I wonder why.
The truth is, I don’t know the answer to that question, but I think I might surprise you here a little, by saying what I am about to say. I was surprised myself by the answers I received, and it didn’t occur to me until tonight, when I was driving home from a dinner date with my daughter, what was nagging at me so strongly about this post.
I asked if Jesus was just a pincushion for our sins. That was a very direct question, but I think what my heart was really asking was , is Jesus just a pin cushion? Not just a pin cushion for our sins, but just a pin cushion over all. As I was reading these comments tonight, I was very surprised that there wasn’t one that was focused on our neighbor. This is not to rebuke anyone.
I am the first to admit that I have been using Jesus as a pincushion. He’s there when I am in trouble, and I know this. He’s there when I need something, when I really need something. He’s the peace in my life, He’s everything I cannot do at all, and more. But somehow, when I read these words I have written, I come to see tonight that much of what I think about Jesus is actually about me. He is my pincushion in these moments, and these moments, sadly, are more than I would like them to be.
But Jesus is also more than a pincushion. He’s my neighbor.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27
Many times, when I think of Jesus, I think of the guys who work with me. I think of their families, and I think of them in relation to their families, and I see Jesus. Sometimes, I see a man I once saw standing on an off-ramp from a freeway, holding a sign that says, “Will work for food tonight, please?” , and I see Jesus. Then, I see my daughter, and I think to myself thoughts I imagine I would have if I were her. Then I see Jesus.
I see a child full of joy, and I see Jesus. I see a man who needs a extra money to make it through this week, a man I can help, and I must choose. Will I see Jesus?
“For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me” Matthew 25:35-36
The depths of this quote from Jesus go way beyond food and drink and clothes. If you carefully look at the words Jesus uses, there is a chance you will see gospel language being used. Hungry, thirsty, sick, a stranger, naked, in prison, all of these are vivid pictures of our condition without Christ.
“truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did to Me.”
If I had more time, I would tie in even more of Jesus’ words that verify these truths as all one thing, all one truth, that until we see Jesus as our neighbor, none of the above is possible.
Currently, we mostly see ourselves as Jesus’ neighbor. In other words, we are on the receiving end of Jesus. Look at my words in this post. Look at your words in the last post. We see Jesus as a giver, and that is true, because that is what He is. But He is more than that, much more. He is our neighbor, and our neighbor needs what we have been given, from Jesus.
Sure, it may only be a meal for a hungry belly that you give, but to Jesus, it’s the gospel being shared. It may only be a visit to the sick or the elderly, but to Jesus, it is you preaching the gospel wherever you go.
We see ourselves as Jesus’ neighbor, we see ourselves as the ones still receiving. What about our neighbor?
I see a man crying inside of his shop, his wife has just left him for another man, I see Jesus, and then I see me.
If at once we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, loving our neighbor will follow naturally, because our neighbor will be Jesus. Who is my neighbor? Jesus is my neighbor.
You can’t generate this love. We have no ability whatsoever to love God on our own strength. We can’t make it happen. We can try really, really hard. We can do things that will help us, we can learn about God, and through knowing Him, love Him, but none of that happens by our own desires or strengths, they are all outworking of the Spirit within us.
There is only one thing we can do. We can ask. It’s all we have to work with, it’s all Jesus left us with.
Jesus might be a pincushion, and that is the truth, He came to be as such. But He came to be our neighbor, also.
I see you, reading this post, thinking you have done something wrong, thinking you have fallen short, and thinking your faith isn’t as strong as you thought it was. I see you thinking that you aren’t as far as you should be, that you should have known all of this. I can’t stand by and let you think that, because I see Jesus in you. We are interconnected, through Jesus, and since we are, how could you be wrong? You are not wrong. You are fine. Everything is going to be alright. Everything is alright.
The next person you see, think of Jesus. Even in our flesh, without the Spirit, amazing things happen when we do this. That’s because Jesus really is your neighbor, and He’s been here all along. He really is that close, or He wouldn't have told us He is.