Sunday, February 23, 2014

exceedingly abundantly--part 1

The Word for today: Luke 9:1-17
(In order to get in shape for Kingdom come, we must stretch our spiritual muscles. The following exercises are designed to be both soul-stirring and head-stretching.)
mark this: Luke 9:16-17
Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and asked God's blessing on the food. Breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples to give to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!
I think Jesus had fun with this miracle. I mean, there were no demons involved, no diseases, no catastrophic storms. It was just lunch he was dealing with.
Apart from the resurrection, this is the only miracle reported in all four gospels. The number--5000--grabs the headlines, but what fascinates me is this detail:
They all ate as much as they wanted, and they picked up twelve baskets of leftovers! (Luke 9:16-17/NLT)
Super-abundance ("more") is a principal of the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus isn't just sufficient, he is more than enough. God doesn't just meet our needs, he overflows:
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. (Psalms 23:5)
Speaking of cups running over, the Bible twice uses an outrageous picture--wine as common as washwater--in order to illustrate God's superabundant provision.
Jesus' first miracle--at the wedding in Cana (John 2)--was in fulfillment of Jacob's famous prophetic vision:
The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.
He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes. (Genesis 49:10-11)
Jesus directed that large vessels (normally used to store washwater) be filled with water. Then he turned it into the choicest wine. His time--and the time of Israel's visitation--had come. It was an unmistakable pronouncement to His disciples that he was the Anointed of God, the promised King to come.
God's superabundant provision during His first advent would be the blood of the Son of God, symbolized from Melchizedek to the Lord's Supper by wine.
Jacob's prophecy will be re-fulfilled (!) at Jesus' second advent (during the Millennial reign) when donkeys will be tethered to the choicest vine, and allowed to eat their fill of the best grapes. Wine, once again, will be as common as washwater.
Our blessings (cups filled and to-be-filled) will leave any means of measurement, and even the powers of imagination, behind:
God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to his power that is at work within us (Ephesians 3:20/NKJV).
(Not wanting to stretch your head too much too soon, Stand in the Rain will take a brief respite. Be sure to return tomorrow for more Kingdom calisthenics.)

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