•5 foolish girls
•A rich young man
•A fig tree with no fruit
•The foolish girls were distracted by what they did not have. They would not have what was required for the Groom’s arrival.
•The young man was distracted by how much he had. Yet, he did not have what Jesus wanted.
•The fig tree did not have a fig. Jesus wanted a fig.
Jesus’ response to the girls who returned after going out to buy supplies was, “Go away. I don’t know you.” The door that had waited open for so long was now closed. And Jesus was not going to open it again. It was over. They would live forever remembering that missed opportunity.
He also turned the rich young man away discouraged. After loving him deeply, He did not try to persuade the young man.
Jesus cursed the fig tree which had leaves but no fruit so that it would never, ever have the opportunity to bear fruit. The next day the disciples were astonished when they saw the tree shriveled up, dead from the roots.
These responses are very offensive to our image of Jesus, “meek and mild”. Ever found yourself saying, “That doesn’t sound like the Jesus I know?” In this, the final phase of our age, the question that we should ask is, “Is the Jesus I know the real one?”
May I point out that “knowing Jesus” isn’t about collecting information and approving all the details about a person named Jesus. How we interpret the information or piece together the personality of Jesus does not actually affect, in any way, who the real Jesus is. He just is. And even more than that, He doesn’t change. The real Jesus really exists and there is no new information that He will receive that will cause Him to grow or mature. It was He who said, “I am that I am!”
What kind of person you and I think He is, doesn’t change anything in His world. Our perception of Jesus only changes how we order our lives, assuming that we are trying to be like Him.
Here’s another important point:
You might give yourself an “A” for effort in that department (trying to be like Him) and still wind up very surprised when Jesus decides to close your account. The girls were actually waiting for the Groom and were going to be part of the party when He arrived. The young man genuinely wanted to be seen as doing the right thing. The fig tree was called that because it was meant to bear figs. BUT the surpassing, final identity is not what you are meant to do or what you are trying to do. Nor is it what you are actually doing. The ultimate identity is doing it, giving it to Jesus.
Jesus’ words are harsh and cold because there is a harsh, cold line drawn in eternal reality. To quote Oswald Chambers, “The words of the Lord will hurt and offend until there is nothing to offend. Jesus Christ has no tenderness whatever toward anything that is ultimately going to ruin a man.”* It’s a hard line drawn between those who give Jesus what He wants and those who don’t. On one side there is a vast ocean of people. There are those who don’t know what Jesus wants and don’t care. There are also those who care but don’t know what He wants. This life is the opportunity to step across that line. This age is the gracious stretching of a moment in eternity. That moment has the physical property, time. It is ticking. Seems to be ticking away. But it is waiting. Lingering for one thing. For you to give Jesus what He wants.
But we’re distracted, taken by the sound of the ticking. Deceived by the allusion that there is so much movement, so much activity, so many things to discover. All the time, all that you see and discover that seems to move so quickly or demand your attention so completely, that is what He wants. You. He wants you to choose to be with Him.
Don’t think too much of your perception or your take on things. Don’t be seduced into subscribing to your own or someone else’s prescription for belief or faith in God. Don’t be caught up in the stuff you have or don’t have. Just be with Him. Believe me, your perceptions are going to disappear the instant you lay eyes on Him. Those prescriptions for belief and your stuff will not cross the line with you. But you must cross the line. Stop expecting to suddenly get the revelation of “God’s will for my life”, and just be His will. His will is you with Him, Him with you.
Jesus, Himself described this pulling deep inside you. You are hearing His knock at the door of your heart. Leave all your baggage and cross the line. Go to the door and open it for Him. Nothing will ever be the same, once you have rested in His warm and healing arms, heard His voice and seen the smile. You know, the smile that happens when you get what you really want and have worked hard to get.
Give Jesus what He wants before the opportunity is gone. In computer terms, get the upgrade while it’s available.
*MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST, September 27th