So today I turn 40, so if anyone wants to call me old go right ahead. I have been asked over the last couple of weeks questions like "what do you need" or "what do you want" for my birthday (To the side you can see a picture of some commemorative gifts for turning 40, just like Star Wars). In all actuality I don't really know what I want and I don't really need anything. When I was growing up I did not have everything that I wanted but I did have everything that I needed.
We are in the middle of a sermon series about Questions Jesus Asks and Sunday I preached on Jesus' question toward the end of the gospel according to Luke: Did you lack anything? In a sense Jesus is asking "did I not give you everything that you needed while I was with you?" He asks the disciples this question just before he is arrested. Here is the scripture:
Luke 22:35-43 (NRSV)
35 He said to them, “When I sent you out without a purse, bag, or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “No, not a thing.” 36 He said to them, “But now, the one who has a purse must take it, and likewise a bag. And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one. 37 For I tell you, this scripture must be fulfilled in me, ‘And he was counted among the lawless’; and indeed what is written about me is being fulfilled.” 38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” He replied, “It is enough.” 39 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. 40 When he reached the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.” 41 Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”
At the end of Jesus' earthly ministry in human form with his disciples he asks them this question so is a question of reflection. What encourages me about this scripture is not that Jesus asks the question but that the disciples answer: "no not a thing." The disciples gave up their livelihood, lacked money, had very few material possessions relied on the hospitality others and yet they stood firm that they lacked nothing. They didn't lack anything because they had Jesus and they were with Jesus. Jesus is all they needed. Jesus has asked them to give up those worldly, material things so that they can travel light and rely on Him.
In our current culture there is so much going on around us and we race to get the next new gadget, such as the iPhone X that you can get shortly for the small price tag of $1000, that we sometimes lose focus on what is really important. The disciples may have messed up (a lot) but they did get it. They understood after their ministry with Jesus that they did not lack anything because they had Jesus and they got to spread his message and his message of love, grace, mercy, and hospitality. What an amazing gift that is for each of us.
Grace & Peace