Loaves and Fishes or Bread and Circuses? (Change the right thing Part 4)
Jesus ministered (taught, healed, forgave, fed the hungry) out of His core Identity. As a result the context mattered to Him very little. Because what He offers is timeless, and common to man, no context exists in which His offer is secondary. Because His strategy was His Nature, He spoke to fishermen about fishing, and farmers about farming. He tenderly loved the prostitute, and firmly confronted the hardened. This is the same Eternal One who became a man in order to reach mankind. He was the only relevant Thing in every context He entered. But because He is love He invited our needs and circumstances into His circle of relevance. We matter, because we matter to Him. We matter to Him because He is Love.
He would become to us whatever it took to show Himself Accesible, with one unchanging exception. He was always intending to reach the spirit of men, and He would not feed our soul, or body when doing so would shut down our spirit. We do the same thing within our own souls when we choose any higher good. I will not feed my body junk food when I am willfully choosing the higher good of health. I will overcome inertia (my soulish preferences) in order to feed my health (physical, emotional, spiritual). Jesus did the same thing. He refused to perform miracles in some settings. He turned down the chance to provide food again when He discerned that to do so would feed the wrong part of the crowd.
The Presence of the Kingdom of God among men will always respond to their highest need. God will feed our bodies if it will reach our spirit, or impose an exile on His people when our spirits are dying in the shadow of our soulishness. Sometmes what we want the most is the thing we need the least. Sometimes what we want the least is what we need the most. God will always give us what we need.
I fear that as we see the massive shift in our church culture we will look only on the outward, and simply look for another way to appeal to the soulish desires of mankind. Loaves and Fishes were a demonstration of a loving God, to people who were pursuing Him and had chosen to sit at His feet, while their bodies went without.
Bread and Circuses were an entitlement given by the Romans to citizens who wanted others to work harder than they themselves were willing to. Relinquishing their created design, they wanted someone else to provide for them what they themselves were capable of. Men were willing to surrender their higher nature for the satisfaction of their lowest nature. A loving Father would never make such a concession. Jesus never conformed to any aspect of culture that fed men’s souls at the expense of their spirit.
Let us always be relevant when it reaches the spirit of men, but let us always be wise to when we might be feeding the soul at the expense of the spirit.