Relationship with the Almighty

In the Gospels, the interactions between Jesus and the members of one family gets a fair amount of attention:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. John 11:20

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:35,36

Whatever else one may draw from these passages, one thing is clear; there is a vital loving relationship between Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It was even evident to outsiders. Martha felt free to bring a complaint to Jesus. Jesus felt free to tell her that she was obsessing about her responsibility to serve beyond anything that He desired. When Jesus came after Lazarus’ death, Martha ran out to seek solace from her grief in His presence.

This kind of loving relationship between men and women and the Sovereign of the Universe is what God desires. The emphasis of the Bible is on the relationship of God and man, but not understanding relationship (because understanding is damaged by sin), men often get the idea that it is about ministry or some other kind of service (like Martha), or knowledge, or something else. That there was originally a relationship between God and man is mentioned in the context of it being damaged by sin in Genesis 2 &3. God interacted with Adam, planting a garden for him to live in, expressing concern about his lack of a partner, letting him name all the creatures God made. Then after sin enters the equation, these passages explicitly speak of the man and his wife attempting to hide themselves from God’s presence when they heard Him coming. What purpose would God have had for presenting Himself in a form that would walk in the garden (and be heard) if it were not to better relate to Adam and Eve whom He had placed there?

So, in Genesis we see the relationship with God broken by sin. In the Gospels, we see Jesus modeling relationships where the participants care about one another and seek each others company. That is why He came, to make a way for that broken relationship to be repaired.

That problem of the compulsion to shrink away from God when He appears is not confined to Eden. In 1 John 2:28 we find this: And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Look. The solution to the problem is to “abide” (NAS) or “continue” (NIV) in Him. Jesus came to reconcile sinners to a Holy God. He already paid all the penalty for our personal wrongdoing. Take Him up on that offer of reconciliation. Abide. Continue. Love.

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