Resting in the Passion of Rabbi Jesus

The disciple that Jesus loved was reclining next to Jesus… He leaned back on Jesus’ breast.
(John 13:23, 25)

I heard a minister on television this past week speak about passion.  He suggested that many Christians are not succeeding in life because they do not know what their passion is.  Find your passion and your life will change.  There is much wisdom is this and it struck a chord in my heart.

What is my passion?  What sets me on fire?  I love to read, I love to write, but are they my passion?  Do I live and breathe reading and writing?  Some who know me would argue that they do, but I am not so sure.  I love Jesus with all my heart, but is He my passion?  How do we find our passion?

Just after hearing the minister speak on passion, the next day in my devotional from Brennan Manning’s The Rabbi’s Heartbeat, I was awed at the grace and mercy of God.  The chapter is entitled “Recovering Passion” and he speaks about his challenge in finding his passion.

If you have lost your passion, or are trying to discover it read the account of John reclining on the table with his head on the Master’s breast in John 13.

“We must not hurry past this scene in search of deeper revelation, or we will miss a magnificent insight.  John lays his head on the heart of God, on the breast of the Man whom the council of Nicea defined as ‘being coequal and consubstantial to the Father… God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God.” (Manning, p. 96)

Sometimes it hard to imagine that you or I could lie on the breast of Jesus ~ but He is beckoning us to do the same.

“Fearing that I would miss the divinity, I distanced myself from His humanity, like an ancient worshiper shielding his eyes from the Holy of Holies.  But as John leans back on the breast of Jesus and listens to the heartbeat of the Great Rabbi, he comes to know Him in a way that surpasses mere cognitive knowledge.  What a world of difference lies between knowing about someone and knowing Him!” (p. 96)

John discovered in this encounter with Jesus, by experiencing Him, listening to His heartbeat, that he is loved.  As Manning so poignantly affirms, God allowed a young Jew in the rags of his twenty-odd years, to listen to his heartbeat.  It was in this experience that John discovered who he was and that Jesus the Great Rabbi loved him.

How do we then recover our passion?

“The recovery of passion begins with the recovery of my true self as the beloved.  If I find Christ I will find myself and if I find my true self I will find Him.  This is the goal and purpose of our lives.  John did not believe that Jesus was the most important thing; he believed that Jesus was the only thing.” (p. 97)

In order to have a passion for Jesus, we must be hungry for it.

There have been times when I preferred slivers of glass to the pearl of great price.”
~ B. Manning

The world offers many allurements, but we must not fall in their trap.  Jesus is calling us.  Only Jesus can give the peace we need ~ it is freely ours if we will rest in Him.

“The paltriness of our lives is largely due to our fascination with the trinkets and trophies of the unreal world that is passing away… our capacity to be affected by Christ is numbed.” ~ B. Manning

Manning began this chapter with a story of a young Jewish boy who had been dedicated to the Lord by his parents.  This boy was ensnared by the world, much like the prodigal son parable we know so well.  The parents attempted, to no avail, to convince the boy to give up his ways.  Their wisdom fell on deaf ears.

“But one great day the Great Rabbi visited the village and asked to be left alone with the boy.  To leave their son alone with this lion of man terrified the parents, but they left him.  He then picked up the boy and held him silently against his heart.” (p. 95)

The next day, the boy began going to synagogue and allowing the Word of God to penetrate his heart.  He grew up and helped many people.  The end of the story and what the boy answered to the change in his life touches my heart deeply:

Mordecai grew up to become a great man who helped many people.  And when they came to him he said, “I first learned the Word of God when the Great Rabbi held me silently against his heart.” (p. 95)

By this, we know we are the passion of Jesus, His heart beats for us.  What then should our passion be?  Maybe our passion is not what we do; maybe our passion is a person ~ Jesus Christ.  Once we know deep down in our spirit that we are Jesus’ heartbeat and He is ours, and we rest a while longer on His breast, He will instruct us what to do.  His passion will beat in our heart.  If Jesus loves people ~ if they are His passion ~ they should be ours, too.  We will each have a different calling and assignment, but our passion should be the same.

Rest.  Recline on the breast of Jesus and hear His heartbeat.  It beats for you.   You are loved.

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