Saturday, February 12, 2011

Something quietly wonderful

Abide in Me, and I in you.

Sometimes an idea grabs hold of you and won't let go.
For me, this week, this was the one.

One night, after the Last Supper, Jesus was walking with His disciples and he said to them, Abide in Me, and I in you.1

It was just one little sentence in the middle of so many others. But it was simply amazing.
Most of our modern Bible translations render the Lord's words as written above.

The NIV, however, phrases it a little differently:
    Remain in me, and I will remain in you.

When I read the sentence that way, it sounds to me like a conditional statement: If you remain in me, then I will remain in you.

But it's not.

The words translated "and I" don't indicate anything conditional at all. Instead, they mean "I too", or "I, in like manner".

So, it's not a contract, but a relationship. And it has two distinct parts:
    I will abide in Jesus.
    Jesus will abide in me.

When I think about abiding in Jesus, great Old Testament images of protection, provision and holiness come to mind.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God ... in whom I take refuge.2

But I also know it involves me living a life that allows nothing to come between us or loosen my grip.

And when I think about Jesus abiding in me I see infinite life, light, power, goodness, joy and love entering into my being and turning me into them.

But in the end, this is just a tiny fraction of all that the words mean. 
And what little I do understand, I realize I haven't expressed very well at all. It even occurs to me that trying to explain this may be like trying to explain a joke. It just distracts.

So I'll stop now.
This week, all I want to do is share the wonder.

The Infinite and Holy Lord of all says to you, Abide in Me, and I in you.


1. John 15:4
2. Ps 18:2