He is All I Need

In Ephesians chapter 1, St. Paul writes, “Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us IN CHRIST with every spiritual blessing.” What do those words mean, “in Christ?” We know what it is to be in a house or a car. If you are like me you know what it is to be in trouble. But what does it mean to be in Christ?”

This morning we sang a song. In fact, we sing it every Sunday, unless it’s Advent or Lent. “Glory be to God on High, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” You have probably been to churches where they sing it a little differently. In the Roman Missal it goes, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to people of good will.” Which is right? Quite frankly the Greek is difficult to translate. Both are acceptable. But peace is literally granted “among mankind of good pleasure.” Who are these people? Well, quite frankly it is one person. One man. Jesus Christ. Remember what God said at Jesus’ baptism and again at his transfiguration. “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is the man of God’s good pleasure.

So where does that leave us? We are recipients of God’s good pleasure if we are “in Christ.” The New Testament uses two ways to illustrate that. One is the expression of Christ’s body. We are members of Christ’s body. We may be a hand or a foot, or a liver. A more modern writer might say we are all cells in Christ’s body. But we are all parts that come together in Christ to make up Christ. A second illustration the New Testament uses is that of the living temple. We are living stones that come together to form Christ’s living temple. The Shepherd of Hermas, a second century Christian work, talks about angels chipping away at us, removing our worldliness, so we can be fit in properly to make a strong tower.

Both of these illustrations show how we are “in Christ.” We are parts of His body, living stones of His temple. The same Spirit that lived in Jesus now lives in us so that we can do the works of Jesus in the world in a very limited way as individuals, but when we come together, in an immensely powerful way.

Which brings us to today’s Gospel.

Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over unclean spirits.  He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick— no food, no sack, no money in their belts.  They were, however, to wear sandals but not a second tunic.  He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave.  Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”  So they went off and preached repentance.  The Twelve drove out many demons, and they anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them. (Mark 6:7-13)

 

Jesus sent his disciples out two by two. He gave them very specific instructions. Take nothing with you but the clothes on your back and a walking stick – no food, no backpack, not even spare change to make a phone call if you get into trouble. In Luke’s version of the story Jesus doesn’t even allow sandals, but Mark mentions sandals specifically. This leads me to believe that Saint Mark and I have something in common. At one point in our lives we stepped on scorpions and we never want to do that again.

So, they are sent out completely empty-handed. All they had with them was the spirit of Jesus. So as they walked to their first village, they sang a song. . I happen to know the song, I used to sing it when I was a kid.

♫ “He is all I need. He is all I need. Jesus is all I need.” ♫

So two disciples would enter a village. They would go to the marketplace because that was where the people were. In an age before refrigeration, people went to the marketplace every day. They would begin to preach. As they preached the Word of God, the Spirit of God would start to move. The disciples began to pray. As they prayed, people would be healed. Demons would be cast out. Then when it started getting dark they would say, “We need a place to stay.” If someone let them in, they would pronounce a blessing of peace on the household. If they were treated well, the family would be blessed. If they were treated badly, the family would lose their blessing. After they had been there awhile, they would move on to the next village and do it all over.

♫ “He is all I need. He is all I need. Jesus is all I need.” ♫

That’s the key. That is why Jesus sent them out empty handed. He knew that if they went out in total dependence on him, they would go in the Spirit and Power of Christ. They would go forth in the Father’s good pleasure. They would go forth “in Christ.” If they had money and time, they would have built fancy churches and invited people who were too busy to come. Instead, they just did what Jesus did. They went into the marketplaces and preached and watched miracles happen.

Now I’m not against money. It is a good thing to have money in the bank when the mortgage comes due, or your car needs repair, or kids need braces. But when it comes to enjoying the Father’s good pleasure, all you need is Jesus. Anything else just gets in the way.

Some of us have been so desperate that nothing money could buy of any help. Only Jesus could come through for us. And so we sing the song.

♫ “He is all I need. He is all I need. Jesus is all I need.” ♫

And Jesus came through.

And if we are honest, that is the way we are every single day. Deep down inside we need the peace that only Jesus can bring. We cover it up with the distractions money can buy, but we can’t fill the need for peace in our lives until we sing,

♫ “He is all I need. He is all I need. Jesus is all I need.” ♫

As we come to the Eucharistic table, all we will receive is Jesus. And if he is all we need, that is enough.

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