“I’m full!” There’s nothing quite like the feeling that leads to that expression, is there? Perhaps you, or someone else in the family, has spent time and effort preparing a lovely meal which has been greatly enjoyed. After the last mouthful has been consumed you then sit back with a contented look on your face and utter those words. All that you do for the rest of the day (which might not be much!) you do in the strength that the meal has given you.
It’s one thing of course to have a full stomach. Other things about our life are often full too. Our diaries, our day-to-day schedules, our cupboards, fridges, freezers, wardrobes, handbags, wallets, purses and so the list continues. But it is possible to have all those things full and yet have empty lives. How do I know that? Because of some of the words of the Lord Jesus Christ quoted in John’s Gospel.
In chapter 10, the chapter where Jesus describes Himself as ‘The Door’ and ‘The Good Shepherd’, He also tells us “I have come that they might have life and that they might have it to the full” (v10). That presupposes that without Jesus we cannot have life to the full, indeed that we cannot have true life at all. How could He say such a thing? What did He mean by it?
To answer that question we need to remember what we know about Christ. Our two Sunday mornings this month in Hebrews will remind us of who He is, what He has done and continues to do, and why He is far greater than any angel. At some time we are almost bound to cross reference a verse from another New Testament epistle, Colossians, where we read “In Him (Christ) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9). That verse tells us not that Jesus is a special man, or half-man and half-God. It tells us that all of the triune God’s fullness is found in Jesus. It is found in Him and nowhere or nobody else. So if we have Him we have the greatest treasure that this world or any other can offer – we have God Himself. When you remember that, I guess it’s easy to see how a life without Jesus Christ must be totally empty whatever we fill it with.
The strangest thing about that is, of course, that the life of Jesus could often be characterised using the word ‘empty’! To come into this world He had to empty Himself (Philippians 2:7, NIV), that is to lay aside the things that were rightfully His in heaven and become a servant. His bank account, as well as his cupboards, was always empty – The Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58). As a baby He was laid in a borrowed manger, as a man He lived in borrowed houses, as a crucified corpse He lay in a borrowed tomb. But that tomb is EMPTY too! He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). Through His becoming empty you might become full.
Are you full? Or are you still empty?