Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the son of man does not have a place to rest his head. (Luk 9:58)
For many years the church has believed that this was proof of Jesus being poor. Yet the bible teaches us that Jesus had women financially supporting him, as well as had received a great financial start with kingmakers bringing him a gift for a king. This might be debated, but bare with me for a moment.
The verse does not tell us that Jesus could not afford a bed at night. Jesus for example stayed at Bethsaida with Maria, Martha, and Lazarus, as it was his custom when he was in Jerusalem.
What does the verse tell us then?
Today it is said that a man needs a den, a cave for productive work, where women need a nest to feel at home. But Jesus needs a place to rest his head.
Where does your head rest, right now? My head rests on my shoulders. Thinking of Kol 1:18 here: we are the body, and he, Jesus, is the head. Jes 9:6 tells us that the government or leadership rests on his shoulder, or better neck.
In the macrocosm of the church, the goal is to grow up such that the head has a place to rest, the shoulder of the body. Ephesians in chapter 4 puts it like this: the 5fold ministry is given to build the body. Build here is often translated edify, yet in the Greek is an architectural term meaning to build.
The next verse makes this more concrete (pun intended) by saying that the body is to grow up into maturity, the full stature of a mature man. Such that the head finds a place to rest.
This building of the body is done in twofold ways. Having more people realize “Christ in them” is one. But too often the border of the Kingdom is right within us. As Paul puts it: there are two souls in my body – one draws me to do good, while the other draws me to sin.
The other way to grow the body is to grow myself, to mature myself. Or as the bible puts it: to die to self. I have to decrease, but he has to increase.
My son has suffered from a heavy car accident some years ago. Frontal lobe and other brain injuries let his body be disfunctional. Especially the right side first was totally lame, and still cannot control fine motor movement. Doctors told him that he can do two things to improve: exercise and be in a positive environment.
When we recognize that we are part of the body of Christ, we are usually very disfunctional. We had been dead. To improve, we exercise – pray, read the bible, make right decisions – and join a positive environment – do not forsake the assembly of the body of Christ.
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