by Pamela Gauthier
Intimacy – a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
And He ordained twelve that they should be with him and that he might send them forth to preach… (Mark 3:14).
The story of Jesus’ relationship with his disciples was one of love, pain, betrayal and restoration. and Jesus said to them, “Come and dine.” This was after broken fellowship had taken place before His death, burial and resurrection. These were the men that He’d spent His time on earth building, shaping and preparing to turn the world upside down. They had once enjoyed sweet communion and closeness. They followed Jesus everywhere as He built their faith and taught them His ways. He called these men and chose them for a special purpose. even though they had a great relationship, when He needed their support the most, they all left him.
Many of us have experienced broken relationships in this way. as children of God we are called for a special purpose. When we receive the gift of grace, through our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we can enjoy sweet communion and fellowship with other believers. The testimony of Jesus and His disciples sets the stage for all of us to glean from, whether it is marriage, business or parenting … there will come a time when all relationships will be challenged.
In the parable of the sower, Jesus explains that the word of God is like seed being sown into the ground. When the seed of the word is properly sown into a heart, it produces the right fruit (Mark 4). Relationships are the main places this principle can be tested. In this parable, you can see the closeness between Jesus and His disciples. Even though He taught the parable to the crowd, He took His disciples apart from the crowd to explain its meaning to them. Jesus wanted them to see how powerful the word is when sown into our hearts and how it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires (Hebrews 4).
Before Jesus’ death on the cross, He told his disciple Peter that he would have to endure an overwhelming temptation that would cause him to deny Jesus. He also encouraged Peter that He had already prayed for him so the temptation would not overtake him (Luke 22:32). Peter did indeed deny Him, as did all of the disciples.
Jesus is the living word and because we can depend on His great love, we have no need to try to impress or hide who we really are. When we’re true to Jesus, we can then be true to ourselves and others to achieve greater intimacy in our relationships.
When it came time for Jesus to restore the relationships with His disciples, He met them right where they were, in a state of confusion and desperation. The disciples felt they had disappointed the Lord and failed Him. The beautiful part about intimacy is that Jesus is always ready to forgive and restore. Jesus extended the invitation to them to come and have breakfast with Him. After they’d partaken of their meal together, He encouraged them, loved on them and restored purpose to their existence once again (John 21).
He extends this very invitation to us all. We have only but to believe, trust and “come and dine!”