How the beggars win

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For a long time, I was caught up with the question, “What is my identity?” As a maturing teen (and a Millennial to boot), this question weighed heavy on me. I’ve always known, somewhere in my gut, that I needed the question answered before I could even ask the question, “What do I want to do with my life?”

Recently I’ve come to see Jesus as someone who journeys with. From Abram to Israel; from Moses to Mary – Jesus travels with people, through their suffering, on their mountain tops, and even through death itself.

When we come into the Family and Kingdom of God – however it happens – we embark on an epic journey: one so momentous that it comes to define everything about us and our engagement with the world around us. In a word, it becomes our Identity. Here is the journey:

He made peace with us while we were his enemy;
…not only this, but he invites us into his Kingdom;
…and he not only invites us in, but makes us citizens of his Kingdom;
…and not only citizens, he invites us into his Throne room;
…and not only are we ushered in, but adopted as sons and daughters of the King;
…and not only adopted, but made co-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom;
…and not only co-heirs, but collectively we are the Bride of Christ, experiencing deepest intimacy with God himself.

Jesus and the banquet of beggars

If the narrative doesn’t show Jesus journeying with, then it is probably about him dining with. It seems to be what Jesus does, primarily. In Matthew 22 there is a parable that weaves both together, and is central to Subconscious Church:

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 

But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.

 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

“But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In the economy of Jesus, beggars are winners. With our Identity in Jesus, we who were unworthy are made worthy. With Jesus, we are at once invited in to sit and dine and sent out to the highways and byways. We are brought in to the presence of the King and sent out to bring in “both the good and the bad” to the banqueting table. We breathe in the presence of God and exhale the mission of God. It’s what it means to be Christian.

Jesus’ Fashion Line, our Ticket

There is this strange moment when the King finds someone “who had no wedding garment”, and this poor sod gets the boot (to put it mildly). Jesus is okay with both the good and the bad at his party, so long as they wear his designer brand. Actually, we are all bad, so it’s a good thing something else earns our admittance. But what is this “wedding garment”? It is the redemption Christ provides, woven from the fabric of eternity, stained in the violent spilling of his blood, and washed in the Spirit of power.

There is only one way into the journey that defines our identity; only one hero who is worthy of admittance to the banquet of Majesty: it is only Jesus. It is by Jesus that we are welcomed in, it is about Jesus that we gather around the banqueting table, and it is for Jesus that we live, breathe, and run through the highways and byways inviting more to the table.

We are beggars, and when Jesus is the hero of our story – our King, our Daddy, our Love – his victory becomes our joy, the lowly are lifted up, and the outcasts are in the family photo.

K Livingston
K Livingston
I believe in dreaming big, working hard, cheering loud, standing tall, bowing deep. All of it because I believe Jesus = life.
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