I recently was struck by this passage in the Message version of John 1:14 where Eugene Peterson describes Jesus as “generous inside and out, true from start to finish.”
Generous is not a word we often associate with Jesus, though he obviously was. How was Jesus generous?
In John 1:16, Eugene Peterson translates the Greek text as “We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift.” The Greek word for what was translated to ‘gift’ is ‘charis’, often translated as ‘grace’; however in this text, I like the translation of ‘charis’ as ‘gift’. A gift is not something we earn, but simply something to receive and enjoy. The Greek word for what was translated ‘generous’ is ‘pleroma’, translated in other texts as ‘fullness’, but also renders as ‘abundance’, and ‘that which has been filled’.
In John 12:15, Jesus is recognized as the King of Israel, though not as they supposed, but coming in humility, riding on a donkey’s colt.
While we are given a kingdom, this king is not Santa Clause, nor a king as the world usually thinks of.
John 18:36 (The Message)
“My Kingdom,” said Jesus, “doesn’t consist of what you see around you. If it did, my followers would fight so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But I’m not that kind of king, nor the world’s kind of king.”
While the list below is obviously a subset, what does this generous king offer?
1. Has taken on the sins of the world (John 1)
2. Gives us confidence in knowing that our sins are forgiven (Matt 9:2)
3. Continually washes us clean from sin and self consciousness, uncleanness, guilt, and unworthiness (1 John 1)
4. Demonstrates his love for us (1 John 4)
5. Provides everlasting life to us (John 6)
6. Opportunities to hang out with the saints of old (Matt 8)
7. Casts out evil spirits (Matt 8)
8. Has taken our infirmities and carried away our diseases bringing healing, (Matt 8) and in fact heals every kind of disease and sickness (Matt 9:35)
9. Gives us the Holy Spirit to change us from the inside out (John 3, John 14)
10. Assures us that as we receive, we can give it away to others. As we taste of the goodness of God, we’ll want to share it with others. (Matt 10:8)
11. Has given us the gift of no condemnation (Romans 8, John 8)
12. Became the curse of the law for us (Gal 3)
13. Gives us power and authority over forces of darkness and for healing (Luke 9)
14. Gives us joy, righteousness, and peace when we look to the right tree (1 Cor 1:30, Rom 14)
15. Gladly gives us the things of the kingdom of heaven (Luke 12:32)
16. Gives us spiritual gifts to steward (Luke 19)
17. Has forgiven us a debt of our sins which we can never repay and in turn, asks us to forgive others (Matt 18)
18. Lets us know that when we care for the least of these, we honor the king (Matt 25)
19. Has given us authority in prayer for what we forbid, and what we allow (Matt 16:19 NLT)
20. Has taken us from having no purpose (being lost) into discovering our identity and purpose (Luke 15)
As long as I keep my focus on the king of the spirit tree of life, I can receive joy, as he is my source. He can put a smile in my heart and on my face. We have an extravagant king who is more generous than we know. Sometimes, we have not, because we haven’t asked. Won’t you begin exploring asking for the kingdom of heaven? He’ll gladly give it you, especially when it’s from the spirit and with the right motives.