Summary: When Jesus was a man, He had relational needs to be met. This sermon looks at those needs and discovers how we can apply them to our loved ones.
Debbie and I just returned from a G 6 marriage seminar where I discovered some amazing truths. One of those truths was that Debbie was a much better spouse than I am.
Although it was a marriage seminar, it dealt with relationships that apply not only to husband/wife but also to parent/child, siblings, friends, coworkers, church members, almost any one with whom we come into contact.
We learned that there are ten relational needs in everyone’s life. Those needs are listed in your bulletin and today we will briefly discuss each one.
Our relational needs actually began in the Garden of Eden. It began with the first crisis of man. Most believe this to be the falling into temptation. But we actually see the first crisis in Genesis 2:18. “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”
Why was it not good for the man to be alone? Because man would have relational needs to be met, that he could not meet for himself. The Hebrew word for helper meant “helper, staff, strength.” The man would need someone to support him, to strengthen him. And while it does apply to a wife in this passage, it can have several other layers.
It can be a child who needs a parent to lean on. It can be a sibling who needs to be strengthened with a kind word. It can be a coworker who needs a listening ear. It can be you this morning, feeling alone and needing someone to help you, to hold you up, and to give you strength.
Let’s look at Matthew 22:35-40 “One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
There are actually three commandments listed here, do you see them? Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor. Love yourself. And Jesus says that those last two are as equally important as the first one. Therefore, we are also to love our neighbor with all our heart, soul, and mind. Moreover, we are to love ourselves with all of our heart, soul, and mind.
We know who God is and we know who we are, but who is our neighbor? Remember in the parable of the Good Samaritan we learned our neighbor is the one closest to us that has a need. Our neighbor is our wife. Our neighbor is our child. Our neighbor is our friend, coworker, and, yes, our neighbor. The person right now that you can think of that has the greatest need, not necessarily physical, is your neighbor and you are to love them with all your heart, soul, and mind. As we discover these ten relational needs, we will understand the dynamics behind this action better.
Now we will read Philippians 2:7. “Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”
Jesus became a man and in doing so, He entered into the crisis of relational needs. The Bible says He was in every way like us. Therefore, He needed these relational needs as much as we do. Some of us find that hard to understand. We feel that his bond with his heavenly Father was sufficient. But remember, God walked with Adam and yet knew Adam needed someone like himself to fulfill his relational needs.
I want to have us ponder each relational need as applied to Jesus. Then I want us to apply it to our neighbor.
1) Acceptance -“Receiving others willingly and unconditionally and loving them in spite of any differences that may exist between you.” John 1:11 “He came to his own people, and even they rejected him.” Jesus needed to have this relational need met. He left behind heaven, and all its riches, to humble himself. He came to his people for acceptance and they rejected him. Even today, He still feels the sting of rejection.
How about someone close to you. Have you refused to meet their relational need of acceptance? Is there someone in your life that you have refused to show loving kindness toward because of some difference that exists between you? It is a difficult thing to do but we are commanded to accept our neighbor.
2) Affection - “Expressing care and closeness through physical touch and through loving words.”
Luke 7:44-46 “Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.”