Just as I am, Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve;
Because Thy promise I believe,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.
When Just As I Am plays I immediately feel as if I’m at a church service and some pastor is giving an altar call. Many churches will skip a verse or two when singing a hymn. This baby seemed to get all six verses and sometimes on repeat.
We love the concept of God accepting us just as we are. We don’t have to clean up. We don’t have to start spiritual disciplines, join a church, or really do anything to make ourselves worthy to come to Christ. We can’t. We just come as we are. Period.
And the Lord Jesus accepts us. Warts and all.
A Strange Detail
I stumbled upon an interesting verse today. It’s a strange little detail. I don’t want to make more out of it than is there but it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. (Mark 4:36)
Now, I think what Mark is telling us is that Jesus didn’t make any special preparations for the trip across the lake. Nor did he take a nap before he went. He was physically exhausted.
“Just as he was.”
Mark is the busiest gospel. And here we see the toll it has taken on our Lord. He falls asleep on the stern of a tiny boat in the midst of a crazy thunderstorm. He got into the boat (or stayed in the same boat if you read it that way) just as he was.
Why does Mark tell us this? Why tell us that he went “just as he was”?
Just As He Was
In part, I think Mark is showing us the humanity of Jesus. Because it’s the humanity of Jesus that is a real stumbling block to the disciples in the midst of this storm. They need God in the boat. They need the One who could part the sea.
But what they are confronted with is a sleeping Savior—the Suffering Servant. They wanted mighty, powerful, dead-man raising, demon-casting Son of God. But in this moment that’s not what they got. They get peacefully asleep Jesus. Tranquil in the face of their terror.
“Just as He was.”
That’s why we are in this mess. Tired Jesus. No preparation. No planning ahead. Not waiting until morning. Not letting us get a good night of sleep. He just sent us out onto this lake and then fell asleep.
Ever feel like that?
Ever get mad at Jesus because He’s not doing what you want or being who you think he ought to be?
The disciples took Jesus onto the boat “just as He was” but they didn’t rest there. They attempted to rouse Jesus to becoming who they thought He should be. And this is why he says, “Have you still no faith?”