Once Dead. But now alive.
HE WANTS YOU TO KNOW HIS LOVE FOR YOU.
(To my brethren who associate pictures of Jesus as against the Bible (Exodus 20:3-4). Please realize that God was not referring to intangible and immaterial CG; computer graphics. He was warning mankind not to form wood and stone into an image and then worship it as a god.
It would only follow that any pictures of anyone or anything would be idolatry. Actually, a house or job, even our own self-image can be idolatry. But the following pictures help us to formulate an understanding and ponder the mystery and outstanding Character of Jesus. The facial lines, the look in the eyes and posture all indicate the depth of His wisdom, compassion and mission. The detailed brush strokes of an artist gives us insight into the Incarnation: God Almighty walking in human flesh; Jesus. Anything that helps us grasp the enormous composition of His work on the cross is a blessing, not a curse.)
Jesus saw into a thousand tomorrows. He felt our angst and forlorn despondency. Sin bankrupted earth. Nothing of man’s world could ever satisfy the human soul. He saw the ‘hell’ that could come upon anyone. Jesus took on the ‘dark logic’ that paralyzes us with misery. He realized He was the only One Who could provide what we would need to “more than conquer” (Rm.8:31-38). The one amongst us, who is the meanest, most confused and hardest of heart is the person who has been hurt the most and loved the least. This is the very target audience of Jesus. I am such a man. I spent my years dying of thirst, in search of water. Today, I search for someone in search of this same “something”.
I remind you, that it is in the stillness of a choice, that any man can contemplate Jesus. It requires no theology or good behavior. The easiest thing a man can do is the rarest thing any man will ever do. It is in isolated meditation where Jesus awaits to divulge His light; “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.”(Jn.8:12).
Jesus designed a plan “hidden” from the proud aristocrat “Christian” (Mt.11:25-28). His purpose is for the destitute pagan (Mark 2:17). So the lower you go, the higher you will get. The farther you see yourself to be, the closer He will draw you. Consider the Prodigal Son (Lk.15). He will never “cast anyone” aside who truly comes to Him in spirit and truth, with a broken and contrite heart (Mt.9:12/ Jn.6:37/ Jn.4:24 Ps.51:17).
Jesus did not come to condemn you, for any of your failures and evil ways. He came to engage with you in His intimate disclosure of supernatural light (Jn.3:17). It is what flooded my heart as I contemplated Jesus. I was not offended by His confrontation of my wicked nature. I was overwhelmed by His love despite it. He doesn’t want to offend anyone, but to shepherd us into His dimension of a new world (18:36).
He says we will be blessed if we teach ourselves how NOT to be offended by seemingly harsh demands to repent and obey His revelation (Matthew 11:16). He works relentlessly to bring the heart of the Father into the heart of man.
The Incarnation is a word to describe John chapter one verse one. Stop and consider the Holy of Holies actually becoming a lowly man. God actually decided to put His feet upon our sin-infested earth to solve our every problem and give us eternal life.
You see, my friend, there were two very powerful forces at work in the heart of Jesus. He could see with the eyes of God. No prejudice. No accusations. No betrayal. No cynicism. Yet, in order to fully bear the weight of our sin, Jesus also had to see with our prejudice, self-righteousness, guilt, shame and animosity. It was anguish.
He was deeply hurt in every way, more than we can know. But He also knew the hurt in His Father by Adam’s sin and subsequent corruption of mankind. Jesus was torn, puzzled and confused. (Read Psalm 22). He speaks through David.
He would feel our, loneliness, anger and frustration. He felt provoked by men’s stupidity. This had to be. It was the Incarnation; the Mediator. In order to bear our exact human plight. He felt our “God where are You?” Jesus said this exact same thing on the cross (Matthew 28:46). Think about it. Jesus bore a sinners death (2 Cor.5:21/1 Pt.3:18). This is our comfort.
When you feel like nobody knows you. Nobody really cares. What you need is not another person, who feels the same, but the One Person Who felt this exact pain and ran to the Father like a deer panting for water.
“Father, Father what can I do? This loneliness hurts so bad.” The Father instantly sent His Spirit to comfort this “docile Lamb’.
Jesus brought Himself into a disposition of compete submission. He already knew what He must do. He must die for Michael. For Rachel. For Paul and Joseph and….. What’s your name? He died for________.
When Jesus died on the cross He reached through all time and space. He then accomplished everything needed in the heart of every sinner. He offered Himself as our blood atonement to the Father . It is written “He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…. the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God? Therefore, He is the mediator of a new covenant… because a death has taken place for redemption from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” He chose to bear each individual sin(1 Pt. 3:18/Hebrews 9:12).
Jesus displayed perfect love throughout His Life. So He reasoned that if His perfect love for men ended in such despicable death by men, all would be forced to deal with this witness to both man’s vile sin and God’s love; “if I be lifted up, on the cross, it will confound men and force them to decide. I will bear all their evil, the curse for sin, and draw them to see….I will extend My love to the whole world, and allow my arms to be nailed in this position to show my love is all encompassing ….for I am the truth to all man’s search. There is only way for them to know the Father. I must give, not laws like Moses, or mere teachings. To give MYSELF to them I must give MYSELF for them. Mercy without measure. Jesus promises, that if we get a hold of Him, we will get a hold of the Father, and everything in Him (Jn.12:32,14:6-9/Galations 3:13).
My friend, He is trying to get inside your head with new reality. And this blog is part of this work. As you sit alone Jesus sits with you.
“Join Me. Mesh your thoughts into Mine. Let us ponder together all the tendencies of this sinful human nature. I get you. Though your sins be as scarlet I will make them as snow. Feel sin gnawing within?. Can we recognize it together?”
He resisted sin for 33 years. Countless times, whispering silently as walked amongst men. Other times talking to the Father in a solemnity of solitude. He thoroughly explained our wretched condition. With “loud cries, tears” and even blood Jesus pleaded with the Father for His reconciliation to us (Hebrews 5:7). He agreed to the ultimate demand; His death.
Ultimately, Jesus did the unimaginable. He gave way to actually become sin (2 Cor.5:21). He became our Substitute and bore the Fathers’ wrath for sin we deserve. It killed Him. It killed sin. Once and for all time. He is the living Mediator to do this for you today, everyday. Think about the manner of such love. He looks into your eyes and pleads with you to trust Him. “Let me take your sin. I know the guilt and condemnation is so dark.”
What a profound Brother. What a General. What a King. What a heart. “I’ll follow You anywhere Jesus”.
“You paid the price to become the One Mediator of a brand new promise; The New Testament. You actually became sin to sacrifice Yourself as the Lamb slain”. My friend you got to get a hold of this. It is nothing like The Old Testament that required animal sacrifice and strict obedience to 10 commandments (actually 10,000). Many Christians actually maintain that legalism today. They try to follow Christianity but never come to Jesus. His promised covenant is all about receiving FROM HIM the free gift of salvation.
Our deepest drive is to find our identity lost when Adam turned from God. Who are you in this population of chaos? This is the motive behind going to college, getting a job, doing good works and finding purpose. To say you are a Christian is an absolutely generic term. Not even once does Paul call himself a christian. Just a fact. It is an affiliation to doctrine, not Jesus.
To become a son can not happen if you refuse to go there. It is not some vague sentimental term. It is the answer when Legalism and lawlessness fight each other in your mind. I am not a “christian” battling doctrines. I am a son inheriting the rich Presence of Jesus.” As a Brother knows every sordid thing about you. And yes, as your Brother He does tell Dad. But only to Mediate the propitiation you need. He’s waiting for you to teach you how to understand God as Father. It involves a groping for identity and in this groping latching on to security as a son or daughter.
Do we not all yearn for a caring Father? Someone to sit and hear our fears? He says He does not “grow weary” of us (Isaiah 40). He promises to release all our anxiety. Hey, you talk to yourself, right? So just lift those words, a bit higher, to Him. Be specific. Be overwhelmed by the love you see manifested by the Father in Jesus. Whether you had a terrible earthly father, or a good one, no one could ever give you the love you need
Jesus says His entire purpose was to reveal God is a merciful, personally interested Father (Luke 15). He offers a heart-connection so deep we are pulled into another intimate identity. We go from being an orphan, into an adoption as a son or daughter. No more all alone. Included in this ‘package’ of the New Testament is for us to become family. The Son inaugurated sonship. He was “not ashamed” to become our Brother (Hebrews 2:11-18/2 Cor.6:17-18).
So how is it that we bring tis extraordinary identity our life? Is it by a token “alter call”, prayer or ritual? Is it by trying to emulate a vague notion of what it might mean? Did Jesus talk about sonship and then expect us to pretend to be so? Why then would Jesus succumb to leaving heaven and being tortured on a cross? If any of these efforts could win God’s favor, Jesus could have stayed by His Fathers’ side.
To participate in The Grand Design of sonship we must come INTO the living Jesus. We can easily be misled to think that Jesus is passive towards us when our lax efforts do not trigger some kind of experience. But in every New Testament encounter Jesus is seen to seize upon any opportunity to engage anyone with REAL heart-response of faith and humility. Faith causes us to seize a spiritual aspect of understanding.
I clearly remember how I used to think of a distant Jesus. He was a historical Icon, of the past, Who prompted my catholic sentiments. I thought I had to eliminate all bad behavior and implement good behavior. “Yikes. That ain’t happening.” I thought that was all I got from God: law. So I asked and sought, “Am I missing something?”and received, far more (Mt.7:7).
One day someone showed me a passage in the Bible. I remember how my eyes “came out of my head” and latched on to two tiny little words. I just knew they offered the answer; Born Again (Jn.3:3). Then, long after I read those two words, I was again captivated by verse 8. Jesus describes born again (Jn.3:3-8). Not a little prayer. Not moral perfection. My heart had been opened and now I realized the Spirit is “the wind”.
One day Jesus met a pretty lady at a water-well in a desert. She had seven husbands. Imagine that. He explained the outcome of rebirth; “whoever drinks the water that I will give will never get thirsty again — ever! In fact, the water I will give will become a well of water springing up within for eternal life” (Jn.4:14). This is the Holy Spirit. Do you know this water?
Like a raven riding a current, a son senses this identity in the freedom of living in the Spirit. Like the wind, He IS the voice of the Shepherd. Our fleshly senses must be transformed, as we yield our self to the cross (Rm.6:6). We go beyond ourselves into a new sense to discern His living Spirit (Heb.5:14) .
Please realize, my friend, all sin can become easily forgiven. This is no question. But the lack of reality in the living Jesus exposes a void of truth that will result in repeated episodes of failure. Humble yourself. Changing your present will change your future. Oftentimes in life, we sulk in self-pity; “Poor me. I have no one. No one understands me”. It seems so harmless, almost warranted, but it is lethal. When we become self-consumed, we become an obstacle, not a channel to His love. The truth is if we allow self-pity to fester and grow it will become lodged in our mind as habit reaping far worse circumstances. A gradual decline is assured by presumptuous delusion. Repent. Before it’s too late realign thinking in the ways and power of THE LIVING Jesus.
(Please bear with me as I write from Brazil in the midst of working in the prisons and on the streets. I will need to find the time to finish this article. Thank you.)
Jesus thought “I’m coming for you my brothers. I’m doing the work now, in My life, that you need for your life.”