This is going to be lengthy….
I don’t think we know Jesus at all. We know of Him. We know His likes and dislikes. We know what He wants. We know what He said. But do we know Him now? There is a big difference between What Would Jesus DO? and Watch What Jesus Does. I think our problem with this has something to do with the beginning of the story.
You know. The garden with all it’s trees. In Eden was lots of trees, but one we could not eat. The tree of knowledge of good and evil. Basically, the tree of rules. It was a lovely tree. (There was another specific tree in the garden. The tree of Life.) Adam and Eve ate of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and then suddenly a lot of stuff went wrong. But the one thing that is in every person born since that day, is the curse of that tree. It is our driving force. It keeps us alive. It is the one place we return to for every answer for every question asked. Right versus wrong. What is right? What is wrong? It is ingrained in our humanity. It is the source from which we live. How did the humanists put it? – “That we should try to live happy and fulfilled lives and help others to do so and the way to achieve this is to live responsibly, thinking rationally about right and wrong, considering the consequences of our actions and trying to do the right thing.” I like the “trying to do the right thing” part. Doing good things. Who will decide what is good for whom? All the ethics can be tricky.
As an example, look at children. When they play a game there are certain rules. And oh my, watch what happens to the child who does not want to play according to the rules. They make up rules as they go along. Was any grown-up involved in the standardisation of those rules? Nope, don’t think so. Then where does the rule-making come from? Something inside themselves? Check yourself. You live in a certain way. The reason for that has to do with a combination of your inborn personality, the environment you came from and the surroundings you are currently a part of as well as the values you believe in. Is there any person in the world that agrees 100% with what you believe? It could be close, but there would be some differences. The post-modern person will say that truth is all relative. I agree, but watch what happens when my relative truth crosses your relative truth…:-) People really know how to fight over something that is relative….:-)
We see right and wrong in the movies. There is this constant battle between good versus evil. We see it in everyday life. More important, we see it in ourselves. And it goes a little further than that. In the eastern philosophy we have the dual concepts of yin and yang which describe two primal opposing but complementary principles or cosmic forces said to be found in all non-static objects and processes in the universe. Ying and Yang entwined. The one cannot get away from the other. We have sayings like “opposites attract.” Day, night. Sky, earth. Beauty and the beast. There is a time for everything.( Ecc 3:1) You name it. We assign consciously and unconsciously duel meaning/truth to everything we encounter. Off course there are lots of instances where we haven’t made up our minds yet, but the seeds are there.
What has this to do with knowing Jesus?
Well, Jesus came and said the following.
I AM the living bread
I AM the light
I AM the door
I AM the good shepherd
I AM the resurrection and the life
I AM the way, the truth, and the life
I AM the true vine
Please notice something.
He did not say. “I will show you A way.” He IS The Way.
He did not say. “I will show you how to get life.” He IS The Life.
He did not say. “I will show you what the truth is.” He IS The Truth.
Joh 15:1 “I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener.
Joh 15:2 He breaks off every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and he prunes every branch that does bear fruit, so that it will be clean and bear more fruit.
Joh 15:3 You have been made clean already by the teaching I have given you.
Joh 15:4 Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.
Jesus was there from the beginning. The tree of LIFE. A different source of living every day, lies in the Person of Jesus. Something that cannot be contained by right and wrong. Something that cannot be contaminated by right and wrong. A God of LOVE and LIFE.
This then, leads to a few questions.
Question 1. “What do we, as christians, have to give those around us??” Do we give them rules? Rights and wrongs? Or do we give them Jesus? Remember we can only give what we have. This is really a scary thought.
Question 2. When you look at yourself, what/who do you see? A new creature? Someone born again? Out of what???
Joh 3:5 “I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus, “that no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.
Joh 3:6 A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit.
And this new baby. Are you considering that this baby has to grow? That this baby does not know everything? That he/she needs family to care for him/her? That this is a journey? That this baby will only know LIFE by living in HIM? This is not instant process. It’s a lot like everyday living. Everyday you learn, through experience, something new. Do you know with all your heart that you are loved? If Jesus is the best thing that happened in your life, and He is all about love, what keeps you from Him? A voice telling you, you are not worthy? That Jesus’s standard is to high for you? Where does that voice come from, because it is definitely not His voice.
Question 3. Where does that leave the church? Is the church a place of rules? What do we hear when we go to a meeting? The correct things that must be done and the wrong things that must be eliminated? Is that what we hear when preaching is done? The reason I am asking is the reason for this post. (This has nothing to do with the preacher. It has to do with our hearing!!) When Jesus says something, what do we hear? When Jesus says: “Come to me”, do we hear “ONLY WHEN…” added?
E.g. “ Come to me ONLY WHEN you’ve stopped smoking.
Come to Me, ONLY WHEN, you’ve stopped being hopeless.
Come to Me, ONLY WHEN, you’ve stopped lying.
Come to Me, ONLY WHEN, you’ve stopped being useless.
Come to Me, ONLY WHEN, you’ve stopped sinning. etc. etc.
Is the church people where all people can find a place of rest? Where their burden is off-loaded? Or is the church a like the older brother, angry, that any prodical can just arrive as if nothing has happened.
Remember at the beginning I said that we do not know Jesus? What do we give to the people in our lives? Usually, only what we have.