God Speaks To…

Jesus Christ is God’s final word to humanity, and Jesus Christ is God’s final word to you, and he speaks.  Its an ever-Living word, and Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, unchanging, and so God is speaking to you through Jesus Christ even now, to each one his or herself, each one of you.  God speaks to our fear through Jesus.  Don’t be anxious, don’t be troubled. He walks to you on the stormy sea, in the middle of the night in your fear, and says “don’t be afraid, it is I.  You’re not alone.  You’re not in the storm by yourself.”   Jesus walks to you on stormy seas and tells you Don’t be afraid.  Fear not little flock.  This is the Fathers good pleasure, to give you his kingdom.  This is the word of a God spoken to us in our fear.

Jesus is the word of God spoken to us in our fear, and he says Oh little flock,  don’t be afraid, it’s the Father’s good pleasure to give you his government, his kingdom, so that we are liberated from the anxious need to fight for our rights in the misguided understanding of what it means to be a liberated people.  Because Jesus has said to us, Don’t be afraid, you don’t need to act out of anxiety, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

God speaks to our sin through Jesus.  He forgives us of our sins and calls us to follow him and leave our sin behind.  He calls us to be forgiven and sin no more.  He finds the woman caught in adultery, he sends the accusers away. He asks her Did no one condemn you?  Where are your accusers?  She said no one condemned me.  Jesus says I’m not the Satan, I wont condemn you either.  I forgive you, now go and sin no more.  

He comes to the house of Zacchaeus, a known sinner.  But he comes to bring forgiveness and announce that salvation has come to this house, because Jesus Christ came to seek and save sinners.  And so when we look at the cross we see God’s final word on sin revealed in Christ.  When we look at the cross we see two things at the same time.  We see that which is ghastly and ugly and hideous beyond imagining.  What we see in this ugly, tortuous death of a naked man on a Roman cross, is we see what our sin does to Godwe see what our sin does to perfection.   What do we see in the cross?  We see our sin sinned into Jesus.  That which looks ugly is made ugly because we see how ugly our sin is, when we see how hideous the cross is.  

But at the same time we see unspeakable beauty because we find the beauty of forgiveness and reconciliation.  We find the God who is reconciling the world through Christ to himself, so we hear the Son speaking to the Father in a trinitarian dialog saying Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.  God speaks to our sin in Jesus…

God speaks to our greed through Jesus.  Here’s a man listening to Jesus teach, and he says “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Luke‬ ‭12:13‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  Isn’t this often just how we pray?  “Jesus will you tell that guy, XXXXX, something…??”  This guy wants Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance.  He’s going to keep all the money for himself, that’s not fair, that’s not right…And the Christ of perpetual surprise says to the man not what he might have anticipated.  He gives those listening a parable and tells him My friend, listen to me, watch your heart, Beware of every form of greed.  Because even when a man has abundance, his life does not consist in the things he possesses.  So that greed is the false hope of life for those who are spiritually dead.

God speaks to our pride through Jesus.  Here is the one who comes among us as God.  The petty kings, the Pharaohs, the Caesars and all of those, they all, once their empire gets great enough, make some kind of claim on deity for themselves.   The Pharaohs end up deified, the Caesars get deified.  They try to be God on earth, because they live in palaces, they reign over kingdoms, they wield scepters, they hold swords.  Well surely, we must be gods after all!!  Yet when God does come to us as a man, he’s not born in a palace, he’s born in a stable.  He’s not laid in an ivory cradle, he’s laid in a feeding trough.  He never does wield a scepter, but he uses the towel to wipe the feet of his disciples.  He doesn’t win his kingdom by a sword, but by a cross.  So the the apostle says to us “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians‬ ‭2:5-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬.  Because he humbled himself…

God speaks to our hatred through Jesus.  Reading tho Old Testament alone and you will have plenty of options to find God endorsing your hatred.  Some of the Canaanite passages in Joshua, some of the imprecatory psalms, it’s easy enough to cherry pick the Bible you can find God endorsing your hatred.  But Jesus comes along and undoes all of that!  He says no, we don’t play that way anymore.  Jesus had 2 disciples, James and John.  He gave them nicknames “Sons of Thunder”.   But the leading scholarship now on the Aramaic word used here says that what Jesus was really calling them was “Sons of rage.”  As we were children of wrath, James and John were truly sons of rage.  They lived up to the name.  They didn’t like the Samaritans, really didn’t like them.  They were their ethnic enemy, their political enemy, their national enemy.  They were offended by them, and they were an affront to them, so they said Let’s call down fire from heaven on them!  C’mon Jesus, let’s nuke ‘em!  Let’s go shock and awe!   Sometimes we hear Christians who just want to kill ‘em all and let God sort ‘em out.  Some think maybe we need another Hiroshima.  That’s what the sons of rage, the children of wrath are saying.  C’mon Jesus, let’s go shock and awe, let’s nuke ‘em, let’s call down fire from heaven on them!  And Jesus says directly, You don’t know what spirit you are of!!   The Son of Man did not come to destroy lives, but to save lives.   But here’s the thing – John stays on the journey with Jesus, and this Son of Rage is transferred into the apostle of love.  Because God speaks to our hatred through the final word that it Jesus.  If you receive that word it WILL change your life…

God speaks to our weariness through Jesus.  We are caught up in a system of acquisition and achievement, and everybody’s rated and graded and stratified and we’re giving out medals…you’re on the top or bottom, you’re upper, you’re middle, you’re lower, all based on acquisition and achievement.    We find ourselves as the human race in a race, except it’s not human.  We all know this, but we get caught up in this madness that says what we have to do is acquire, we’ve got to achieve status, we’ve got to satisfy our ego.  We’ve got to be important among other people, but we know in our hearts  what’s wrong with it, that’s why we call it a rat race.  The truth can change a man in the wisdom of his days, it whispers soft but constantly, you can not live this way.  You can not live this way, you can not live this way.  And Jesus says  “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28‬ ‭ESV‬‬.  Come and learn from me, I’ll be your rabbi, your mentor, your professor, I’ll be your teacher, I will teach you a different way to live and you’ll find out that my disciplined way of living, it’s an easy yoke, it’s a light burden, and it won’t crush you and kill you or give you high blood pressure and cause you to die at 50

John Lewis

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