God’s word, or…
I am getting a bit tired of all the interpretations and commentaries of the scriptures by preachers and teachers of ‘the word’. I feel disturbed by the sheer cerebral exercises that abound in the Christian world.
Why do we find it so difficult to accept and understand the word as it is presented? Why do we have so many interpretations? Is it because we do not want to simply obey it and are trying to find a way to avoid obedience? Is it just a business to gain more wealth? If there is no monitory gain how many people would really write? I wonder!
The person of Jesus
I want to look at the person - the Man Jesus. This is how he was seen by most of the people in his time. A carpenter from Nazareth, Mary’s son. Then he began to do things that slowly changed some of their opinions. During the three years Jesus did various things:
· Jesus performed miracles and wonders
· Jesus had encounters with various normal people
· Jesus taught by straight talking and through parables
· Jesus demonstrated through His actions
In the book of Acts, Peter said, “Jesus - a man accredited by God through miracles, wonders and signs”. God gave credit, honour, glory and declared that Jesus was special - His beloved Son.
So the purpose of the miracles that Jesus did was primarily for the disciples to have faith in Him. (John 2:11) These things are written for us to know and believe that Jesus is the Son of God and receive eternal life (John 20 30-31)
What about the Man himself? How much did He know to start with? If He emptied himself of divine nature (omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence) and took the form of a man, then his position and ability was very similar to Adam in his un-fallen state. Then how did he know all that he knew?
As a child he heard the stories of his people and God’s dealings from his mother. Year after year he went to Jerusalem to attend the Passover festival and watched and discussed the meanings of those rituals. Every Sabbath he listened to the scriptures read in the synagogue. He spent time with the written word and had times of reflection.
As the days went by a greater awareness of God and his purposes began to crystallize in His mind. A picture began to emerge like a photograph in a darkroom. The hidden messages over the centuries began to make sense and he found his roles and goals in those words. In the OT he found The Code—not the Da Vinci code (!) but the Nazarene Code. It was all about how to live and how to die
He found the pieces of the puzzles of his life in each book. In fulfilling those identities he found the purposes of his life. He enacted the bits and pieces of history and made history. In history he saw His story. The meaningless stories of the past became meaningful history.
Jesus said it again and again – that the scriptures had to be fulfilled.
The Word of God…
The word of God spoken by God in the past had power and creative life of its own – waiting to accomplish what it was sent to do. The word is referred to as the seed – something with potential to bring life. All those words, promises were buried in the scrolls waiting to become alive and real in the chosen one.
Jesus became that person who made the word FLESH. Now those meaningless disconnected words became a walking and talking reality. The Man found all those words and he became the MISSION of those words. Both the Word and Man found each other. Spoken word became Living word – a life centered on the purposes of God. The Man had no other interests than fulfilling the words spoken. All his moments were defined by the word. He became ready and the word made him ready.
The one who came from God longed to reveal God. He became tired of all the mis-representations of God by religion. So He began His teachings to reveal the true heart and mind of God. He presented a radically different God – absolutely unbelievable to the religious kind.
Then he dies and is brought back to life. He continued to make promises. The biggest of them is Jesus, His Life and His Spirit, are mine. This looks like an impossible offer. Can this be true? Do I dare to believe this? It’s a very personal offer, a gift. His life can be lived out just like He lived. Breathe In and Live out Christ. What a Challenge to us in the 21st century!
His Father, my father
His Spirit, my spirit
His Love, my love
His Life, my life
His Style, my style
The scripture is written to generate faith that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God and in believing in Him I may have His Life and all that this means. So instead of avoiding the central issue, I need to face it.
Become flesh... to me
Now what does it mean? Yes I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I believe that I have eternal life. Now I need to find my role and goal in this world. Just like Jesus, I need to look at the Word. I need to allow the seed to take root in my life so that His words may find a home in my being. His words need to become Flesh in my world. I need to learn to think and feel and act likes Him. I need to unlearn my old ways of relating to God and people. Jesus is the most loving person. This means that I have the potential to live a life of real love. He lives in me and as I interact with him thru his words, His spirit can form Christ in me. Jesus talked about eating and drinking him – a remarkable way of describing our daily diet. This changes my outlook on so-called bible studies. It is not for more intellectual knowledge and stimulation but for living the way he lived.
I need to be soaked in him so that in my encounter with the world outside, Christ is displayed and experienced. It means acceptance and rejection. It’s a call to enter into His life fully. All that He experienced will be my experience also. I may fall away like the disciples in many areas but slowly and steadily, I will be transformed to His image. I will never fall out of grace – this is His promise.
What an exciting offer!
He has put us in families and societies to learn this new lifestyle. I have a lot of unlearning to do and I find it hard. It is easy to live the way I always lived. But I know the deep restlessness and unhappiness that it brings. I want to look at all of life to express the life of Jesus. Every encounter with people is an opportunity to love unconditionally. Every day is a new day to know my Father’s love. Every opportunity is a chance to live the message of The Kingdom of God.
The simplicity of Jesus is amazingly attractive. Do I have the courage to leave everything and follow the lover of my soul?