Saturday, November 5, 2011

Bloody Jesus

When I ask you to picture Jesus, what do you see? What’s His personality like? Of course He’s perfect, but that’s not really telling us anything about Him. To say He is perfect is like saying “perfection is perfect” or “goodness is good.” Do you see a strong Jesus? One with power and authority over things? The one who can calm seas, move mountains, heal the sick, and let the blind see? Or do you see a common Jesus? One who is simply a great teacher and a prophet, who has good ideas but little more? The carpenter Jesus perhaps. Do you picture a broken Jesus? One hanging on the cross with blood pouring out of His side and a crown of thorns on His head? Maybe you see this bloody Jesus who, even if He did exist, clearly didn’t have the power to save Himself.
When I ask you this, I’m not asking for the correct answer; rather, I’m asking for the honest answer. It’s a completely different thing to think of Jesus as perfect and powerful and to actually experience Jesus in perfection and power. It’s similar to the difference in believing God exists and believing what God says. It’s much easier for us to just have a great “idea” of who God is than it is for us to actually live under this thing called grace, to actually walk in the presence and with the spirit. Unfortunately a good idea only requires intuition and imagination, not belief and faith. Belief and faith are what God has called us to walk in and to uphold. I don’t know about you but I’m tired of having a wild and radical imagination while having a boring and slow moving life.
Change is real. Power is real. Grace is real. What have you done to deserve them? Nothing. In fact, I’d say it’s an insult to God when you try to earn Him because you’re saying His death and even His life wasn’t and isn’t enough- as though His gift of salvation and a fulfilled life is somehow lacking. The reality is that grace is given to the humble, and salvation requires an act of humility. It requires saying “I’m broken, please fix me because only you can. I can’t do this alone anymore.” The reality is that faith is manifested in those who believe. I say all this to say that change and growth are not dependant upon what you can do and can’t do, they are dependant upon what He has done and is doing. All you need to do is believe.
We will never see the world be changed by a God we don’t believe in, or a God we think wrongly of, like a weak and helpless Jesus. We will never be impressed nor follow a God who is reduced to only a good man because we already have good men, and as admirable as they may be, they’re messed up just like we are. We will see the world changed by a God who is powerful and glorified, who gives us grace and shows us mercy, who flows not only around us but through us. Once we start to believe in this Jesus of power and authority, and we begin to walk in the same power and authority, then and only then will lives be saved and captives set free. I encourage you my friends to cast your eyes to heaven, and to no longer doubt or be influenced by fear, but to believe in and receive from this God of infinite splendor and glory.

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