Scripture: Genesis 30-31, Psalms 16-17, Mathew 19-20
Observation: I've been totally blown away by the person of Jesus over the last few days. I must admit that I never spent much time in the Gospels before, I thought I new the story of Jesus. I didn't know it as well as I thought I did. Jesus was not soft, he was not apologetic, he did not shy away from truth. He was nothing short of revolutionary. I once heard someone say that Jesus was the man whose existence was powerful enough to split time. B.C. and A.D. I used to think that was a bit of an over dramatization. I see now that it isn't. The human story consists of two parts, before Jesus - and since. Time itself points to the cross. I've heard these things before, but I never really payed any attention to it. It sounded like Christian rhetoric, like pastors with talking points. Not so much now. I've only spent like two weeks reading the story of Christ, and I'm blown away by how powerful his life and words were. He's a very different man than I thought him to be. (I'm not talking here about his identity as God or the power of the cross. I'm speaking only about what he looked like as a man). Its hard to imagine what Christ would look like today.
I mentioned briefly before that I wonder how Christ would be accepted today. I'm even more nervous about it now. I've begun to notice that Jesus is rarely in conflict with culture or sinners (he confronts sin) it seems to me like Jesus' biggest beef is with established religion. That makes me nervous. Are we the second coming of the Pharisees? Have we changed Christianity into something it was never meant to be? I don't think so, but I think we're flirting with it. We are soft. We change the Gospel message to make it sound appealing - to gain acceptance. We talk about Universalism, we deny the existence of a real hell, we've even gone as far as to equate other gods with our God. (They are not different words for the same thing). Why? So people like us. We conform to society. A lot of us are wimps. Most of the rest are jerks. We reject and condemn society. We make rules that aren't in the Bible and refuse to associate with people that break them. We isolate ourselves. We judge - we attack - we destroy. We need to engage culture without conforming to it.
Application: Its too easy to pick an extreme. The middle is hard. In the middle you have to engage. The Bible is full of absolutes. The black and white. Its easy to stand on those, its easy to ignore the gray. Its also easy to surrender it. To pretend there is no right answer or only right answers. We should be bold enough, well equipped enough to engage those topics. We should be ready and willing to lovingly discuss the difficult. If we say nothing or offer only apologies the world is lost. We need to lift up the name of Jesus - tell his story - tell our story. The world needs to hear the truth. We can't water down the message. We can't back away from the debate.
Prayer: Father God, help me engage. I want to live like Jesus. Love like Jesus. To have compassion. To be bold, so I'll stand on your truth and fight with your strength until you bring the victory - through the power of Christ in me.