So Jesus came, turning the tables on the prescribed way of living (the way we’ve always done things, the only living we’ve ever known). He challenges our view of life and the world and says, “Not that way…that way leads only to devastation, destruction and death as you clamor for position, power or perhaps prestige. Follow me, my yoke is easy and my burden is light. I came to give you rest for your tired bodies and wearied selves. I came to show you what is right, O man, that you would love justice and mercy and would walk humbly with your God. I came to serve not to be served and to give my life as a ransom for many. And I came to seek and save 'the lost, the sick, and the sinners.'”
Do you truly understand those categories though? If anything other than God takes first place, first priority, is the first thing you think about when you awake and the last thing you’re pondering when you lay down to sleep, then you too find yourself in the “lost, sick, and sinner” category. Hard to swallow? That’s pride, also in that category. ;) I don’t mean to sound harsh, I’m just trying to get you to pause long enough before simply dismissing a category that may need further exploring.
Jesus came and offered Himself FOR you and offers Himself TO you.
FOR you, because in our attempts to do life our own way we’ve wandered far, and along the way, have lost our way. Look around you, with all the violence, hate, anger, struggling…something’s gone terribly wrong. Our failed attempts to “fix” the problem surface from our desire to some how make sure our own needs are getting met. We’ve created a tit-for-tat, what’s in it for me, kind of world where everyone scrambles to get to the top, climbing over anyone who may be in their way, along the way. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer.
Jesus says, “Not that way, friends…I’ve come to show you the way, the real way to live where peace, joy, mercy and grace are offered in abundance to all who are willing to accept my gift. No stipulations. For I’ve loved you with an everlasting love and desire that you come to know me too.”
“I lived before you life as it was intended to be. I did this by challenging life as it has come to be defined. Instead, real life is defined by a steadfast love that brings freedom in place of rule-keeping. Friends, out of my immense love for you, while you were yet sinners, I came, took on the sins of the world and brought you life!”
“I came to set things right (justice) and to make all things new. You not only have value but you are precious in my sight. You are my treasured possession that I’ve come to seek and to save. In Me you’ll find real life. A life that gives instead of takes, that looks out for the interests of others, considering others better than yourself. A life that binds up the brokenhearted and sets captives free. Where mercy and grace reign and all things are just. I’ve come to bring complete healing and wholeness to you, precious child, and to this world.”
And TO you, because He longs to make Himself known to you. To live with you so that you truly find everything you need in Him. He’s your refuge and your strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble. He’s your hope and your true joy. He sent the Holy Spirit to lead and guide you, to empower you to live boldly yet gently and respectfully for Him, to offer this same living hope to others. He’s blessed you, with Himself, to be a blessing to the world, by spreading God’s kingdom under King Jesus’ good and perfect reign. Though now we know in part, one day we will know in full! For now, knowing that He is for you, friends, and that nothing is too hard for Him, let’s continue to live out this “already and not yet” reality, trusting steadily in God, with an unswerving hope and an extravagant love for all.
Praying your voice will be found among the many who exclaim, “Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20) for, in You, we have found life!