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Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Greatest Got The Worst

Why is it that the human heart is always wandering? Nothing seems to be ever good enough and I am always thinking about the “next” change in our lives… the “next” house, the "next" career, the “next” thing to buy, the “next” trip to take… Is this what it means to be a (fallen) human? To always be seeking after the “next” thing for fulfillment? Of late since returning from vacation, we have been contemplating what the “next” thing in our life is going to be, because after being challenging and convicted by “Crazy Love”, obviously our current way of living is not “good” enough as Christians. I have thrown out some wild and some not so wild, but still big life changing ideas to Lynette in the past few weeks. Which is right? Which is wrong? Which is holier?, etc. Contentness is lacking. How do we be truer to God than we are now? When is what we are doing enough? Is selling everything, going to seminary, and living a life of self-imposed lack of comfort the way to demonstrate radicalness? or is that just stupidity? I thought I would give it all a rest, to just stop my wandering heart, and just be content in the moment and live.

Our pastor has been preaching on the book of Mark this year and I definitely have not really been paying much attention. Between work and being on-call, raising our children, going on vacations, living life… not a single sermon preached has made any impact nor do I remember any of them. Is that a sad statement or what? To belong to a church and have my pastor intensively preach on one book all year long and yet, not be able to recall any one point he has made. It is a failure of listening on my behalf and a failure of not desiring God. Last week, the sermon series continued and he was apparently trying to tie what Mark has to say into changing the way we serve at church. He asked just for each person to just take 5 minutes out of our day to think about a particular point in his sermon outline – sounds simple, right? I mean… 5 minutes a day for a Bible exercise, that’s not asking much at all. Well, all I did was get as far as Monday where I briefly thought about point #1 – “The Greatest got the worst”. What happened to the rest of the week, I cannot really say other than I would momentarily remember that I was supposed to take 5 minutes to think about one of his sermon points, but then forgetting about it and feeling slightly guilty the next day about not doing it.

The Greatest got the Worst – What this means to me…

“IN THE BEGINNING GOD”… in complete unity between God the CREATOR, God the WORD, and God the HOLY SPIRIT – had a plan to create a world to be enjoyed by mankind, his crowning creation. “Let Us create man in OUR image…” We were to be his representation as stewards over creation, in an eternal love fellowship with God. We lost that when we desired what Satan enticed us with over what God said. Given the freedom to choose life, man chose death. But God already knew, He had a plan. It is difficult for me to intellectualize that when God created man, he already knew that those He created and declared VERY GOOD would fall and desire more than just being the great legacy as God’s children that was already bequeathed, thereafter continue to run away from His will, and that He would ultimately have to be the one to save us. Why would God go to all this trouble for us? That is just the way He is... He LOVES.

As a husband and father of a 3 year old and a 1 year old, I am amazed at the love that lies within my heart for my family. I love being married to Lynette, and I love being a daddy! In the union of man and woman we reflect God’s nature. The love for my children as a father knows no bounds. In my limited humanness, I would say that my love for them is limitless. I would do anything for them. If they hurt, I would do whatever was within my power to alleviate their pain. It hurts me deep inside when they cry. Even if it cost me my life to protect them then so be it. As a responsible parent, I correct them when I see that they need correction and manipulate and mold them in order to teach them because they do not know any better since they do not know how the world we live in works. They may not like it when it is happening but the final outcome is to their benefit. So too, I am beginning to better understand how God must feel and why God did what He did for us.

A God who doesn’t love would not have done it this way. The Bible would have told a different story. An imaginary God would just erase/destroy what was created and start over again. An imaginary all-powerful God who doesn’t love would not want eternal fellowship with us. But a real God who loves us and considers us as His children, would try to save us, would die for us if He thought that was the only way we could be saved. And what a bold and selfless plan it was…

Born not into comfort but into the humblest of settings, God the Word became flesh! Jesus, the Christ, came into the world as 100% human, yet still 100% God, chose to limit himself as a human being, in order to show us the way back to God, in order to reconcile us to God. We all know how that went – the audacity of what man did to our God… he was rejected, mocked, beaten, ultimately physically destroyed in horrific fashion, pierced… bled and died taking upon himself, the weight of humanity’s sinful acts against God. The blood aspect of the sacrifice never really meant much to me, but I have found new meaning now that I think about it. What is so significant about blood and sacrificing in the Bible? Why did Jesus have to die for us?

As a physician, blood means life. It carries oxygen to our vital organs necessary for the maintenance of life. When someone is injured in trauma, bleeding and dying, what do we do as healthcare providers? We give them a blood transfusion to try to save them. Blood however also is what ties us together as a family. People talk about bloodlines. It is a identifier of who we are as a human race. I can see how Jesus by willingly choosing in the manner he did, proved that he identified with mankind by becoming one of us, then dying/sacrificing for His children, in order to save them. It’s what any parent would do for their children. It’s what I would do. He suffered as no man ever did, our sinful humanity covered by his personal sacrifice thereby propitiating God’s wrath, claiming a blood heritage between the all powerful God and the creation man, tying God and man together once and for all, in order to show us the depths of love that the one true God would go to in order to not destroy his children. By rising victoriously over death he showed us that He is the one true God and pointed us back towards TRUTH. This God-man, servant-King, related to humanity through blood, showed us that ultimately the source of eternal life is in and through Him only. This is why in the end (as the song goes) ,every knee shall bow… every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.

This is a story I can relate to. This is a story I can believe in. This is a story that in my heart I can sense as true. For only a father would willing do such a thing and die for his children in such a manner in order to save them. The 5 minute exercise this past Monday of thinking about "The Greatest got the worst"... is TRUTH. However, I failed the rest of the week in thinking about much else!

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