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Emmanuel—God with Us!

23 Jun
from Google Images

from Google Images

Did you ever watch a little child watching you or as the child watched someone else?[1] I remember watching my little girl, my firstborn daughter, watching my hands as I ate a meal. Carefully, she took her plastic fork and tried to hold it like I did mine. It wasn’t exact, of course, but she was trying to eat just like me. I remember the thrill in her face when she took her first steps; again, she wasn’t as steady on her feet as her Mom or I, but that did come later, after much practice and many falls. She was never discouraged, but seeing others walk caused her to want to use her feet in the same manner for mobility rather than crawling on the floor.

I love math, but in my early grades of school I hated it, especially around the time I had to learn to add and subtract fractions! I simply couldn’t pick it up no matter how well the teacher taught. Out of frustration, I would simply put down any number for the denominator and hand in my work. It wasn’t until my teacher took me aside after school and walked me through it all, that I saw the light and suddenly I could see what I was unable to see before. Like a light turned on in a dark room, suddenly all the shadows made sense.

In a similar manner the Gospel is preached effectively, but the problem is much of Christianity today is simply saying what’s true, preaching what’s true and believing that is enough. To be painfully honest, it isn’t. We speak of a God with us, but we expect a world to understand our words, while we refuse to be with them. We believe that, because we are not of the world, we should not rub elbows with the world. ‘Don’t touch the unclean thing’ has become our motto. Nevertheless, Jesus got down and dirty in order to save us! Why do we believe we can preach the Gospel to the world without exemplifying the Gospel before them—i.e. becoming a part of their experience, helping them reach their goals and letting them see us live out Christ in us while we do so. We need to stop cursing the darkness and turn on the Light and let the world see Jesus (cp. John 12:21).

If the Light we show can only be found in the church pews, how can the Christian influence the world in any manner? Haven’t we become a lot like those whom Jesus advised us to avoid? Who were they? They were the leaders of Judaism in the first century—the Pharisees! They sat in Moses’ seat—the position of authority. Sure we should do as they say; after all, not sinning is good for the soul. However, Jesus told us not to be like them—not to act as they did. Everything they did was to be seen by others in order that they, the Pharisees, would be praised for their great morality. They would lay heavy loads of responsibilities on others, but they wouldn’t lift a finger to help shoulder those loads. They were the generals who weren’t seen on the fields of battle, but they commanded the war (cp. Matthew 23:1-11)!

This was not so with Jesus. Jesus never required any of his disciples to do anything he (Jesus) didn’t first do in their presence. He calls to us: “Come to me all you who are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Learn of me, for my yoke is sweet and my burden light!” (Matthew 11:28-30). Jesus came to us and dwelt with us (John 1:14). He didn’t safely stand at a distance and give out commands to those who wished to have life. He took flesh upon himself and lived among us; he was rejected, misunderstood, unknown, betrayed, made light of, judged wrongly and crucified. Never once did he complain that we couldn’t do what he was able to do. Rather he kept on living his life before us until we were able to see, and follow—until he drew in and breathed out his final breath (Luke 23:46).

It may be a scary thought, but the truth is—“the student is not above his Master!” (Luke 6:40). As Jesus did, so should we, not from a safe distance, but getting down and dirty with the folks we wish to influence for him. We dwell in a city without walls. Every country in the world has its borders and guards them from the infringement of an enemy, but the Kingdom of God has no borders. We are sent into every nation—to the ends of the earth, and there we claim disciples for Christ through living out and the preaching of the Gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).

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[1] As I said HERE, this current theme about the person of Jesus is based upon the book: The Jesus Style by Gayle Erwin. They are my thoughts about his book. He may or may not agree with the impression his book has made upon me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading what Gayle wrote and recommend his book to anyone who is looking for a good read about Jesus.

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Posted by on June 23, 2015 in Jesus

 

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