Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Beauty of Christ - II

In what has been labeled, the "Triumphal Entry", Jesus - the Son of God, Savior of the World - enters Jerusalem riding on a mighty, never-been-riden...donkey.

What's a king doing on a donkey? This was his last hurrah. His final salute. Why not rent a chariot? A few stallions?

No, Jesus specifically chose a colt of a donkey.

"Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here. If anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' you say, 'The Lord has need of it'; and immediately he will send it back here" (Mark 11:2-3).

Of course, all of this comes to pass just as Jesus proclaims. But, that's nothing new to the disciples. What's ironic is the mode of transportation. Or is it?

Like the washing of His disciples feet, Jesus continues this lowly, humble and servant-minded attitude. He wasn't a wet-noodle. He stood for things. But, even through this act, He was trying to teach his followers something.

Jesus - who came for the sick, the prisoner, the widow, the poor and discarded - clothed Himself in humility. Even extending that lowliness to His transportation choices.

It's all a part of what makes Christ, so beautiful.

O God - do a work in my heart. Make me humble, like Christ. Help me to be amazed at how Christ came and cloaked Himself in lowliness - serving those whom he led - and taking the lashes that should have struck my body.

We also know that someday, He will return in glory. This time, not on a donkey, but on a mighty, white horse, coming to judge and make war on His enemies. Let our humility start at this knowing (Rev. 19:11-16).

For you are the just and the merciful KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Amen.

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Beauty of Christ - I

One of the most remarkable events in the earthly life of Jesus took place behind closed doors, in a room with his disciples. It was the twilight of Jesus' ministry - and unbeknownst to them, he was continuing to teach them what it meant to carry your cross...

"Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter." (Jn. 13:5-7)

Here was the Son of Man, the "foretold" One, the Savior, King Jesus, on His knees, doing the most lowly act - reserved for servants. This is not how a king acts. He needn't stoop so low as to serve those who should be serving Him? It was a disgrace..

Or was it? Jesus - the epitomy of what a man looks like; of what a true leader looks like - humbled Himself and did the most base of acts. It's utterly amazing.

In this world, we rarely see such selfless, pride-less, acts by our kings and leaders. That is what sets Jesus apart from them. He didn't need the accolades of man. Or, their respect.

His life was to be about the business of His Father: to restore God's righteousness, to redeem His children, and to make such a spark, that His short earthly life still reverberates - some 2000 years later.

The uniqueness and beauty of Christ is like no other.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Foolish of the World to Shame the Mighty

At first glance, the bible seems to have gotten it wrong.

"The foolish things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.." reads 1 Corinthians 1:27-29. But, shouldn't it be the mighty will shame the foolish?

For those who love the world - the answer is a resounding "yes!". The mighty will always win. The fittest shall survive. The wise, will show the unwise a thing or two. The glory, belongs to the victor!

Now, if you have been set free from the praise of man and acts of self-aggrandizement, your answer will be a humble "no".

It is by the means of "worldy foolishness" that Christ often achieves his ends. And He does so because it offers Him the most glory.

Christ chose 12 ordinary men, some with backgrounds in fishing and tax collecting. None had a high level of scholarship. Why not chose a governor - a president or a king to join the group? Or, a great athlete...or a fine musician?

He chose 12 ordinary, average, run-of-the-mill, "John Does", because it gave him the greatest chance to make Himself shine. Christ was not in need of great scholars or mathmeticians or wise men. No, Christ needed no counselor. What he needed most were men who were willing, obedient and "sick". None of these men had great levels of amptitude with which they could rely on or boast in. They could not glory in their achievements as a great orator. Nor, could they hold up their intellect as something to be praised.

These were men who would unwittingly radiate Christ. And, they did this by being fallen, and in-need-of-a-savior type men. They made Christ look good - not on account of anything great they did - but because of what Christ had done in and through them.

Just 12, ordinary men. With an extraordinary Savior.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Does Grace Taste Bitter Sometimes?

Before his brutal death at the hands of a fellow prisoner, mass murderer Jeffrey Dahmer became a Christian. And, by all accounts and several witnesses, his conversion was sincere. God used one faithful woman with a deep conviction that the Blood of the Lamb could extend even to a merciless killer.

At the cross next to Jesus, were two criminals who had been sentenced to death. One of them was repentent: "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" To which Jesus replied, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:39-43).

It would seem that on account of the mere acknowledgement of who Christ was, this criminal was saved. He would enter the kingdom of heaven. He was covered by the Blood.

Now, I pose a question. How does this sit with you? Does the thought of Jeffrey Dahmer residing in heaven with you leave a bitter taste in your mouth? Is there something about it that just doesn't taste right? Or does this rescue of a wayward and lost child taste sweet to you? It's a tough one, isn't it?

If you are one who holds your righteousness on a platter before God, on the basis of your church attendence, your giving to the poor, and your obstaining from certain lusts, then you aren't likely to enjoy the saving of an 11th hour saint.

Buried underneath the heart of the journeyed Christian, can reside a deep bitterness at such news. Instead of rejoicing at such a saving act, we relent and complain like the prodigal son's brother.

Oh Lord - help us to rejoice at the news of another brother or sister who you have rescued and let not our hearts grow bitter at your perfect timing.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Spirit of the Lord = Freedom

In Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, he writes "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." (3:17)

Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ means we (as Christians) enter into a new life. That life does not lead to more slavery of rules or regulations. It leads to freedom. We have already found out that trying to follow the "law" will ultimately lead us to condemnation. The law in and of itself does not save us - it shows us our great need for a savior.

But - oh! - through that Savior there is a great canopy! Cover yourself in Jesus - dive into His great mercies and you will find freedom; not condemnation.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Christ Jesus: The Real Superman

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, “Superman Returns” is an epic tale of more than just a super-hero sent to save mankind. It is cloaked in Christian imagery and verse. I would highly recommend it, largely due to the fact that it can fuel your love for Christ more because He can do all that Superman does and more. Christ is THE Superman. The amazing and jaw-dropping feats accomplished by the screen character aren’t just fiction. Christ Jesus is more than capable of sending a tsunami packing, stopping a falling jet, or more importantly (and larger) of delivering the world from it’s sin (which the movie character cannot do). (And, there is no kryptonite which can thwart Christ’s hand.)

So when you’re in the theater watching, I hope your love for Christ increases and is inflated. That you will not be directed to glory in another human achievement of movie-making, but that you stare heaven-ward and that your heart overflows with all that Christ is. He is more powerful and greater than our own hearts can conceive.

Hoping and marveling at the True Superman: King Jesus.

Here’s an article about the parallels that are being reported: