Friday, August 19, 2016


In the Gospel accounts we see Jesus miraculously reversing many consequences of the fall- the hungry are fed, the blind are made to see, the dead are even raised. This prompts a question which Dr. Halverson posed in his book relevance, "Why did Jesus not remain alive and eliminate, generation by generation, all the evils that plague fallen humanity?" After posing the question, Halverson goes on to answer the question by pointing out that it would be silly for a physician to merely treat the symptoms of a disease if it was within his power to eliminate the disease entirely. That is certainly true, but I don't think that quite gets to the heart of the true reason why the broken body and the spilled blood are better and more excellent than a Jesus who remains alive like an almighty Sisyphus to make whole again and again, day after day, generation after generation, what is perpetually being rebroken.

The very question betrays that in the hearts and minds of some, as John Piper once put it, "Jesus is viewed more as useful than precious." What is desired most is something that Jesus has within His power to provide and not Jesus personally. Such a person is not concerned that their sin has separated them from God. They’re fine with the brokenness the divorce and alienation, so long as they can be made comfortable in their separation. By sinning and choosing others things over God, we  as a race have broken covenant with Him and moved out, and in so doing we have brought all this misery and suffering and separation onto ourselves. All that is wrong, painful, twisted and sick in the world was born when Adam and Eve decided it would be better to be gods than to trust in God. And now, all us sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, all of us who cheated on a kind, generous, faithful God, have the gall to now insist that because God is rich and it is within His power that he should pay our bills, clean up our messes, and fund all our dates with the world. There is a way of approaching Jesus that asks Him to heal, feed, provide, comfort and keep alive, without ever truly asking for Him or desiring Him. Why did Jesus enter history and lay down His life on the cross? Because we were alienated from our Heavenly Father who loved us and wanted us back!

You show me a “Christian” who desires the benefits of Jesus more than Jesus Himself--- one who loves the gifts more than the giver--- and I will show you somebody who probably does a lot of things for Jesus, but who has never done a single thing with Him. Christianity is not principally about getting something from God, but about getting God Himself.  It is not about doing things for God either, but rather doing things in Him personally and through the power He provides.

Jesus doesn’t want anything from us, His aim was to gain us personally. He said “For even the son of man came not to be served but to serve.” Paul quotes Jesus as saying " is better to give than to receive." Those are not the words of someone who wants something from us. We don’t have anything he wants or needs anyway. We can’t do for Him. However, because He loves us He wants to give us what we need most--- HIMSELF. We need Jesus more than we will ever need healing from disease or food to eat. Those needs exist to point us to a deeper hunger, a deeper healing that is needed.  That’s why the cross was preferable and more excellent than if Jesus had remained alive indefinitely using His power to continually remove the consequences of the fall. Our sin separates us from God, and because God is a just and righteous God that sin must be punished, but amazingly Jesus, who is God, took that punishment onto Himself so that we could be reconciled to the Father.

Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father not to make us comfortable in our state of separation.

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