Monday, May 2, 2011

The Story of Scripture

The Story of Scripture: Leaving It All With All You Have 5/1/11
Isaiah 9:6-7, John 1:1-18, Philippians 2:1-11

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled the most successful kingdom in the whole wide world. He drank out of golden goblets, the finest chefs prepared the tastiest and healthiest meals imaginable, what he said was law, in fact, he was the law and the rule. He lived in the finest palace and was well liked by everyone. The people thought he could do no wrong, hard for a someone in government to accomplish. Oh yeah, did I mention the weather was always 70 degrees and sunny?

And one day, the king got up from his elaborate bedroom, ready for another day of policy-making and luxury living. He looked outside his palace and decided that he should give it all up. And he did. He got dressed, and walked out the door. He found a humble dwelling near the edge of town, and asked to stay there in exchange for his 12 hours a day of hard manual labor. The king went on to live like this for the next three decades, and then he died.

Quite a story, isn’t it?

It is a story not unlike the story of our King: The King of kings.

During Lent, we focused on the prophets, and their message of repentance and return to the Lord. During Easter, as part of our year long study of the story of Scripture, we will look at Jesus Christ.

Our focus will be on Jesus and the roles he filled during his time in Israel: Jesus was God and human, Teacher, healer, miracle worker, story teller, Lord and Savior.

What Jesus did was like an episode of Undercover Boss, only his reward was to bring the sons and daughters back into the presence of God and grant everlasting life. Jesus said, “Here I am, and the children God has given me”.

Jesus: Left it all
Jesus: with all he was, continued in God’s service.

Jesus becomes the mystery: God and human.

I was trying to think of a way for us to wrap our minds around this concept. And I think I found one in the ballpark. I’ll give you three clues to whom I am referencing:

1. Faster than a speeding bullet
2. more powerful than a locomotive
3. able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Is it a bird? A Plane? No, it’s Ubermensch!

Came from a far away place to earth (Kansas)
Taken in and raised by human parents
He was human and super-human (Clark Kent and Superman)
Strong morality for the purpose of bettering humanity
Man of Steel and Man of Tomorrow are nicknames that could fit Jesus.
Sought to right wrongs of the era’s they lived
Ubermensch is coined by Frederick Nietzsche, who envisioned a
perfect man beyond moral codes, where Superman and Jesus, live
within morality and culture.
Fought social injustice, tyranny, racism
Emerge out of Great Depressions as Hero’s to the masses
Yet as immigrants, they seek to balance living between two cultures
Men of Peace (original Superman wasn’t, but he takes a vow not to kill)
Superman’s Kryptonite name: Kal-El (Hebrew, voice of God)
Powers caused loneliness on earth
Die and later come back to life

Superman a fictional character
Superman’s appearance is distinctive
Extraordinary feats of strength that break the laws of nature
Batman: admonished Superman for being too human
Commentary: “Only a man with superpowers can survive in this world”

No longer an American citizen, he joined citizen non-violent protestors in Iran, urging for a change in the government, the Iranian government viewed this as an act of war, and the United States National Security Advisor sits Superman down to talk, upon which Superman decides it is better to fight injustice from a global perspective.

(I’m not making this up—

Ultimately, Superman gets our imagination working, and our minds exercising, so that we can pursue a deeper knowledge of Jesus. But like all human examples, it does fall short. Scripture provides our best guide.

The Prophet Isaiah, 800 years before Christ is born, is predicting what the future Messiah will be. What does he say about the Messiah embracing deity and humanity?
Wonderful Counselor: with wisdom and knowledge straight from God
Mighty God: remember, the Jewish perception was the Messiah would be a human, and yet here, for the first time, is also referenced as deity
Everlasting Father: eternal
Prince of Peace over David’s Throne, ruling with justice and righteousness

With God, was God, was with God in the beginning
In the world, but the world didn’t recognize him
Word became flesh, and dwelt among us
Embodied grace and truth
God has made him known

Being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped
Made himself nothing, and took on the nature of a servant
Made in human likeness and appearance as a man

For you and I: we are called to follow this Christ with all of our heart, strength, soul, spirit and heart.

We are called to leave all that hinders us from Christ behind, and to follow the Lord with all we have.

We are not God, but Scripture does provide descriptions of how we should become: godly, Christ-like, Spirit-filled. We are not to be like the world, we are to leave that behind. We are to be like Christ, going after that with all of our might.

And we do not do this alone: alongside others we become like-minded, having one love, being one in spirit and purpose. We do not live out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but we take on humility. We consider others better than ourselves. We look out for other people and their interests. We take the attitude of Jesus Christ.

The end goal of being Christ-like is eternal life. In Christ is light, the light that shines before all. We all will bow, but it is better to bow with Christ’s life within us, rather than the forces of darkness.

God exalted Christ to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven, and earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Christ is Risen! He has risen indeed.

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