Monday, February 17, 2014

The Being We Call Jesus


It is widely accepted that the word “God” comes from a Germanic strain. Although its original etymology is sketchy, and it came to serve as a catch-all for the Divine Being. But it also is nebulous and non-specific and is used by all sorts of religions and even non-religious people. The Old Testament used the tetragrammaton “YHWH” which specifically refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We would say Yahweh or Jehovah. Those are certain names which refer to the one and only Creator of the universe.

But when we get to the deity that came in the likeness of sinful flesh we must trace His name back to what we call Yeshua or Joshua. Yes, the name of “Jesus” is actually Joshua in the Old Testament pronounced “Yeshua” in the Hebrew. It means “Yahweh/Jehovah saves or delivers”.

Matt.1: 21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

So Mary was instructed of the angel to call the child Yeshua, or Joshua. Many of the Hebrew names reveal some attribute. And this child, born of a virgin, was to be called “Jehovah delivers” because He would deliver His people from their sins. This baby would have many names including Emmanuel” which is “God with us”. People who say they believe the Scriptures but deny the deity of Christ are just being disingenuous at best. In fact to deny the deity of Christ is blasphemous and is at the very heart of the overwhelming majority of cults. Both the Jehovah’s Witness and the Mormon cult deny this truth.

But sometime in our month of September or October the God-child comes forth and is born into an animal shelter. He is laid in a trough which was used to feed animals. We have come to see the word manger in sentimental terms but in fact it was a place where animals ate their food and salivated and drooled. I am sure insects travelled extensively within that trough as well. That was the first “home” for this divine child. To say it was humble beginnings is to be generous. We would not allow our child at any age to lay in a feed trough. But here was God the Son wrapped in swaddling clothes which were strips of cloth meant to keep the baby from too much moving. Of course we now can see they were a picture of wrapping a dead body. One day this child will also be wrapped in death.

We state in our theologies that Jesus was God in the flesh. Oh how easily those words run off our tongues. But let us pause and meditate upon the true meaning of those words for to use them like we use words in a assembly instruction for a child’s toy is oh so demeaning and it leaves an unsearchable amount of priceless treasure on the doctrinal table. This child was born by a meeting of Mary’s egg and the Spirit of God. That alone should make us ponder such a thing. The incarnation is a neat little term we use to say God became a man. But how it happened, to say nothing of why it happened, is a miracle of miracles. It is so fantastic and so surreal that most men can never allow themselves to even consider it.

But when the Spirit opens a stubborn or even a seeking heart and that inconceivable truth becomes a reality to a sinner it is a magnificent gift of grace. Mary, a chaste sinner, was chosen to be a vessel through which God would come. And when I say God I speak of the Creator who is also known as Jehovah. Many of the names of God are for our benefit. The Father, the Son, are used to give us some perspective but many times we see the Father as God and Jesus as a smaller God. That is wrong on any level. I cannot even attempt to unwrap the mystery of the Trinity, but Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit are one. They are all God from eternity past to eternity future.

The Apostle John tells us through the inspiration of God’s Spirit that Jesus was the Creator. He is identified as the Word and He created all there is and ever will be. And we call this Word Jesus. And this baby lying in an animal trough is the Creator God. Can you even begin to allow that thought into your heart and your mind. We are not speaking about economics or morality or patriotism here. This, my friends, is holy ground. Some attempt to create a Jesus who is one of the guys, but this child was God in the flesh and in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Oh my. Can we even dare to imagine such a thing? This truth we call the incarnation is a monumental event which after it has run its course will change the destiny of many sinners and seal the fate of many more.

For over thirty years God walks among men, and even as a man. It is way beyond our comprehension to even imagine what thoughts go through this God man’s mind. He is the eternal Jehovah and yet He has a physical mind. So what does He know at age three? Age seven? We do have a short account of when He was twelve and listening to and teaching in the Temple. It slowly became obvious that this young child was different that the others. In a few short years it would become obvious that He was infinitely different. Do you ever wonder what He looked like and what His voice sounded like? I believe the Spirit was careful not to reveal those things because we would have been consumed with those things and not His Words of life and His ultimate sacrifice.

The Roman Church makes all kinds of relics and suggests there is some magic to them, but that is all vain idolatry. Our calling, our pursuit is His Being, His glory, His mystery. The Scriptures declare that God is a Spirit. So just what is a “spirit”? We imagine some kind of smoke or invisible cloud but that is as far as we can go. To be honest we cannot even accurately define a spirit much less surround our pitiful minds around the Creator. But God’s ways and purposes are always many from one. The incarnation was used by God for many things, but of course the cross and resurrection was Christ’s ultimate mission. But God in human form also served as something man could grasp and something we could understand on a child’s level.

So when we think of God we must think of Jesus. Make no mistake it is still a soaring mystery but He in His grace has removed the veil of Moses and revealed to us just who God was and is and always will be. This Being, this Jesus, is not just a reflection of God which helps the Spirit teach us about Him, but He IS God. And although God is all powerful and all knowing and all present and eternal in the heavens we are still granted a glimpse of His unfathomable Being and upon that glorious glimpse we are called to worship. We must learn of Him and speak of Him and think of Him and live in Him.

This Being will always be the only Being that can give life eternal and genuine life here on earth. And just by learning of Him through the ministry of the Spirit changes men. His words are spirit and life and just by reading it can change your heart. And when a sinner who was unaware of who Jesus really was is enlightened by the Spirit and now sees the true and living Jesus as His Lord and Savior, well that sinner’s entire life is changed both here and now and forever in eternity.

There are so many mysteries connected to Jesus. How can someone who has never seen Him be so moved by His beauty that he is literally broken and moved to tears? How can someone who has never heard Him speak still hear His voice? How can someone look up at the ceiling and yet still see and worship Jesus even though he cannot see Him? How can someone who has never been in His throne room suddenly sense His presence in a grocery store line? How can someone read written words in a Book which he has read many times before and break down into tears? How can things be falling apart all around you and yet in a moment you are filled with His peace? Only those who have met this Being and have called Him by His name can ever understand these kinds of irrational mysteries.

And so, after we unravel all the neat doctrines and all the ecclesiastical machinations of men, we are left with what we began with…Jesus. This Being, this God, this Resurrected Lamb now reigns supreme and awaits His own return to claim everything for Himself. It sounds like some far- fetched fairy tale but I assure you that His reality is present and regal, and His coming will be with power man cannot even know. But instead of placing His power or vengeance today He offers His sacrifice to all who will repent and believe.

And therein lies the greatest mystery of all. A holy and August God creates man and this God has endured rebellion after rebellion and blasphemy after blasphemy. And although the Creator has been so kind as to give man life this creation has set up any number of idols and worshiped them. So without shame or sorrow man has sinned against his Holy Creator as if He was nothing. And then, in an unspeakable act of love this same God comes down in the form of this same sinful man. And He knows, oh He knows, that even with all the rebellion and blasphemy and dishonor and idolatry He has already endured, this Being called Jesus knows He is coming to suffer what can only be seen as a cruel and painful death at the hands of the same sinful man that still commits all kinds of sacrilege.

And why? What could possibly be the reason for Jesus to come and publicly be tortured and mocked by His own creation? There are no words really. All we can do is retreat into painless mantras like “love”. But oh how can we even pretend to know and even use such innocuous words which are so convenient and easy and fit so nicely into our 500 piece doctrinal puzzle? This Being, this Jesus, is beyond us when we think about the cross. This is much more than just love. In fact, there are no human words that can even provide a small glimpse into the motivation. I guess the only word we can use is “cross”. The stripes the thorns the whips the lashes the spittle the mocking the robe the plucking the nails the spear the suffering the bleeding and then the death. Go ahead, add it all up and multiply it infinitely and you have the love of God which must never be confused in the slightest way to the love of man.

This is God. This is the Creator. This is the Being we call Jesus. This is our Lord and Savior. There is no other. He will not be used for our earthly schemes. He did not suffer and die so that we can gather all we can upon this earth. You call yourself a follower of Jesus? Well you are called to the path He walked. It is sometimes lonely and is filled with many sacrifices. But in eternity you will be ushered into the very presence of this Being we call Jesus. And upon your very first glance you will be broken beyond words and you will worship this Being in all His majesty and glory.

And we will call Him the Lamb and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and He even has a new name written that only He knows. But we will always know Him as Jesus. Oh yes, my Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen and amen.


Lorena said...

I am so unworthy of Him, Jesus, my Saviour. His sacrifice, His grace, His mercy...everything. He truly is Love, and Loves.
Thank you for this encouraging account on Jesus, Rick my brother.
How great our God is!

Annette said...

Wonderful post! Just awesome!

Among the penned words lies the unfathomable simplicity of Christ of which you summarized briefly. Sometimes I just have to ask myself, what have we done to this Life Giving and Life Breathing Gospel?

Keep speaking it, Pastor Rick, just keep speaking it for we have ears to hear! Blessings to you and all of your readers!

"The grace of our LORD Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen."
Revelation 22:21

Ditto Lorena...."How great our God is!"

Anonymous said...

How I need to be reminded every day of this mystery.

When I start to get a little confused about the Godhead:

John 8:58: "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am".

Another one that is so compelling to me; John 10:28, 29, and 30: "And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, "which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. "I and my Father are one."

Another amazing revelation and most beautiful prayer of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane: John 17: 4 and 5: "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was".

And finally, these verses, which are so powerful: John 17: 10 and 11: "And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world and I come to thee, Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are."

It is so awesome!! Praise our Lord Jesus!!