July 25, 2009

Eden... Nazareth... Thessalonica...

Jesus Christ was God's second Adam - God's second chance to have a man live the way He'd always wanted, on Earth. Of course, the baby Jesus was not omnipotent in that manger. He had emptied himself before coming into his creation. He had to learn, grow, increase and be filled up again with G0d's righteousness.

In Him was Life. He was in very nature God. But that Life had to Grow. His divine nature developed along with his human body and soul. He grew. By the time he was "about thirty", he was grown. But before he was grown, he was growing. While growing, he was also - very significantly - living.

Nazareth was God's second Eden. Christ had to learn, as a man, how to walk with God in a spiritual way. Jesus lived by every word from the mouth of his Father. Those words were Life, so Jesus ate Life. He bore the image of God - he WAS the image of God. When he walked around living by God's spirit inside him, people were seeing what God looked like. But I'm not talking about Jesus' ministry years. I'm talking about his carpenter, good son, good neighbor and big brother years.

In Nazareth, God's Man was doing what God always wanted. He was fulfilling the law by loving his Father and everyone else. He was choosing each day to do everything only in ways that were pleasing to the Father. He wasn't only growing. He was living. He didn't only come to die. He came to live. Life. Abundantly.

Nazareth was the prototype for Joppa, Lystra, Berea, Thyatyra, and all the other first century churches. What God did with Jesus in Nazareth he wanted to do again and again with men and women who would ingest his divine nature, become one with him, partake of his spirit, and learn how to incorporate Life into life. The brothers and sisters in Thessalonica had to do what Jesus did in Nazareth. Learn. Grow. Increase. Be filled. Submit. Live by God's spirit. Have Life. Abundantly.

Eden was eventually built over with stones - Living Stones - that God himself cut, hammered, polished and built (together) into streets, gates and a wall - but no temple. His glory filled all of them. The Tree and the River were still in the center. The Root and the Flow of His Life were now, finally, surrounded by more than simply one Adam, one Cornerstone. God's New Man had multiplied, filled the earth, surrounded it, and kept out the creeping thing.

There was no progression of strategy here. It was always the same. God kept his deal with Israel, but he started a new deal when Jesus came into the world. The old deal had been a one realm arrangement. The new deal was going to be two-realms at once. Just like Eden. Sticking out of heaven. Sticking around for a while. In various places on earth.

Where I'm from, we called this "the church".

My point today? Nazareth is as significant. Nazareth needs more attention.

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