September 22, 2009

The Promise of Nazareth - 2

[Part 2 of 2] Jesus of Nazareth was every bit as human as we are, so he must have had an advantage. John's Gospel shows us (more clearly than the others) that the Father was intimately involved in Jesus' life. He was not a puppet master. He was not a taskmaster. He was not a power ring. He was a Father. Somewhere between birth and age thirty-four, Jesus learned how to pray, listen for, hear and talk with his Father. Most of us with human fathers will barely be able to relate or imagine what this must have been like, but their relationship was the context for everything.

If he lived by his own teachings, then he must have been living with Encouragement. Therefore, like probably none of us since, Jesus of Nazareth spent three decades practicing God's presence. That ability grew. It developed. Baby Jesus was not quoting the scripture and teenage Jesus was not doing miracles. But from childhood, Jesus took strongly to heart the two "greatest commandments". He genuinely sought to love God with a holistic devotion. His love for the least was love as unto His Father. Thus, the Father was Jesus' advantage. The Life of the Father was in Him. He had emptied himself, but the one thing Life does is, it grows. Over three decades, it filled Him up. Life, abundantly.

On Easter Sunday night, Jesus gave his disciples the same advantage. Life came within. When the church was born at Pentecost, and in Samaria, Peter & John gave them the same advantage. God's Spirit could now move within them. Thirty days after Pentecost may or may not have been as strong an advantage as thirty years in Nazareth, and beginning any serious pursuit from childhood always pays tremendous long term dividends. But He gave Us this same Advantage. Thanks to the Cross, we should understand that God's expectations have far less to do with our lives now, than God's Hope.

The Law came through Moses. Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law and pleased God. Thus, Jesus Christ brought us God's Favor. Christ lived by God's Life, abundantly, and I think He did that partly just to prove it could be done. But if He did not live that Life, then how could we honor Him for asking us to live that Life? Expectation and irony have nothing to do with the Sermon on the Mount. Idealism is closer, but still not quite right. The practical truth is that only the Life of God can live up to the standard of God. But that Life is Jesus Christ, in His Spirit. And that Standard is Jesus Christ, who still delights His Father.

By the way, if you're not quite that full of Him yet (like the rest of us) don't sweat it. Stay rooted in His Life within. Drink in the water. Stretch to the Light. And keep growing. That's what Life does, after all. In Nazareth, Jesus Christ had this Life, this advantage, beginning to develop from a fairly early age. We are older, but we are like Him in that we need time to develop in Life, after becomming believers. We now have the same Spirit in our human spirits that was in his human spirit. Plus, we have his blood. Plus, we are in Him who is eternally pleasing to Him.

The fact that Christ pleased God, in Nazareth, is something we should really celebrate.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Wow.
Amen.
Thank You, Lord.

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