Quotes of Jesus

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly!"--Jesus

A Special Message from Andy

If you are new to this blog, I invite you to begin reading the We Are At War series with its first installment The Reality posted in January 1, 2012. All other installments are posted in sequential order.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We Are At War: Man on a Mission Part 2

"For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost,"--Jesus from Luke 19:10 (NIV 1984).

A large majority of the Church is not accustomed to attributing words such as fierce, wild, and warrior to the name and reputation of Jesus. It is much more comfortable with meek, mild-mannered, nice, and humble. These terms tend to stand in stark contrast to the others like a ketchup stain on a white shirt. One of our fears in ministry is the assumption that we prefer one set of personality traits to Jesus over what has been long preserved in the traditions of the church. If we want to attempt to fully understand Jesus and learn to trust him, he must be taken in as a whole. He is all of the above and a whole lot more. A further look into his mission will shed more light on the man.

Simply stated, this is a search and rescue mission. "We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19). One of my all time favorite films is Saving Private Ryan. It is a story set in the Second World War of several army rangers handpicked to save a single paratrooper dropped deep into enemy territory. It is a mythic representation to what Jesus is out to accomplish. Jesus must go deep into enemy territory on a rescue mission of epic proportions. On the surface, the mission hardly seems worth the risk. However, it will prove to be his greatest accomplishment. The likes of which would require the guts of a Navy Seal.

What is Jesus really after? Notice the verse says "what was lost." We tend to use this verse to refer to lost souls without the hope of Jesus by saying "the lost". There is no problem using it in that way, however, the implication is not limited to the salvation of persons. Jesus is offering restoration of the whole person, namely the Image of God. He is not trying to scrap the project, nor is he just simply wanting to salvage what is left. His business is in restoration of what was lost. Jesus is after the whole person, transform them by restoring his glorious image and likeness, making them new.

This will not be easy. In fact, it will require even more than a warrior's heart. It is not a "lust for blood" that drives Jesus, it is his passionate love for us that compels him to stage his invasion of the world. Jesus is not looking for "subjects" to obey him (obedience has it's place, but that is not all Jesus calls us to). He is looking for lovers, or intimate allies who will join him on his mission to retake the world. This is why Jesus seems to be so shy when it comes to demonstrating his power. Love cannot be forced. It must be chosen. "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45 NIV 1984). He fights for us, because he loves us.

Winning over our hearts will require even more than service, it means he will have to die. Philippians 2:8 says of Jesus, "being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!" This is a passionate move of love on the deepest level!

The heart is tenderized and we are awakened to the beauty this man emanates. When we see Jesus as all of what he was meant to be as a warrior, as lover, everything comes into focus. He lives as both, not to confuse and distort one way over another. Rather, they complement in him a need to both love those in need and at the same time take a stand against evil. In a world at war, Jesus is the fierce warrior come down from heaven to face the stench of the enemy and give his life to save his beautiful beloved bride, the church. We live in a captivating love story set in the middle of an awful war. It is in Jesus, who inspires our love and confidence, we place our hope.
"Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5: 25-27)

I know there are men who are uncomfortable with the understanding of Jesus as intimate lover for obvious reasons. This is part of the great distortion of the evil one and a message like this can dissuade rather than invite confidence in Jesus. It must be understood, that it is the church who is the bride of Christ and not us individually, men or women for that matter. In keeping with the Scriptures, the love Christ has for the church can only be likened to that of a husband and wife. It is the deepest knowledge of love that we can understand in this world. Individually, we love Christ intimately, not in a sexual sense, but more like a Son and his Father, or better a band of brothers on a shared mission of dangerous proportions. It was Jesus who chose twelve men who followed him and loved him. There were several women, as well. They looked up to him and enjoyed his personality and companionship, none of which was sexual in nature. Take Jesus in as much as you are comfortable with. Like any relationship, it takes time. With every encounter with the words and personality of Jesus, you will learn to trust him more and more.

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