Jesus In 3-D

 

  "Jesus and His disciples left Galilee and went up to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. As they were walking along, He asked them, 'Who do people say I am?' 'Well,' they replied, 'some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say You are one of the prophets.' Then Jesus asked, 'Who do you say I am?' Peter replied, 'You are the Messiah.' " Mark 8:27-29

 

3-D movies have been popular since the 1950's. They are always billed as making the viewing experience more real and vital. I can still remember as young boy my older brother returning from a John Wayne western he'd just seen in 3-D. I remember him telling me that it looked like the horses were literally running off the screen and into the theatre. It was so much more than the usual one or two dimensional images he was used to. I wonder if there is not much of that same element in the western church as to how we view the Christ we say we love, worship and live in?

When Jesus asked the disciples as to what the popular opinions of the day concerning Him were, He got a wide range of answers, none of them correct. When He asked who they believed He was, Peter rightly answered, "The Messiah." Yet, even knowing that, Peter and the other disciples had no real grasp as to the depth of what they meant,and to the fullness of who He really was and is. Pentecost would open up a whole new understanding of who He is for them. Jesus said that with the coming of the Holy Spirit, His Spirit would teach them ever deeper truth as to who He, the Father, and the Spirit were. It's a teaching that will go on far beyond this lifetime and into and throughout eternity. This being so, why is it that we, particularly in the western church, seem so sure that we know just who He is, how He will act, and what He will and will not do? Why do we try to keep Him on a "flat screen" when He is constantly seeking to, and will, leap out of it onto us? He is not one dimensional or even three, but multi-dimensional, and infinitely so.

Whatever your current thoughts concerning who He is are, know this: Jesus is more than that. However you think He'll behave in a certain situation, know this as well: Jesus will not be constricted by yours or my expectations. The Father said that, "My ways are not your ways," and we say we believe that, but in reality, I don't think we do. Particularly as concerns Christ. We think He will love like us, relate like us, choose like us, and live like us. "Us" and not Christ is really our center of reference. 

The examples in the gospels are almost endless. How many pastors would really send the rich young ruler away if he came through the doors of our church? How many of us, when people say they want to join our fellowship would we say, "First, you need to count the cost. Then you need to be willing to surrender all to Him, and then take up your cross and join with Him." Who would be willing to turn away big crowds by telling them that to have Him would mean giving up everything that is not Him? These are very hard words, and I admit, I tremble at the need to speak them. But I fear even more to not do so. James MacDonald said that if our preaching does not cause people to leave our churches saying, "This is a hard word. Who can receive it?" then we do not have the ministry that Jesus had. How welcome in many of our churches would the Jesus who said these things be? I'm thinking not any more than He was in the Church He spoke to 2000 years ago.

Like Peter, I know He's the Messiah. Like Peter and the rest, I have been learning for over 35 years how deep the meaning of that name goes. I still want to know even more, and I still tremble at what that may mean. But I want a Jesus who leaps out of the all the boxes and yes, leather bound bibles I have sought to keep Him in that I might know Him more. Yes, I want to know His Word as I read it, and I want to know the Living Christ as I do so. I know He's real. I want to know how real He is. How about you?

Blessings,
Pastor O 

 

 

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