Monday, June 28, 2010

The Man from Nazareth


"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." -John 1:14

If you were God & could design how the Messiah would come, what would you do?

1. Issue- The smallness of Jesus.
Some people today assert that Jesus cannot be the Messiah. Their reason is similar to that of a child who has a birthday party and receives under his expectations. Or in haste beholds his presents and then says, "That's it?". Some expect that the real Messiah would be famous, well-received by His people, and accepted by all the world. They believe that when the Messiah comes, it will be a time for celebration & will be so big that the world will not miss him or her. If Jesus is the Messiah, to them it seems like a fireworks show that never had a lasting grand finale. Jesus, in their opinion, was kind of a "dud".

2. Big picture of Jesus- He is the key figure in history
Well, lets look at Jesus, from a big picture perspective. Jesus, unlike Mohammad or any other religious leader, actually did miracles, fulfilled prophecy, and rose physically from the dead. He, an obscure man from Israel, from Bethlehem & Nazareth, two small towns in the Middle-East is known all over the world. Even back then, non-Christian historians wrote about Him. He is the central person of history, He is the person which all are divided over. This one man has forever changed the world. Either you embrace Him as your savior, or you grince at the sound of His name. All major world religions have a place for Him, but all reject Him (which is why they are considered different religions, unaccepted by Jesus). He is the pivot point, the stumbling block, the sword, the great divider. He splits up families, and forges new ones, He heals the sick, raises the dead & causes people to reject Him. He was the one the Hebrew Scriptures pointed to and who the New Testament books talk about. The main gist of the Scriptures is- If you know Him, you know God. If you don't know Him, you cannot know God.

3. So, why then doesn't everyone embrace Him if He is the Messiah?
However, in this assumption, or neatly contrived formula, of how a real Messiah would be received, they forget one element. They forget human pride, sin, depravity, greed, lust, selfishness, impurity, and the rest of the evil that men focus on. Most have their lives planned out and don't want the interruptions a savior would bring. Pride says, "I will handle it myself and don't need saving.". Lust says, "You mean I gotta stop this? Well, maybe when I'm old." and may never reach that point.

As to the Jewish people- Many Jewish have embraced Him (tens of thousands). Most have rejected Him. One day, Israel, as a whole, will receive Him when He returns. As for those who have rejected their Messiah & died, there is no hope (same outcome for the nations).
Back to the fireworks show- The prophets advertised the upcoming show, Jesus was the fireworks show, the grand finale was the Father resurrecting him from the dead, the journalists reporting were the apostles & Church.

4. Many do embrace Him. To many He is HUGE.
Pulling back out- people from every nation, every culture, most every language (maybe even all languages) have embraced Him. He is the one who can cross all racial, ethnic, and language divides, because He is above all of these. He reaces to the nomad in the Negev & the king in Uganda. He reaches the executive at Marathon and the trainer at McDonald's. He excites the heart of the homeless man on Lower Wacker, and the shepherd in Mongolia. He give hope to the brother in North Korea, and the woman with cancer in Findlay. He reaches out to and saves the heroin addict, the hooker, the athlete, the intellectual, the doctor, the party animal, the engineer, the dancer. He offers salvation to the atheist, the Muslim, the Baptist, the agnostic, the homosexual, the drunk, the arrogant, the fool, the wise, the Bali dancer, the pole dancer, the writer, the lifeguard, the jock, the rejected, if they would receive Him. And each can come, just as they are and receive him as He is.

The picture is big, the choice is personal.

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