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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Envision the Gospel - Story

The story of Jesus is…

What comes to mind? What do you think of when you think about the story of Jesus? If you’re like me, you grew up hearing the story of Jesus being born and dying. It seemed like that was the only reason to talk about Jesus. Preachers could make any sermon come around to the point of Jesus dying on the cross for your sins. But what if there’s more to the story of Jesus than that?

Let me affirm, that Jesus death on the cross and resurrection from the dead was incredibly important. Nothing I say should take away from the gravity and value of what Jesus did on our behalf, rather I think that the story of Jesus should add to the value of his sacrifice.

Jesus’ story is the story of Eden. Jesus came to call us back to a time in a garden where people walked with God in the cool of the day, to a time when shame and fear were unknown, to a time when love was assumed and hope was an ever-present reality. Jesus came to open our eyes to the moment when God surveyed all of creation, crowned with the formation of humanity, and he declared it to be very good. God walked among people in Eden and then didn’t do it again until Bethlehem (or crawling, I guess).
The story of Jesus doesn’t stop, however, with the death and resurrection of Jesus. He didn’t give up on his vision of God walking with people when he was nailed to the cross. He didn’t abandon the vision of Eden when he was crucified. Jesus is clear that the story continues, and even gets better, with the coming of the one after him. As he’s giving comfort to his disciples toward the end of his life, Jesus says to them: “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14.16-17)

Did you catch it? The story continues. Jesus work doesn’t end with Jesus. He tells his disciples clearly that he came to show them the Father and that now the Spirit (from the Father) will be within them. The Spirit will be within us too. But, the world won’t know or accept the Spirit who is unseen. Jesus came to make the Father known so that the disciples could accept the Spirit.

Our story is to make the Father known so others can accept the Spirit. We, through the Spirit, have stepped into the role of Jesus. We continue the story that he started. No, we’re not dying for the sins of the world. Instead, we’re living to show them Eden. We’re living to show them what it is to walk with the Father as a friend, to show what it is to live in community without shame, to show what it is to love each other fully.
What’s your story saying?

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