Who do you say Jesus is?
An historical figure and that’s it? A good guy, but not for you? Someone who demands too much? A fake? Someone who made outrageous claims?
As I read Ann Voskamp’s post today entitled, “How to Make Your Life an Endless Celebration” which I highly encourage you to read, I was reminded about the depth of sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for me. For all of us.
Everything about His life shows that He came with an attitude of a servant. From the way He was born, to the way He interacted with others, to the way He gave of Himself in death. A humble servant who considered His life worth nothing. He was a man who suffered physically, emotionally, and mentally. A man who took the weight of the world’s sins upon Himself to bring us, the ones who had fallen short, the ones who do wrong, the ones who spit in His face and reject Him, into right relationship with God. What could have possibly been His motivation to endure the cross other than love? He was stripped and beaten and cursed. For nothing? Oh, no. For everything. He came that we might have life. Abundant life. To know grace. To know forgiveness. To know freedom from our own sin and wretchedness that binds us so heavily at times. And because He considered Himself nothing, and became obedient to death, God exalted Him to the highest place, giving Him the name that is above every Name!
Yes, I believe that you, Jesus, are the Christ, the Son of the Living God, who came into the world to save us from death. I believe you died. And I believe you rose from the grave! You are the Way. The Truth. The Life. And your way is that of a servant. Your way is love. Your way is forgiveness and goodness and mercy and redemption and reconciliation. Everything good comes from You. You are to be esteemed and glorified. You love those who hate you. You love even me, although I fail time and time again. You pursue us and long to draw us to Yourself. For You want all men to come to a knowledge of the Truth.
Believers in Jesus, we have been called to be servants as He was, to love as He loves, to give of ourselves so that others may see His glory and goodness, to see lives changed for eternity. Eternity.
So as I think about the proposed Quran burning in Florida on 9/11, I think of all the reasons why this is unnecessary and harmful. And hurtful. What good will come of it? What is the point? Vengeance? I think of the Christians across the globe who could be jeopardized, both their witness and literally their lives. And as been reported, what about our troops? It puts them in harm’s way, too. Very clearly in my mind, however, is a 13 year old girl who just purchased a goat for milk. She is a fantastic artist and loves to learn. She has short, dark hair and deep, dark eyes. Her name is Rubina. She lives half-way across the globe in Bangladesh, a predominately Muslim country, and we’ve been delighted to get to know her through Compassion. As she hears word of something like a Quran burning in the United States, what is she likely to think as an impressionable young girl who, aside from our family, has a limited understanding of Americans (and thereby Christians) that she receives from the news or Hollywood? Let that question sink in a little bit and put some fear and trembling in all of us.
There’s a whole world of people out there beyond our American borders. Yes, our neighbors watch. And lest we be mistaken, young boys and girls like Rubina who live half-way across the globe watch, too. I want to show them Jesus. The Jesus who He says He is in His Word! The Jesus who could only do something as wonderful and amazing as what’s in Ann’s post! The Jesus they need. Who I need. The Jesus who loves them. Loves them!
Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:1-6