While it isn’t wrong to find comfort in the words of Jesus that speak to us of loving our neighbor as ourselves, it IS wrong to miscalculate that we know the complete purpose of God in teaching this. My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
I’m a curious person. If you present a fact to me, I am always looking for a thread that will lead me elsewhere, especially when I am seeking clarification on something I don’t understand. Let me give you an example. Recently someone asked me about the Golden Ratio. Mathematically it is explained that “two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities.” Now that sounds a bit complicated. To put it into layman’s terms, God used mathematical principles to create matter. This is apparent in such things as the construction of a nautilus shell or the concentric proportions of tiny buds inside of a daisy blossom. This is where my thread led me. Specifically how it works is a matter of calculus, a subject I am in the dark about. Nonetheless I believe, as implausible as this discipline is to me, I will not debate its truth, knowing that my simple understanding is necessarily underpinned by a truth that is far more important to be true than my not understanding it in the first place.
Here’s a story. D.M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example. You put far too much emphasis on the passion and far too little emphasis on the Golden Rule.” Stearns replied, “You are right sir in saying that I spoke in earnest about Christ crucified. Of this I am indeed guilty. Let me ask you this, however. If I presented Christ in the way you suggested, would you be willing to follow Him?” “I certainly would,” said the stranger without hesitation. “All right then,” said the preacher, “let’s take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?” The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin. What is your point?” Stearns replied, “Here’s my point. If you sin, your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!” (Source unknown)
Christ crucified is by nature a mystery. You can explain it in simple terms like “Jesus died in exchange for our sins.” While that is true, is it entirely plausible? Can we adequately underpin this great exchange with a perfect understanding of how it IS true? Can we know the divine calculus here? Psalm 97 verse 2 gives us a clue. Clouds and thick darkness surround him (the Lord), righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.” While it isn’t wrong to find comfort in the words of Jesus that speak to us of loving our neighbor as ourselves, it IS wrong to miscalculate that we know the complete purpose of God in teaching this. The mystery of God’s love that he would sacrifice his only Son for sinful man is shrouded from our complete understanding since who knows the mind of God? It is enough that we know God is truthful and that he has done this implausible thing. The thread of our knowing is sufficient to a simpler answer.
We pray. Heavenly Father, salvation in Christ is the greatest gift mankind could and has received. That you have redeemed us from the power of sin through the sacrifice of your only Son, is the essence of awe. Yet Lord, though we believe it, it is hard for us to grasp it fully. Love such as this does not dwell on this earth, therefore we can’t really know it. Forgive us when we treat the implausible truth of your grace and love with a mundane spirit. There is nothing mundane in Christ. May we always be content to believe without always knowing the intimacy of knowledge you have reserved for yourself. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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