Five Things I will Say in Telling Someone about Jesus
We played a game in our family devotions the other night. The boys, aged 8 and 6 were challenged to say 3 things about Jesus. Mom had to say five things (she is still pretty new to this Christ-follower thing.) They made me say 10 things since I'm the professional (wink, wink).
It was an interesting exercise because it showed me what I still had to teach my kids, how much Mom has learned in a few short years and how beneficial lists can be to organizing thoughts. The list above is not what I thought of that night, but the question has been haunting me ever since and I came up with my top five list (think John Cusack's High Fidelity)
1. Crucifixion: Obvious answer really. This is where Paul says to start. N.T. Wright suggests (I can't remember where to be honest) that the cross was Paul's answer for every question and problem of the early church.
I would want people to know that Crucifixion makes us look sin square in the eye. We can't hide from it.
Crucifixion also puts God's great love for us front and center.
Crucifixion challenges the power of empire and reminds us of the danger of violence in word or deed.
Jesus was God's power incarnate, but that incarnation was service and sacrifice, not violence or greed. People who think that Church or religion is about wealth, power, and controlling the masses need to hear about crucifixion.
2. Resurrection: Resurrection for me is about God honoring the faithfulness of the disciple. Resurrection gives me hope so that I can follow Christ even though it seems like a bad idea to; forgive seventy times seven, turn the other cheek, put away my sword, sell all I own and give to the poor, touch lepers, order pizza with whores, etc, etc. I wouldn't have the courage to do all this (I'm still trying to do all this) if I didn't have the hope that grief and pain I get in this life, trying to do these things wasn't the whole story, and that someday, this insignificant life would be honored with resurrection because i tried to be faithful every day. Christ was faithful and obedient to the degree of self-sacrifice. God defeated human sin symbolized in the cross and the separation it caused between Creator and creation with resurrection. God empowers us with the hope of the resurrection.
3. Incarnation: Now you will really see how poorly I did in systematic theology. I'm sure more could be said about incarnation that what follows. but to me incarnation is about presence. The fact that Jesus is not just a man, but the Word of God made flesh means that presence is important. God loved us enough to be like us, to stop calling for us to come back through the prophets and just come take us by the hand and lead us back. For me Incarnation means I have to do more than have ideas about the Trinity, I have to embody what I believe. So incarnation pushes me to do more than pray about someone or something, or write a check for someone or something, and roll my sleeves up and get dirty practicing God's love.
4. Revelation: Probably what I mean by Revelation really should be called repentance, but that would mess up my cool '-tion' thing that I got going on. Jesus words have authority. Jesus shows us how far we have fallen from being the humanity God intended us to be, and challenged us to repent of all that. But Jesus also gives us wisdom to turn and follow the way which is life in the Kingdom of God. Jesus confronts sin but also delivers the good news we are loved. Revelation challenges me to be honest with myself and others, and also to be merciful with myself and others.
5. Prostitution: I threw this in here for what I hope is a bit of a shocker! While Jesus came to call everyone, rich and poor, morally upright and morally bankrupt into a relationship with God, the Jesus I read about in the gospels spent most of his time with outcasts, expendables, the sick, the poor, the forgotten... all the wrong folks. Which reminds me of two things; I have to occasionally risk a good reputation in order to go be with the wrong people, that is what Jesus did. This discipleship thing will definitely take me out of my comfort zone and cause me to do things and be with people that society around me will not approve of, and I will not always be popular. this isn't a popularity contest, it is a faithfulness marathon.
This certainly isn't an exhaustive list. More things could be said, should be said and probably could be said better. But this is my list. What do you think? What is on your list?