February 24th, 2011 by Dale Fincher
Jesus gives us a cause to follow. The human heart is looking for a cause to live for and a cause to die for. Whether it is women’s rights, racial rights, or whale’s rights, there is some organization taking up arms for it. Some musicians went so far as to say they were “rebels without a cause.” Just give them anything to organize their life, to give them purpose, even if it is mere rebellion against the social norm or against reminders of their family or against anything that looks like their perceived enemies. Jesus’ conspiracy is to bring His kingdom to earth through people who believe He is real and knows what He’s talking about. His believers are His agents of love, joy, and peace. Jesus gives us a cause to follow.
Jesus shows us a world beyond us. Our hearts speak of it. What are those whisperings we hear when we look at the stars? Look at those stars, those stars Abraham saw, and be numbered with those who receive God’s promises. What are those longings we bear like invisible burdens when we hear a choirs’ final note in a grand cathedral? Paul said that ear has not heard the things God has prepared for those who love Him. God said, “Man does not live on bread alone.” The things that give us the feelings of longing are not the things that will sustain our soul. However, God continues to say, “Man does live on every word of God.” Jesus showed us that the soul’s food is found in the worship of God in spirit and in truth. Jesus shows us a world beyond us.
Jesus demonstrates a love to sustain us. Victor Hugo illustrated this with the act of a follower of Jesus. The Bishop in Les Miserables possesses only two things of value: silver cutlery and a pair of silver candlesticks. He takes in the convict, Valjean, in an act of kindness. Valjean, in the middle of the night, steals the cutlery and scampers out of town. When the French police catch him, they return to the Bishop and ask for a confession. They say, “Valjean claims you gave him this silver, is this so?” And the Bishop replies, “That is right.” He then proceeds to generously hand over the pair of candlesticks, saying, “You forgot I gave these also.” The Bishop bids the police farewell and instructs Valjean to use the silver to become an honest man. Valjean does so, and through the rest of the story, Valjean learns that to love another person is to see the face of God.
You see, when our forefather, Adam, chose to take up arms against God, it was like stealing God’s silver cutlery. But God comes in the person of Jesus and, outstretching His arms back on the cross says, in effect, , “Here are the silver candlesticks also.” Jesus alone has the right to redeem us. Jesus alone has the resources to give in this way. Jesus gives us a love to sustain us.
Jesus promises a hope beyond the grave. Nature itself warns us that we are all guaranteed death. We may pretend to evade it by dodging talk of it. We may dismiss it as too far into the future to be relevant to the present. We may read health magazines and take daily vitamins to avoid its imminence. But Jesus plunges into the ice water of death, only to return in the bright radiance of His noon-day glory. He promises a permanent place prepared for us who choose be identified with Him. He’s the only one who has lived on both sides of reality, material and immaterial, and has returned to tell of it. This gives him the credibility that he knows what he’s talking about. Jesus promises hope beyond the grave.
Jesus gives us a cause, shows us another world, demonstrates love, and promises hope. No wonder “Gospel” means “good news.” Have you heard any better?