The Audacity of Jesus

Imagine that you are God. I’m not sure that I’ve ever asked anyone to do this before, but bear with me. Imagine that you are God and that you are capable of creating something out of nothing. You’re not just an inventor who uses preexisting components in new and unique ways; no, you are a creator – you speak and things come into existence. You use this ability to create a habitat full of provision, conducive to community, and primed for pleasure. Into this perfect habitat you place the pinnacle of your creation – a newly formed being that, unlike the components of the habitat, shares a diminished level of your amazing abilities. This new being will be creative. He will love. He will not just remember and react, he will plan and dream. After all of this work is done, you take a look down and see the perfection of everything that you created. You give some basic instructions to the being of how to use or not use the habitat. You can’t help but enjoy every bit of activity that the new being does in his new habitat because everything he does demonstrates the greatness of your creation – and you truly love him.

But then something goes wrong. The being, aware of your creative work, becomes suspicious of your motives. Despite the fact that you have created this entire habitat for this being and have equipped him with so much more than the other created things, he wants more and believes that you’re holding out on the good stuff. So he, believing himself to be wise (although he should clearly know that only you are truly wise), decides to rebel against you by disobeying your instructions for him. Immediately, the pleasure you have in this creation is gone and all of his actions, all the time, are offense and rebellion against you.

So, what do you do? Remember, it was nothing for you to create all of this in the first place. The habitat was created with just some breath. The being was an easy creation too – just because it pleased you to create him. So now that he is no longer pleasing, wouldn’t it just be easiest to wipe the slate and start over. Just a few breathes is all that it will take. Plus, no real loss because your next created being might be pleasing for much longer. As all powerful creator, wouldn’t it just make sense to start over?

When God was faced with this situation, He didn’t just wipe the slate and start over. Instead, He did what seems to be the most ridiculous solution possible – He took on the form of one of the creatures. He lowered Himself into the habitat to demonstrate righteousness, pay the price for the rebellion, and reconcile the beings back to their Creator. He endured insult, attack, beatings, and even death. He was the only one qualified to do this work, so He did it. He could have started over with a new creation, but He didn’t. As the result, human beings have the unmerited privilege to get a second chance with God. And those who trust in Jesus – God who came to earth to do this work – also have daily hope that nothing in this world can separate them from the love of God. This world may hurt, but eternity is secure in Jesus. This truth is fragrance of life to those who believe and the stench of death to those who do not.

Saints, followers of Jesus Christ, may at times lose perspective and begin to think that the trials and challenges of living in this broken habitat are the most important things. But we must remember the audacity of Jesus and the sacrifice He made to retrain our thoughts and our hope onto eternal things. In this way, God again looks down with pleasure on His creation. And we look up in joyous thanks to the One to whom we owe our very existence and in whom we have life.

Why did Jesus live?

Often when asked this question we simply answer with why Jesus died. I am asking a different question. Why did he live? Why did God inspire men to write down the stories of his life and fill pages with his quotes? If the sole purpose of the life of Jesus was the death of Jesus, why would we need so much other information?

God has never spoken more clearly than He did through Jesus.

In John 14:6-7 the disciple who Jesus loved wrote, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Jesus communicated and demonstrated who God is.

Jesus, also, communicated and demonstrated who we are.

How did Jesus accomplish all of this in 33 years of life and only 3 years of public ministry? Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly man.

Here are a few truths we should learn from the life of Jesus.

1. Jesus lived to be Truth and to bear the truth. In John 14:6, Jesus says he is “the Truth.” In John 18:37 he says he came to bear witness to the truth. Jesus being God, is the truth. Jesus being man is responsible to bear the truth. He is perfectly God and perfectly man.

2. Jesus lived to be the Law and to bear the Law. In Matthew 5:17 Jesus tells us he did not abolish the Law but he completed it. There is a story found in John 4 that speaks to immeasurable power of this truth. There is a woman that is caught in adultery and, by the Law of Moses, deserves to be stoned. Jesus is asked what to do with her. He says that the person without sin should cast the first stone. None do. Jesus looks at her and says, “Neither do I condemn you…Go and sin no more.” Jesus was without sin and could have stoned her. He did not because he would take that stoning on her behalf at the cross. He had to face every trial and temptation we face to bear the price of this sin. He is the Law and he paid the price of that Law.

3. Jesus lived to be the Light and bring the Light. In John 8:12 Jesus says he is the “Light of the World.” The power of his light is seen in his interaction with a Samaritan woman at a well. While talking about the life he came to offer he speaks to her of her husband. She says she does not have one. He agrees and says, in fact, you have had 5 husbands and the one you are with now is not your husband. It was true. The truth he spoke and the hope he gave her caused her to share the good news of Jesus with her village. Jesus did not live simply to show her how darkness was. He lived to be the very Light he would bring.

4. Jesus lived to be righteousness and to bring righteousness. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus says he did not come to call righteous, but sinners. We see this truth in his interaction with Zaccheus, a thieving tax collector, who wanted to see Jesus. Jesus called him from the tree he was in and went to his house. This interaction caused the self-righteous of the day to condemn Jesus for eating with sinners. That day Zaccheus repented of his lifestyle and committed to repay with interest what he had stolen. Jesus came to be the very righteousness he would bring.

5. Jesus lived to be change and to bring change. In Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus speaks of the difficulty of following him. He says that it will require son to turn against father and daughter against mother. The call is one to highest allegiance. The call to follow Christ is a call to any and every cost. We see this in the lives of the disciples who were fisherman and tax collectors and who left everything and everyone they knew to follow Jesus. They stepped outside of every cultural expectation to follow him. Jesus did not simply come to bring change. He, himself, is the change.

6. Jesus lived to be life and to bring life. In John 10:10 Jesus says he came to bring life and that life to abundance. We see the power of his ability to bring life in the resurrection of Lazarus. He called a dead man out of the grave and told those around him to unbind him from his grave clothes and let him go. Jesus is the very life we need, but he also lived so that he might personally bring this life to others.

Who is this?

Who speaks life where there is death?

Who unbinds the bound? Who frees the fettered?

Who calls out the corpse? Who gives life to the lost?

Who gives way to wayward? Who gives hope to the hopeless?

Who give grace to those too far gone?

Who is this?

Is this a man? Or is this God? YES.

Jesus is. Jesus is perfectly God and Jesus is perfectly man.