Sunday, 17 June 2012


In my previous post, I discussed how - at least according to the Biblical creation story - human beings have become estranged from their creator God. I argued that, whether or not this story is taken literally, its lessons remain valid.

Having discussed the problem I now want to introduce what I (and Christians everywhere) believe is the solution - specifically, the person, Jesus of Nazareth.

Many different religions have come up with different ways to address what is perceived to be the gulf between us and God, or us and perfection, or us and some kind of happiness/fulfilment, either now or in the life to come. There is much wisdom in many of these traditions, but Christianity - as far as I'm aware - is the only faith to claim that God has done something very specific from his side to solve this problem. According to the Christian faith, God isn't just sitting there waiting for us to work it all out - in fact he's very aware that although we may have caused this problem, it isn't one we are capable of solving all by ourselves.

So God - as Jesus - came and visited His creation. A ridiculous claim? Well, maybe, but one that I and many millions of other believers have become convinced is the truth. By coming here he showed and taught his followers and the rest of us how to live. And just by being who He was - challenging hypocrisy, standing up for justice, upsetting the status quo - he provoked his enemies into showing everyone how not to live as well! His presence brought out the best - and the worst - in human nature, as goodness always does when it refuses to back down. Driven by insecurity and jealous rage, his enemies crucified him as a common criminal, though He was innocent of any crime.

But what kind of God allows His enemies to do something like that? A weak God? An impotent God? Someone who isn't really any kind of God at all? Those enemies though, were not just a select group of angry people. In some ways they actually represented the whole human race. They reacted to Jesus the same way all of us often react to God. We are selfish, suspicious, protective of our own interests. We all like to be in control and react angrily at times when that control is threatened or taken away. All of us are capable of crucifying God in our hearts, and many of us do, every day!

So why not destroy us all? - something God is well able to do! But God wanted to do things a different way. His heart is full of love towards us, in spite of the hostility He often finds, and He wanted reconciliation, not war. So instead, He took the beatings and the mocking and the agonising death and the shame. He let humanity - let all of us - do their worst. Given a free reign, man had to kill God. It was the only logical outcome, right from our first rejection of Him when we ate from that tree (see previous post), but God wasn't going to leave it there!

Because of course you can't kill God - not in the end - and there was no way man was going to win. That wasn't the point though. God didn't want to "win" - and refused to fight on those terms. God just wanted to make it clear that in the end He couldn't lose. And one more much more important thing: God wanted to make it clear that He really does love us, no matter what we do! According to Luke's gospel, Jesus' actually prayed on the cross for His persecutors to be forgiven. Then after He died and rose from the dead - according to the Biblical accounts - He didn't come back with holy vengeance to wreak havoc on his enemies. Instead He slipped quietly away. And left His followers with a message of peace and reconciliation for anyone who would listen - that anyone who trusted in Him, could be forgiven for their sins and the relationship with God could be healed.

You might think it would've all fizzled out after that, but no. 2,000 years later, that message is still going strong and has completely changed the shape of this world. There are also many distorted forms of it around and it has been used and abused by those with vested interests, just as many of the powerful guardians of Jewish religion did in Jesus' day.

Its impact has not been lost though, and the central message of reconciliation is just as powerful now as it was then. Believe in Jesus - trust in Him, trust that He loves you, trust that He wants the best for you, be willing to learn to live life His way - and you too can be forgiven and reconciled with the creator God, the God who loves you and wants to be your father again!

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