Best served slow with a glass of red after Sunday lunch: (more…)
A chicken and gherkin sandwich, a mozzarella and tomato salad, some crackers, one of those sealed tubs of airline water that you only ever see on a flight, and a surprisingly tasty chocolate mouse: We’re en route back to Edinburgh from a week’s mission trip in Albania and I’m very thankful for the packed lunch Turkish Airways have just provided for our evening meal.
Our gratitude has been primed.
We’ve been humbled. (more…)
I’m colour blind – i.e. I can’t always discern between shades of brown and red and green. This means very little to me except that I can’t be an RAF pilot or a bomb disposal expert. It also means that I occasionally foul in snooker by playing a brown by mistake.
And it means that I can’t always see patterns, like the boat, below:
Only seeing messy, indiscernible patterns because of colour blindness is a great visual aid pointing to what the cross of Christ looks like if we are spiritually blind.
Perhaps the cross is simply brown to you this Easter and all you see is a religious symbol and nothing more. Or perhaps you are seeing the red of His sacrificial blood, the green of His humanity as the Son of Man and the yellow of His divinity as the saving Messiah.
In either case, God wants you (us) to see more and to see better – to see the cross in higher definition than ever before.
For most of Great Britain today, it isn’t actually a Good Friday. Today is Beige Friday, or Low Definition Friday. It’s 2d Friday or it’s just Any-Other-Friday-Except-That-We-Have-A-Day-Off-Work Friday. There’s nothing exceptional about it. We live in a non-Christian Nation and so Good Friday for millions of people is not Good. In fact, for billions of people it’s a non-event – the excuse for a big night out on Thursday.
And so spiritual blindness is pandemic.
Not being able to see the goodness, the beauty, the significance, the glory of Good Friday and Easter Sunday is because of a profound spiritual blindness that we are all victim to until the Spirit of God breathes in our inner-man. Every single human being, regardless of their post-code, is born spiritually blind/dead. The Bible says that,
“the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Cor.4)
The gospel of John is full of this blindness. It hangs over the gospel like a stifling short-sightedness that borders on the absurd. Time and time again Jesus spoke and was met with ignorant blindness:
1) CHAPTER 2:20 – When Jesus clears the temple and then references the temple that will be rebuilt within three days
2) CHAPTER 3:3 – Nicodemus not understanding Jesus’ words re being born again
3) CHAPTER 4:15 – The woman at the well doesn’t understand Jesus’ living water is the water of His Spirit
4) CHAPTER 4: 33 – Jesus talking to the disciples about the heavenly food
5) CHAPTER 7: 33 – Jesus announcing that He will be going back to heaven
So, if blindness is the illness, then what’s the vaccination?
In John 8 Jesus stands before the Jews and the entire Universe and announces that,
“I am the Light of the world”.
The answer to spiritual blindness is trusting Jesus to help you see by His Spirit. You can’t perceive spiritual things with physical eyes any more than you can see the complexity of someone’s heart by looking at their face alone.
For you to see the ‘light of the gospel of the glory of Christ’ you need spiritual sight and Jesus offers it, freely, to those who would believe.
The Light comes for us all in the moment of Paradidomi – a Greek word – when Jesus in John 19:30 breathed His last and ‘gave up’ His Spirit. The word is in two halves: Para and Dido – “to give up” and “with close personal involvement”.
This is exactly what Jesus did as He threw Himself into the arms of His Father and committed His Spirit (ruach/pneuma) to Him.
“Yet not my will but Your will be done”.
Good Friday is good precisely because Jesus gave up His Spirit on that day so in order that we might be able to do just the same. He gave up His Spirit in the most radical expression of trust possible – into the hands of His unseen Father amidst His own indescribable anguish morphing into sin, His physical pain and separation from the Father.
But Jesus gave up His spirit in the close, intimate flow that comes from knowing that God really is there.
This being possible by God’s grace for you and I, flowing from faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus, for anyone who would come as a child and believe, is what makes Good Friday and Easter Sunday so spectacularly good.
In Exodus 15:11 the phenomenal prophet, Moses, says,
“”Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ?
Who is like you—
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory, working wonders?”
Today, often in the shadow of Islamic mosques, Jehovah’s Witness call-outs and the world’s obsession with political correctness, the prophetic accuracy of Moses’ song above seems to be a distant Old Testament psalm, and Easter is just another calendar date,
But in reality this truth remains today, Easter 2009, in exactly the same way as it did 4,000 years ago…that there really is no-one, not even close, like the God of the Bible – Jesus Christ.
Who can compare to Jesus Christ? Who is like our Abba of Isa.53 who would desire that His Son be crushed (Isa.53:10), despite the searing pain to the Godhead. Who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross for the pleasure of you and me? (Heb.12:2)
The Easter truth today is that, despite world-wide cultural norms, spiritual strong-holds, fears and Western apathy, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father of all creation. Even if you struggle to accept Him, even if you struggle to see and savour Him…there is still No-one like the Lord…majestic in His splendour, all-powerful in heaven and earth.
Why not make your prayer today….Jesus, if you are really real, and if you are really the only way to know this peace I’m after,I’ve tried everything else, then please show me yourself now….amen.
I pray that for you guys with all my heart.
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