Micha J Murray - Redemption Pictures
I’m haunted by the mystery that Jesus was God in human form.
Not an ambassador from God, not one part of the Whole, but the entire fullness of the Godhead clothed in flesh. The Creator walking among the Created.
We have certain expectations for how a god should act. The myths tell us that a god should be angry, self-righteous, vengeful, petty, bloodthirsty. Armed with lightning bolts and a short temper. Obsessed with his own glory.
You would expect a god to wield a sword in his hand, distributing vengeance on all his enemies. But Jesus’ hands healed his enemies who’d been wounded by the sword. For a moment it had seemed like he would be the god we had always imagined – overthrowing the Empire, leading a victory parade through the city streets, planting his flag in Jerusalem. Instead, He was betrayed with a kiss, arrested without a fight, and prosecuted without cause.
I wonder what those soldiers thought as they punched and whipped and spat on Jesus. They had seen others worship him, the very man they were now beating.
You would expect a god to make someone bleed. But our God? Our God shed His own blood for us. He died to set us free. To make Creation Whole again. Our God appeared with sandals on his feet, with broken bread in his hands.
The Immortal died for the mortal. The Creator was beat up by His own Creation.
Every moment of Jesus’ story is a profound miracle. The Divine in human form. The Creator among the Created. The Word made flesh. A God who bleeds.
New Series - The God Who Bleeds
Attempting in this series: Turn our attention to the mystery of Jesus.
Why? B/C -Disguised under the ugliness of pain and death, the bleeding Jesus is paradoxically, the clearest picture we have of who God is.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Jesus was not only spat upon, beat up, tortured, make to bleed, but he was killed. Brutally murdered as a criminal although he was innocent.
The Cross, where the man Jesus was killed, and amazingly is the center of our faith.
If asked: Where is the center of Christian faith. We point to the cross. We say "Right there."
"Where are our sins forgiven and world made right? - Point: cross.
This is the part that we miss: If asked: What God is like. We point to the cross.
Christians - very peculiar people. Or at least should be.
When we're true to our faith: peculiar people. When we're compromising, we're conventional & we fit right in.
Why? B/C we worship a God who bleeds.
Yes we worship an omnipotent God, and Glorious God, and victorious God, but also - A God who suffers and bleeds and dies.
Throughout history - people worshipped Gods - In their opinion: were mighty / victorious / omnipotent.
If you were in the market, that's the kind of God you'd assume you'd want.
But we're peculiar b/c even though Jesus is all those things, we also say that He’s a God who bleeds and dies.
This is the original oddity of the Christian faith.
Allah does not die in the Koran - Allah never dies
Jesus bleeds, is tortured, murdered.
but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, (1 Corinthians 1:23)
As we open this series, I need to briefly talk about Something that could stop you from fully seeing what's going on here.
Recent centuries, keep in mind - Christian faith is relatively old - 2000 years old - Recent centuries - people have tried to neuter the strangeness of a crucified God by giving it a nice tidy explanation.
These called: atonement theories.
Explain: here's how - works, - Here's why.
Most atonement theories - unconvincing.
Some repelling / offensive.
Mostly the ones - God the father - barbaric diety that demands child sacrifice in order to forgive.
I completely reject any understanding of the cross that sounds like that.
We DO believe - w/Paul - That Christ died for our sins.
Central event - faith.
But what does that mean?
Does that mean that God the father required the murder of his son in order to forgive? No! - That paints God as a monster. God’s not a monster.
Here’s a little phrase you can hold on to - be a guiding light. - Understanding the cross.
Jesus does not save us from God, Jesus reveals God as savior.
Another way to say that: Jesus takes the blame for our sins - and then Jesus reveals the heart of God by forgiving us.
Healthier, more true to scripture,
More true to the nature of the Father revealed in Jesus Christ.
Instead: learn what it means to sit with the mystery of a God who suffers at the hands of his own creation.
(SHOW Portrait) - Matthias Grün-E-wald
Who is - tortured, dying man - Nailed - cross?
Christians make outlandish statement: This is God. - Crucified God.
If - don't find that shocking, you've become far too familiar with the crucifixion.
There should be something in you that thinks that this doesn’t make sense.. - How can this tortured dying man be God?
French sceptic Voltaire "If God did not exist, we’d have to invent Him." - Bit of a stretch.
I do know that if Christianity hadn't existed, we wouldn't have imagined this.
That's not how you invent a religion.
Horrible sales pitch
There's this guy who is brutally tortured and killed and we worship him as an omnipotent God.
IF we were making it up, we could make it a lot more appealing than that.
In conventional religion, when the almighty comes among his enemies and the wicked, he destroys them. - He doesn't get killed by them. It makes no sense. But that’s the peculiarity of Jesus.
Brutal, horrific lynching of an innocent man.
Murder of an innocent peacemaker
Here's where atonement theories miss the mark
Explain the crucifixion as something that makes perfect sense. A+B=C.
Of course he died! It’s so poetic! It’s like Romeo and Juliet!
No, it’s a brutal violent crime against an innocent man.
BTW: This is how the apostles spoke of the crucifixion in the book of acts.
Numerous times. - We've forgotten that.
This Jesus … crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. (Acts 2:23)
you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. (Acts 3:15)
The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. (Acts 5:30)
the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered. (Acts 7:52)
Here - apostles call it murder.
If there's anyone who didn't deserve it - it was Jesus of Nazareth.
Spent his days feeding the poor, showing compassion to the outcasts, teaching people to turn the other cheek.
None of these verses say ‘God killed Jesus’. No, it says that we did.
It was of course a murder that God knew would happen. - Didn't catch him by suprise.
For goodness sake - Plato knew it would happen. - In his book 'The Republic' - 300 years before Christ. - Speculates what would happen if a perfectly innocent and just man were to ever come among us.
"We would spit upon him. We would scourge him, and then we would crucify him." (Plato - The Republic)
Amazing about Jesus: He willingly comes into a system that He knows will kill him and crucify Him, but the hope is that in the resurrection, we come to our senses.
In western Christianity - we're obsessed with understanding everything.
For the first week in our series: I'd rather us sit in the mystery of it all. - The God Who Bleeds.
B/C all of us, if grown up in the western world in the last 4 or 500 years, you're so used to the life of Jesus being explained as a legal transaction. As if it's like the most logical thing. IT'S NOT LOGICAL. Absurd. The God Who Bleeds.
The Giver of Life - Put to death.
The creator crucified BY his own creation. - Crazy.
Greatest of all scandals.
Rewind: The Incarnation.
Word of God became flesh.
The angel gabriel comes to Mary in Nazereth - announces to her, that though a virgin, she will conceive and give birth to a savior.
9 months later
Born in bethlehem
The beginning of the mystery.
That God wouldn't stay separate from his creation. He would become one of us. Experience the pain that we all do.
9 months later - born in bethlehem, swaddling clothes, in a manger. - The beginning of the mystery. That God wouldn't stay separate from his creation. He would become one of us. Experience the pain that we all do.
All of this is strange.
We think "If God were to come among us, He would come in great splendor and glory. He would come riding a chariot down from the heavens.
Instead born obscure corner of the roman empire among an occupied people - grows up among peasants and engages in manual labor.
At 30, he begins His ministry - completely consists of helping hurting people.
The world is a better place b/c Jesus is in it. BUT THEN…
The bible talks about: principalities and powers:
Primarily Religion & Government.
These 2 things are threatened, and rightfully so.
B/C government of God will change their world.
Many - first will be last, many last will be first.
So He's condemned by the leaders by the purest, greatest, most celebrated religion in the world.
Condemn Him for blasphemy.
Isn’t it amazing: A religion claims to hear from God - Wants to kill a man who spent his time feeding the poor.
Then turned over to the other wing - political government. - Power enforced by violence.
Here - Rome, Pilot - Convict Him of treason.
Religion & Political Empire
BOTH condemn Jesus - Death.
State sponsored execution by crucifixion.
And amazingly, only time Jesus speaks from the cross regarding His accusers and executioners it's to say "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Wow.
Our faith is centered around a God who bleeds and suffers. A God who agonizes and cries out in pain.
Not the God people were expecting.
Condemns Jesus of blasphemy?
No. God is not with Caiaphas.
The Roman governor
Demanding death to satisfy justice?
Condemns Jesus of treason.
That's Pilots position - he represents political power & violence.
No. God is not with Pilot.
Paul - 2 Corinthians:
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.
Notice: We are the ones who need reconciling.
God’s mind didn’t need to be changed. It was ours.
The crucifixion didn’t change God. It changed us.
When Jesus says 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'
What do you think the father says? "Certainly my son. For you have always represented me. You have always represented my heart. Yes, this is what we do! Absorb sin - love. Recycle it - forgiveness."
God is NOT Zeus hurling thunderbolts upon his enemies.
There's the Zeus form and the Christ form.
Zeus was the King God of the greek pantheon.
We've found many statues, idols, of Zeus. There are many.
This is the form of Zeus. Always like this. Fist (usually holding a thunderbolt, most thunderbolts have been lost) but he's ready to strike. And without Jesus - humanity instinctively thinks this is the posture of God. - Until Jesus comes. Then this is the posture of God. This is what you thought God was like. - And the 'good news' is that God isn't like this, he's like this.
We've thought: "Ok, God - Zeus - takes it out - Jesus.
Nope. God is like Jesus.
Disguised under the ugliness of pain and death, the bleeding Jesus is paradoxically, the clearest picture we have of who God is.
And here's the most mysterious part: By His wounds, we are healed.
The God who never leaves, and never forsakes.
As they pass :
Just spend a minute thinking about the craziness of a God who bleeds, for us. And God who comes and experiences the pain and heartache alongside His creation so that he can lift it off of you.
I know there's some people here - going through a hard time - you're afraid.
Let the mysterious healing that flows from the wounds of Christ, come and help you.
Jesus comes and take all the pain.
As you take communion
Whatever it is that you’re going through. - Envision yourself - putting it onto Jesus. - He carries it for you.