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The God Who Bleeds 9 Jesus Is What God Has to Say

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.

(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.

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.

Title: Jesus is what God has to say

The glory of Christ who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

He is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15)

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1)

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:2)

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. (Hebrews 1:3)

Apostle Paul and all other authors of the NT tell us this: Jesus is the image of God

  • Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.
  • Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s nature.
  • Jesus is God’s ultimate act of self expression.
  • Jesus is the only perfect picture of God.
  • Jesus is what God has to say.

Jesus is perfect theology.

Theology = how we understand God.

The quest is to understand God, Jesus is the only perfect way to do that.

Perfect theology is not a system, perfect theology is a person.

The law and the prophets – inspired, perfect telling of our growing understanding of God.

We didn’t always understand who God is, but not, because of Jesus, we do.

And while Jesus is perfect theology, that doesn’t mean that all our interpretations of his life are perfect. None of them are.

Perfect theology is not found :

  • Writings of St. Augustine – so much our our catholic and protestant theology is found in.
  • Perfect Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica
  • John Calvin – Institutes of Christian Religion
  • Karl Barth’s 13 volume “Church Dogmatics” Probably most influential theological work of the 20th century, but it’s not perfect theology.
  • 5000 pages of N.T. Wright’s New Testament Scholariship – of which I own, and love. And preach from constantly.

Perfect theology is not found in a book, theory, or system, perfect theology is only found in a life.

We must always return to the life of Jesus if we are to understand who God is.

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1)

but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, (Hebrews 1:2)

Author (and we don’t know who it is, some jewish writer) says that years ago – God spoke in many different ways – angels, prophets, songs, poems, stories, signs, but in these LAST days, he has spoken to us through his son.

LAST DAYS? – keep in mind, this was written 2000 years ago.

It’s the last days of divine revelation. – Meaning: There is no superior revelation of God that comes after Jesus.

The glory of Christ who is the image of God. (2 Corinthians 4:4)

“Image of God” – ring a bell?

Genesis 1 – “Let us make man in our image.”

Human beings were created to bear the image of God, but we’ve done that… imperfectly.

But Jesus comes and bears God’s image PERFECTLY.

Jesus does 2 things with his life simultaneously:

  1. He shows us exactly who God is.
  2. He shows us exactly who we’re supposed to be.

It’s strange to say, but when we see Jesus it simultaneously shows us the exact nature of God and at the same time shows us how we’re supposed to go at the task of being human.

Again: “Christ, who is the image of God.”

The word image is also translated ‘Icon’.

More literal translation.

(Pic of some icons)

These icons were produced by the church very early on.

After awhile, it become quite the controversy in the church.

All leading up to the 8th century – huge controversy.

A bunch of Christians decided ‘We can’t have Icons, because they’re idols!’ – Drawing from the 2nd commandment – Make no graven images.

Finally: Met. The Second Ecumenical Council – met, decide. – “Icons are not only allowed, they’re also valuable. They help us.”

Reasoning – 2 Corinthians 4:4 & Colossians 1:15 – That say “Jesus is the icon of God.”

Prior to Christ, God says “I don’t want you to make images of me.” Why? B/C you’ll get it wrong.

You’ll make false images of God. – Idol.

But then He sends His son, EXACT representation of Him.

So we understand that God says “No images. Except for this one.”

Jesus is not changing God

I need you to understand this: When Jesus:

  • Is born in bethlehem
  • Grows up
  • Preaches his sermon on the mount
  • Heals the sick
  • Casts out demons
  • Raises the dead
  • Rides in on the ridiculous peace donkey
  • Takes all the blame – becomes our scapegoat
  • Crucified / dies / forgiveness / raised.

Jesus is not changing God. He’s showing us who God is.

Jesus does not save us from God, Jesus reveals God as savior.

If it ever LOOKS like, God changes, understand: It’s only LOOKS like it.

God doesn’t change. Our perception does.

Sunset – So today you could watch the sunset – watch the sun fade in the west. Know: That’s all an illusion.

It’s not the sun that’s moving, it’s we who are moving.

LOOKS like: The sun rises in the east – travels in the sky – and sets in the west. – “So obvious!” But no, it’s all an illusion.

It’s not the sun that’s moving, it’s us.

And as we move imperfectly from how God spoke imperfectly through the prophets, to how God speaks PERFECTLY in Jesus, it might look like God is changing, but what is changing is our understanding.

SO if Jesus is what God has to say. Then we can answer some questions about God.

Does God send the storm? No. He calms the storm.

You can read the bible in a certain way, I can show you how, become convinced that natural disasters are the work of God.

Every time there is a natural disaster, there’s someone to explain it like that.

  • A hurricane hits new orleans.
  • A earthquake hits Haiti, Napal.
  • A tsunami that hits Thailand

Always some preacher explains ‘How those people were so wicked that God sent that hurricane.’

“Buddhists – Thailand. God – 200,000.”

AT BEST! – Imperfect theology.

B/C we find God with a Storm. In the gospels. He’s in a boat w/disciples.

Jesus (exact imprint of God’s nature) – is asleep in the boat.

Wake him up. “Don’t you care that we’re perishing?!”

Jesus “I guess my dad is mad at you for being sinners and stuff.”

Jesus “Father I thank you for sending this storm for showing these people how horrible they are.” – “Peace. Be still.”

Does God shun sinners? No. He welcomes them.

Some people will put together a theology that says: “God’s too holy to look upon sin.” – Really sticks with people. Get that from 1/2 a verse of scripture from the prophet Habakuk “Oh Lord, you are too pure to look on evil.”

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Habakuk 1:13)

He’s saying “God you’re too pure to see suffering and do nothing about it.”

Not saying anything about not being able to look at people who sin. Silly.

We get this idea that God shuns sinners b/c we like to shun sinners.

Makes us feel morally superior.

God doesn’t do that.

Jesus’s entire ministry: He sees sinners and he welcomes them! At his table.

In fact, the pharisees criticize Jesus for what? For being a ‘friend of sinners.’

Jesus not only welcome sinners to his table, he invites himself to their house.

Think about Zacchaeus. – Worst sinner in Jericho – Up in the tree. “Get down I gotta go to your house and hang out with you. Cuz it’s gonna bug the pharisees so much. They think I can even look at you. But God’s not like that.”

You can use the bible to shun sinners. You can even do it with style. The pharisees were pros and we continue to be pros at using the bible to shun sinners. But Jesus didn’t do that.

Woman caught in the adultery. – Let he without sin, cast the first stone. One by one they walk away. “Does anyone accuse you?” “No one.” “Neither do I. Now go a sin no more.”

Does God bring famine? No. He feeds the hungry.

You can think that way. I can show you how to use the bible to prove that if you’d like. But I will remind you: That is at best, imperfect theology.

B/C Jesus – exact representation of his nature. Nobody hungry around Jesus. When Jesus is present everyone has plenty to eat.

It doesn’t matter if all you have is 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, Jesus blesses it and feeds everyone.

Does God reject human pleasure? No. He turns the water to wine.

The assumption of the super spiritual in that God always somehow resents human pleasure. Don’t have too much fun or God will be mad.

God’s first miracle was in no way necessary but to keep a part going by providing more wine.

In the book of John, there’s 2 events contrasted – He makes wine to keep a part going and makes a whip to stop a church service.

“Whoa man, that seems, like, backwards man.”

I know. That’s why we need Jesus. Because he’s surprising. Because we had so many wrong ideas about who God was.

I find it interesting that the people who studied the Old Testament the most, had the WRONGEST idea about who God is.

Does God take our side in our hostilities? No. He humanizes the other side.

What idea about God is older than this: “God is our God, and he’s on our side, and not yours.” Probably the oldest statement about God you could make.

Not only is that imperfect theology, it’s dangerous theology. B/C you don’t have to ask any questions when God is on your side. You don’t have to count the dead when God is on your side.

Jesus on the other hand, forces his fellow jews, to think in new ways about their classic enemies, the samaritans.

Jesus is casting samaritans as heroes in his parables.

Speaks positively of them.

Jesus humanizes the hated samaritans so much that the pharisees in John 8 – “Well Jesus, you’re a samaritan and you have a demon.”

Does God kill his enemies? No. He forgives them.

You can prove anything you want to prove with the bible.

So we have to center our reading of scripture somewhere. Should it be Old Testament or New Testament? – You think New? Me too.

And then, I think we should give some primacy to the words of Jesus. And then, if we were to say what is perhaps the most significant moment?

I was reading not long ago in the bible – “Now as you go out, wear sandals, and don’t wear 2 tunicks.” – That’s the word, but I’m not sure it’s the most important word. Cuz I don’t wear sandals, I don’t even have a tunik and I’m not sure what they are.”

But I think that what Jesus says around the cross is pretty important.

And I think what Jesus says ON the cross, is supremely important.

And I can’t help but think that if I’m going to center my reading and understand on scripture somewhere, it might just be Jesus with his arms stretched wide saying ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.”

LAST: (Band)

Does God bring sickness? No. He heals the sick & resurrects the dead.

Sometimes we can think that “Well, that sickness comes b/c of that sin.”

At best, that’s imperfect theology.

A Leper comes to Jesus “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus “I am willing.”

Touches the leper. According to the Torah: Now he’s unclean. But it doesn’t work that way. He doesn’t become unclean, no, the leper becomes clean.

“Well, sometimes he decides to heal and not others.”

Jesus heals even when he’s not thinking about it.

The lady w/the issue blood for 12 years – sneaks up behind him and touches the hem of his garment. And she’s healed. Jesus didn’t make a conscious decision, there’s healing in his presence.

I understand that healing is mysterious. I get that.

I can’t tell you how healing works all the time, why it happens, why it doesn’t. I can tell you can of that. But I CAN tell you this: God doesn’t like sickness.

It’s time to replace to piecemeal picture of God – parts here and there – replace Him with Jesus. Jesus what God has to say.

If you’re anxious about God, but somehow you think Jesus would welcome me, here’s the good news: God is exactly like Jesus.

Disguised under the ugliness of pain and death, the bleeding Jesus is paradoxically, the clearest picture we have of who God is.

  • So for those of you who are in hard times, God knows what that feels like.
  • For those of you who have suffered loss, God knows loss.
  • For those of you who have been rejected, God knows rejection.

And here’s the most mysterious part: By His wounds, we are healed.

The God who never leaves, and never forsakes.