Manage episode 187926864 series 1092041
Pastor Chris Tweitmann
Last week we began our journey back into The Story – a condensed, chronological narrative of the Bible – by engaging Act Two – what is known as the New Testament.
After prolonged waiting and hoping for the fulfillment of the promise of a coming Messiah – a Savior, God broke the silence of four centuries by doing something no one saw coming. The Lord delivered someone nobody could have imagined coming – Himself.
The Incarnation. The Word became flesh. The Author entered The Story. Through the birth of Jesus Christ, God came down and dwelled among us. The Lord does not send, but He Himself becomes our Messiah. In journeying as far as from heaven to earth, by getting as close to us as our own skin, our Creator unequivocally demonstrated He is both with us and for us. The Gospel – the good news of our salvation begins not in the rallying charge of a mighty warrior but in the borning cry of a baby.
As we turn to chapter 23 of The Story, the question now becomes: who will this baby grow up to become? Save for a fascinating encounter visiting the Temple in Jerusalem when he is 12 years old, we are told very little about Jesus’ upbringing. The scene change is dramatic – pretty much shifting from the manger to the Jordan River as the child of promise reemerges as the man shrouded in mystery.
There is quite the build up to Jesus’ reappearance in The Story. John the Baptist, cut from the cloth of the biblical prophets – particularly Elijah, grabs everyone’s attention for the new and yet long anticipated thing God is about to do. He paves the way for the people – their mindset, the posture of their heart and the bent of their will – for what is to come – for who is coming – in a place historically associated with their waiting and wandering – the wilderness.
John’s message, expressed through baptism, is simple and direct. Turn around and wake up. Get ready to move. Be prepared to follow. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Jesus shows up and is immersed in the waters John didn’t expect were for Him. Jesus is baptized. Once again, like in His birth, the Lord identifies Himself with us. At the same time, as He takes the baton from His cousin, John, Jesus receives His commissioning for service – to save us, to save the world.
This commissioning of Jesus as the Christ is immediately battle tested in the desert of temptation. In the valley of the shadow of death, Jesus faces the challenges and threats we encounter in our relationship with our Heavenly Father – in our journey to becoming who He has created us to be. These forty days and forty nights are a remake of a chapter way back in The Story but this time the ending gets changed – a foreshadowing of a Resurrection still to come. Instead of defeat, there is victory. Rather than wandering, Jesus comes through the other side.
The stage is set for Jesus’ ministry to begin. Israel had been looking for a savior who would free them from their oppressors and take back their homeland. Generations had been hoping for the return of the king – someone like David who would unite them and restore the days of peace and prosperity.
As the One who everyone has been waiting for comes into the foreground, will Jesus be the kind of Messiah the people of Israel anticipated? Or will God, once again, surprise and transform expectations?
Join us this Sunday as we broadly consider the central message that formed the basis for Jesus’ entire teaching and ministry. More than a message, it is a truth, a promise and a reality Jesus poignantly inaugurated and illustrated through miracles, signs and wonders, parables and relationships. Holistic in its nature, redemptive in its mission and cosmic in its scope, it was the focus and the theme of His teaching and ministry that Christ was willing to give His life for – and was convinced would not die. At a time when people are still looking for someone to get behind and put their hope in, it remains the change this world needs – let alone is searching for.
Do you know what IT is? Do we as the Church – as the Body of Christ?
Come and find out this weekend.
Grace to you!
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