Tuesday, May 12, 2009
The Jesus of the Bible is very real to me, not just as a historical or moral figure, but as a profoundly powerful and profoundly personal being. It is one thing to know about Jesus. It is entirely another thing altogether to come to know Him for yourself. To me, Jesus is the fullness of the Kingdom Of God expressed in a person. He is the personhood of God who came to earth to get up close and personal with the people he created, and to give them access to the broader reality of Life from which we had lost a vital connection. Far from being remote and irrelevant, the Jesus I know can be intimately, powerfully, vitally, experientially, interactively & personally known. And he is the conduit by which the Life to be found in the Kingdom of God can flow to my soul.
The Kingdom of God is where Life governs all, where all that is pure and powerful and true and good is sovereign. The Kingdom of God is everything that is good in the world, or fairer to say, everything that is good in the world is a reflection of the Kingdom, and exists because Life has been given access. It is the experiential reality that emanates from the core of the very being of God; the nature, the environment, the culture, the personality, the atmosphere, the resources, the government, the health, the emotional wholeness and full life-giving essential qualities that comes from the heart of the God community. In short, the Kingdom Of God is the source of all that we truly ache for, of all that is truly Life.
Made in His image, and noble by nature, we find strains of Kingdom Life in our very being, reflecting and echoing the Source from which we sprung. But by contrast we also intimately know the destructiveness of sin. We intuit rightly that the Kingdom that guarantees Life does not have automatic access to our lives and our world. That it is available but not automatic. This default scenario we find ourselves born unwittingly into is a world where sin was given access long ago in the first chapters of this story and where a fatal dis-connect from Life is now evident.
You see, sin is a state of being long before it is a condemnable action. It is a larger reality to grapple with than the inevitably destructive end-points of its trajectories. Living under the tyranny of a sinful nature is to be in a state of being fatally and desperately separated from all that is vitally LIFE. When people say that Jesus came to deal with the problem of sin in the world, they do not mean that Jesus just came into this world to tell us not to be naughty, but that he came to tell us that we had been short-changed from birth, that we were born into the middle of a story and that things were originally created to be very different to what we have experienced.
The conviction that we are sinful beings then, is the growing or sudden awareness of the soul that all is not as it should be within and without me. It is the realisation that I need to find a way to re-connect with the eternity and Life that my deep heart will confirm exists, even if I have forgotten how to listen to it.
Because I can feel the reality of this larger story play out in a million different ways in the nitty-gritty realities of my own life, the entry of the Jesus factor is as vital and impacting to me on a personal level as it is to the repairing of the cosmic breach we have been discussing. Everything that is conceptual is also organically experienced in raw form, so none of this is so ethereal that it doesn’t at some point mean a great deal to my own heart and life.
Jesus came, as the hero in the middle of the larger story, and on a personal note, as the hero in the middle of my own story, to make a way to connect us back to the Kingdom Of God. The truly amazing thing is he came to do it before we were even aware of our own disconnection from Life. He came like a door into a world that was better, a world our hearts ache for, where there is power to defend our powerlessness, intimacy for our loneliness, deep rest for our weariness, surging life and vitality for our mediocrity, endless creativity for our dead routines. He came to bring the Kingdom of God near to us.
Jesus represents and brings the very substance and vital reality of a higher Kingdom into the nitty gritty of our souls – noble by nature, but separated from our true identity. He is the gloriously divine interface, between the reality of the Kingdom of God and the everyday reality of our own hearts.
And everything good you can possibly imagine flows from this Source.