There were a few years around college I couldn’t stomach Paul. He had been thrown into my face too many times. And I couldn’t hear the Old Testament without questions about God’s goodness staring at me. But, Jesus? I was entranced. Not the saccharine sweet two-dimensional Jesus of the flannel graph, I was captivated by counter-cultural Jesus, pausing for long conversations over an ancient well with an unfaithful woman. I was drawn by the Jesus tearing down the religious structure with a whip focused on freeing people.
Jesus ran his fingers over the soft wisps reaching for the sun, eating kernels of grain on the Sabbath…because he was hungry, imagine that. He gave order to the chaos of rules and extra laws about rules like He did at Creation so long ago, not with violence, but piercing truth. I was struck by the clarity with which He spoke into the tangled web of lies produced by human nature 30AD. Where does that come from? I needed that kind of clarity. This was wisdom that shakes the foundations of the world over and over so that even Ghandi developed his India-liberating philosophy based on His person.
Those days, I was easily distracted by the hypocritical nature of His children and confused by the towers of impossible theology, but if I kept my eyes locked into His, the miraculous found a home inside me. I wanted to gaze, to read, to gaze again, curl up and live there.
Eventually I made peace with Paul. He’s quite stunning, actually. I finally made friends with this shockingly humble Christ-pointer who pieced together a brilliant quilt of mystery with his inspired words. And the Old Testament? I read for God glimpses, trying to discern hints of Jesus threaded through.
I’ve learn to read kneeling before the One who proves Himself faithful over and over story to shining story.
And when I preach? Each time, I hear God whisper, whatever you do, point to Jesus.
When the curious begin to unfurl, hunger for Light, this is what we can water them with, pure unadulterated Jesus straight from the gospel. Encourage them to discover Jesus for themselves, push past the stereotypes. There they may be shocked to find not the saccharine Jesus of tired Sunday school songs, but their Guide to a new adventure: the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Hi friend. Welcome. We’re in the middle of a series for Lent called Cross-shaped Evangelism. If you want more, do click here. We are in the middle of a conversation about the five thresholds from this book and now, are chatting through this threshold. I know it will all make sense in just a few clicks! Tomorrow, deep breaths and Sabbath.