August 25, 2019

Brainwashed or Bloodwashed?

On April 21/28, 2019 [depending on which calendar the faith community uses] millions of disciples of Jesus jubilantly celebrate the miracle of the resurrection. We rejoice in the fact that the tomb is empty and the Christ who emptied the tomb has filled our hearts and desires to fill every longing, gasping, sighing and panting of every human heart till the knowledge of God covers the earth like the waters cover the sea.  This event has come under immense scrutiny and attack and remains the butt of skeptics’ mocking jokes.   This should not surprise us. For one thing from the time, it occurred the religious and political authorities conspired to contrive alternative narratives. This effort has outlived them to our contemporary scholars.  On the other hand, when we pause to examine the many implications of the resurrection it’s easy to understand why the enemy of our souls would exert so much energy into discrediting it. 

For the foregoing reasons I lament the state of the church which fails to recognize the need to be focused on heavenly matters in view of the resurrection but is fascinated with earthly matters.   This misdirected focus suggests that many are brainwashed rather than having a blood washed brain.  The resurrection is our victory and the source of our new identity, alive with Christ, and our new spiritual domain, seated in heavenly realms with Jesus.   This of course ought to revolutionize our outlook on life.  “So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. MSG.   The NIV renders verses 1 – 2: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things…”

  


   The text spares no punches, it asserts that those who have been raised with Christ are under obligation to act like it. We are to evince this reality by having our heart’s affection and loyalty and focus pointed in the direction of the higher ideals.  Our hearts must be pointed away from the things of this earth.  The words of a chorus fill my mind just now: “Turn your eyes on Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of this earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”    Here is yet another clear antidote against mammon and its minions.  Those who have been brainwashed will retain their love affair with the world. John could not be any clearer in his description of the world and it’s allurements.  In 1 John 2: 15 – 16 he says 15Do not lovethe world or anything in the world. If anyoneloves the world, the love of the Father is not inhim. 16For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.…”  

The resurrection which guarantees our new life calls us to a newness of life. New perspectives, new priorities, new purposes.   The old passes and all things become new.

We are to embrace and incarnate new perspectives. Our resurrected state with Christ which we celebrate forces us to live with appropriate Perspectives— Death, for example is part of the journey of life as we now know it.  Death reigned since the failure of Adam.  It therefore means that we need to live in the light of the reality of death, but impose upon that reality our risen status.   Tertullian, third-century church father, speaking about death put it this way, “It is a poor thing to fear that which is inevitable.”   The fear of death therefore which cripples many in our churches today, immobilizing them from taking a courageous stand for righteousness, justice, equality and fraternity is oxymoronic.

I submit to us that it is the power of the resurrection of Jesus which transformed the same scared and scattered disciples into the firebrand witnesses for Jesus we meet in the book of Acts.  The heat of the fires and the teeth of the lions in the stadiums were no match for the life they knew they had in Jesus. They stared persecution in the face, considering that the world was not worthy of them.  They understood that they should not fear humans who could only destroy the body but rather have reverential fear for God who can destroy both body and soul. People who are in the clutch of mammon, those whose heart is set on earthly things, think first of their goods and hardly think of the good of others.

The resurrected life must also lead us to live with new Priorities—spiritual, theological, and missional. Our ultimate purpose in life is make to make Jesus look magnificent and known in our immediate locations and in every location possible.   We make Jesus look great by going in the spirit of Jesus to do as much good as we can, ensuring that we attribute that which we do to His enablement and grace to us.   We will make His Name well known by going with the truth of Jesus to as many as we can.  It is as make use of every opportunity that life presents us to showcase Jesus that we reap the harvest of souls which Jesus died to rescue.

And then of course we dance to the beat of a new Purpose—What am I living for? –  to reach into large numbers of desperate souls around our world with lasting solutions.  When we recognize that death is like a swinging door that takes us into the waiting room for the judgement of God we are driven to provide hope to those who are drowning under the weight of sin.  A purpose filled life always triumphs over an aimless purposeless life.  Jesus stood before the disciples, fresh out of the tomb, All authority in heaven and earth has been given unto me, therefore go make disciples!

Today is not about hopping bunnies, Easter eggs and bun and cheese! Since we have been raised with Christ we are challenged to decide on where and how we will set our minds.  Here are some things to meditate on: Does my life match up to this view that God has of me? Is my Spiritual state of deadness to the world evidenced in my lifestyle?

Which of my most recent decisions to I need to revisit to get it in line with the heavenly perspective? What is Jesus’ perspective on political tribalism? How does the heavenly realm perceive ‘my outright or tacit embrace of the culture of “informa fe dead”/”death to snitches”?  Does the way I spend my money or my church spends money demonstrate a heavenly perspective, priority and purpose?

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