Monday, April 2, 2012

Remembering the Cross ~ 2

From the beginning of time, God has been weaving a story of love for the people he created in his own image.  It’s hard to say why he loves us.  We’re not particularly loveable. We argue among ourselves.  We fight, we kill, we lie, we cheat, we steal.  In one way or another, we have rejected every law God has ever established, and yet he still loves us.  

The Hebrew Scriptures tell the story of God's creation, of his intimate relationship between with Adam and Eve.  They walk together.  They talk together.  This is not a relationship of equals.  God is God.  He is clearly the leader in this relationship.  However, it is a relationship of love.  

God asks one thing.  Do not eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.  

But they do.  

God sends the couple out of the garden, but he does not turn his back on humanity.  Over and over the Hebrew Scriptures depict God initiating relationship with men and women, and over and over men and women turn him away.  

God chooses one group of people to demonstrate his love for all humanity.  He pours out his blessings on these people, the Jews, and yet despite all the blessings given by God, they also reject him.  He wants to be their king, and instead they choose a human king.  He wants to lead them in his ways, but instead they choose their own ways.  And still he loves them. 

And so he sends them Jesus, his Son, to establish the Kingdom of God on earth.  For them and for us.  

In those days, the Jews were hoping God would send a Messiah, a promised deliverer, a supernatural king, who would set things right, free them from the rule of the Roman Empire, and establish Israel as a sovereign, prosperous nation. 

In Jesus, they saw God’s power everywhere.  This man from Galilee changed water into wine at a wedding.  He healed lepers.  He touched lame men and they walked.   He put mud on a blind man’s eyes, and he could see.  He called the demons out of men and women.  He even raised the dead. 

One time he fed five thousand people with a child’s lunch, five loaves of bread and two small fishes. 

When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey on Palm Sunday, the people greeted him with cries of Hosanna, which means save us!  They laid palm branches on the ground in front of him, greeting him as a king and a savior. 

It’s like that for many of us when we first hear the good news about Jesus.  We feel hope.  We feel forgiven.  We feel loved.  We can’t wait to get to church every weekend.  We join a small group and begin to make friends.  We join a ministry, and we sense that God is working through us.  He releases us from sins that have plagued us for years.  We pray, and God answers our prayers.  We begin to believe that God has a purpose for our lives, and we’re filled with thanksgiving.  Like the people of Jerusalem, we cry out Hosanna!  Save us!  

We hope God will rescue us from the situations that plague us.  

As much as God loves his people, he did not send Jesus to deliver the Jews from the Romans, and so they crucified him.

And as much as God loves us, he does does not always rescue us from our difficult situations.  How will we respond?  

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