There is More

-jvCyUZ3lky5XALq7VqfWgThere is more!

It is the norm to develop ideas and interpretations of life as we grow. This includes politics and purpose, relationships and religion, as well as spiritual realities.

For many, we picture a solid wall between us and the heavenly realms which are out there somewhere, unreachable and certainly not understandable.

Then we learn about Jesus and hear that because he died to pay for and forgive our sins, we can now have a relationship with Father and will go to heaven when we die.

This is where most people stay. Picture a solid wall, with a wall phone attached. There was no phone there until we accepted Jesus. Now we can go to the phone and call Father whenever we have a need. How cool is that! Some of us call frequently, others only when in trouble. This works for us as we drudge through life. When we die, we somehow are able to walk through that wall as Jesus did after the resurrection and enter heaven.  Good.

But our view never changes. We see our life, its problems, and the wall with its phone hanging there. That is all.

Jesus’ enormous suffering and dying only provided us a phone line? And possible streets of gold at the end of life?

The testimony of millions is a new life, somehow energized within when transformed by God, a new life which alters our priorities and definitely reduces the drudgery of life. But still, the wall exists in our mind to keep that new life confined. Being born again installs the direct connection phone line which is a great improvement to the old way, but it does not have FaceTime installed. We are left unable to see what the Father is doing, the way Jesus could. We read the promise that we will do more than Jesus did, but feel challenged to pray for someone to be healed of a head cold.

It seems that Jesus tore down the wall so that we can be fully restored to heavenly realities and we have resolutely rebuilt it. Any experience beyond the norm of earthly life is deemed scary, abnormal, and shunned as weird. Fear constrains us from entering into all that was made available by the complete work of the Cross. Any time we sense a nearness, or presence of Holy Spirit, or alteration of the atmosphere, we pull back and flee rather than staying in the moment, pressing into it to see, hear and learn more of the Father, of Jesus, of that other reality we call heaven.

It is a huge loss to us. We have been invited to a fancy dress ball with a fabulous feast, and we choose to stay home with a pack of snack crackers. And the phone.

There is more, much more, for those who pursue him. Press in; don’t pull back. Real life awaits.

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My God, My God

Increasingly I have come to understand that there is nothing random or incidental about anything concerning Jesus. Every action, every word has meaning and purpose. Some are obvious; others take a while to discover, but all lead to healing in some way. The things we don’t understand tend to slide right by; we dismiss them as incidental or fillers to the real story. But they are not.

So it was with his cry from the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Mt. 27:46, which is an echo from Psalm 22.

Many sermons have been preached, interpreting this passage to try to make sense of it – and yet none satisfied. If God is totally good and behind the whole cross event, why is He so cruel to His own son during the height of his agony? So without a satisfactory answer we relegate this to a shelf in the closet to be ignored or explained away.

If it is true that Jesus took all sin to the cross, we need to rethink about what was included. Physical healing, certainly. “By his stripes we are healed.” “This is my body, broken for you.” My blood…poured out for the forgiveness of sin.” There is nothing that is excluded. Ailments of body and soul are covered. In the totality of His work on the cross, Jesus took all evil upon himself in order to die – to kill it, as it were.

And that included that dreadful moment in the Garden when separation from God occurred. Forced into exile, man was alone, terrifyingly alone. Naked. Abandoned.

Mankind has the ability to endure much hardship – wars, famine, floods and menacing beasts – but abandonment and aloneness, separation from the loving parent is the worst of all. It creates a pain and impress on spirit and soul which does not heal. A broken bone will mend; a broken spirit not. “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” Pr. 18:14

Jesus’ cry from the cross, his intentional cry, was showing that everything, including the separation and abandonment was included in his dying. Therefore he could declare following his resurrection, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He wont because he cannot. The old separation and its penalty have died; we live now anew in Him, never again alone and abandoned.

He not only suffered the deep forlorn-ness of God-separation, but there was more. “I thirst.” Here His cry reveals an essential body need, and the far greater longing of spirit and soul for the river of life. Man in his fallen state thirsts for that connection with his creator, for the refreshing found only in God. “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Mt. 5:6

Jesus had throughout his ministry proclaimed that He was the source of living water. “He who comes to me shall never thirst.” “Come, all you who are thirsty, “ God says in Isaiah 55:1. “The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” “Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 4:13,14; 7:37,38.

Yet on the Cross, Jesus who is the God-source of unending life-giving water, cries out “I thirst.”

As intentional as all His other words, this declares that every misery sourced in the dryness of life without God is also hanging on the cross to be killed. Eternally. The new life planned by God will be one free of lack, and full of refreshment, catching man up in its flow.

It is this creation of a new reality, free forever from the former distortions, misery, sin and evil of life, that drove Jesus to the utter horror and pain of the cross where the “former things” were taken away. Killed dead. The new reality is indeed a new creation, one which required the elimination of the first state in order to establish the final and better one. It could only happen through the action of the God Man, Jesus. He, the sinless One, took all men into himself when He was lifted up, nailed to the cross. He also took not only sin, but every fruit of sin which brings woe and suffering in its wake.

The work of the Cross included restoration of mankind’s other senses. In Ezekiel 12:2 God declares, “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.” Rebellion causes blindness and deafness, God says. The only way to deal with that is to remove the root cause, Rebellion, the first sin. From it spring the separation and then all other evils leading to death. Since rebellion is part of man’s fallen nature, it is hard to recognize in ourselves. But it permeates our thinking and self interest so that we cannot hear, cannot see God, and often don’t want to, anyway. We instead worship at the shrine of self (the Me, Myself and I trinity) wondering why our lives are not going well.

We hear about living a life without rebellion and wonder if such a thing is possible. Every thought and act in line with God’s will? That sounds like Utopia, unachievable in this life. And in truth, it is unachievable in the life we started with. It is only possible through the new life He created for us. Hence the need for the Cross. It is the door into an entirely new experience, a new reality, a restored relationship with God the Father.

His work was total. Complete. When He uttered, “it is finished,” He was ready to die, taking the whole load of ugliness with Him to the grave. No one else could carry such a burden; no one else has the capacity of love to do it.

It is finished. The new reality is now available. To you.
Praise Him forever.