“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Monday, December 13, 2010

St. Jesus the Great, the seven-headed monster

“And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.” (Rev. 12:3,4).

I am reading Luke’s gospel again and this time with different glasses. I am seeing the reason I didn’t enjoy it the first time. On the surface without digging below the surface, in my perverted mind I saw Jesus as a show-off with His miracles, an instigator of trouble with the official rabbis, argumentative, one who loved to embarrass His opponents, one who loved to talk back, who did this purposely to trap His rivals, who lived to humiliate the religious leaders, and who spoke with authority and power for the sake of gaining authority and power; one who was an agitator. He was more a devil than a savior. And I did this as a church member in good standing, and desiring to be like Jesus.

In my flesh-based thinking I misinterpreted the gospel. I saw an illusion in my own flawed mind. My imagination painted a flawed picture based on its perverted predisposed prejudices from my original fallen human nature.

Where was the loveliness of Jesus, His meekness, love, and care? It didn’t jump out at me as I read. Where was the redeeming power of the gospels to break my heart and show me a Friend I could trust in? I couldn’t see His lamb-like attributes.

Thus, instead of being saved by His matchless love, all I had was the great works of a superhuman hero. My focus on Jesus was hero worship, saint worship—St. Jesus—the “holy” tool of Satan to “smite the people in wrath with a continual stroke,” and “[rule] the nations in anger.” (Is. 14:6). It was the condemning Law, and only the Law, in human flesh. St. Jesus, like all the other “holy” cannonized saints, was Mr. Great, but I was Mr. Nothing, Mr. Hopeless, without faith and without God.

But the Spirit of the true Jesus gives us the tools to unravel the simplicity of His ministry and self-sacrifice which our natures complicate. Christ’s own key to recognize Him—that the least are the greatest, and the last are first. Unless we see Him living for love from His Father and from us, He can’t be least and therefore great—otherwise, if He is only great, then we have the false Jesus. He has to be the least in order to be great. If we see Him only as a hero god, our fallen natures make Him a hated competitor who quickly sinks into insignificance in our proud minds. But for Him to become world-renowned, He must have been more than popular and forceful and talented. He must have met the needs of the heart. He must have been a friend, the very best. While He kept a tight ship and His look might freeze your blood, He also gave evidence of a quick thaw and warming up again.

But where is the faith of Jesus revealed in the gospels? Where is His beauty and friendliness? Do we look for it? Do we interpret His words and acts by His faith as products of a heart crucified with His Father, a born-again heart, embedding Himself in His Father and relying on His Father to regenerate His heart every morning? Do we question Christ’s motives in the gospels? Are we allowed to do this? Yes, we are; and we must.

Our Elder Brother invites His whole human race, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord.” (Is. 1:18). “Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob.” (Is. 41:21). “Bring all your arguments against Me. Let’s see if your assumptions about Me are true. Be fair and give Me a chance to clear My sullied reputation.” Searching for His motive of love is the first work in Bible study. It’s the first work in getting to know God.

Be as bold as Abraham, “That be far from Thee to do after this manner.… Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen. 18:25). And Moses, “Lord, why doth Thy wrath wax hot against Thy people, which Thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did He bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth? Turn from Thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against Thy people.” (Ex. 32:11,12).

Not only must we be bold, but we must admit to our own possibility of misunderstanding Christ as He might appear in the gospels; we must check ourselves for possible misperceptions, and examine ourselves to see whether we are in the faith. It is not blasphemy to question Christ’s motives. “Prove Me now…, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Mal. 3:10). Let’s not to be bashful. He commands us to put Him to the test to see if He is true and faithful. He commands it; so, let’s keep His commandments.

“Moreover the Lord spake again unto Ahaz, saying,
Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God; ask it either in the depth, or in the height above.
But Ahaz said, I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord. And [Isaiah] said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign….” (Is. 7:10-14).

How would there ever be faith in God if it were not for the evidence in His works, warnings, and promises? What was Ahaz’s dilemma? What is the psychology here? He didn’t want a blessing. Why? What makes us miss blessings? Our natures act quicker than our brains. Our sub-conscious self-centeredness overrules our conscious decision-making ability.

What governs the sub-conscience? Can we get a grip on our self-centered sub-conscience? Can we man-handle it into submission to our will? No, we can’t. And Christ doesn’t expect us to. That’s the domain of Christ or the devil. But, daily, we choose to place ourselves in the environment which each has provided. Then we surrender to their control, either to godliness under Christ’s control or sin under Satan’s. “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” (Josh. 24:15).

So I come to the Bible if I want the Holy Spirit to wash my mind and bring me to freedom in Jesus, looking for those precious promises like gems hidden in the ground. Or I spend time ingesting the images and corruption from the television and the hypnotic rhythms and rhymes from the CD player and radio which pervert my mind further and further until I am brought to slavery to Satan. I can indirectly control my sub-conscience and willpower to do good or bad by my choice of which resource I open my soul to day by day.

When I come to the Bible I must come with a desire to know God. And He commands me, “Ask, seek, knock.” Question, search, be strong before God. “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.” (Ecc. 9:10). Like I was told when they sat me in front of a new computer, “Go ahead and play with it. You can’t break it.” We can’t break God or His determination to save us by reverently, lovingly, yet boldly asking Him questions about His motives.

How did Christianity become so weak before a rebellious world today? I believe that the Protestants ceased to be as bold with God and tenacious in seeking for His mercy and love as were the reformers. I think they felt that personally questioning Jesus was blasphemy; so Satan was able to slip in his impersonation of Jesus, and they took the beating of St. Jesus, the greatest saint of the Roman pantheon. He is the saint who beat their souls to powder and ground the faces of the poor.

Why would the Protestants not question God’s motives in the Bible? Possibly many reasons. Perhaps they feared to do so; that doing so was irreverent and dishonoring to God and disloyal to the Reformation. Perhaps the slavery of the Dark Ages of forced, brutal religion kept them from breaking free from old traditions of men into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. But perhaps the simple fear of standing apart from the group, thinking differently, also prevented them from looking for a warm and loving Jesus, and caused them to lose the ever-advancing torch of verity. So they took the gospels at face-value only and never tried to sound out the depths of God’s word. They did not obey the Bible.

“Search the scriptures; ...they are they which testify of Me.” “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” “All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me.” (Jn. 5:39;Is. 45:22;Rom. 10:21;Jn. 12:32).

If we will take up the work of the Reformers, “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment,” we will move forward to reform other shortcomings in the faith that were lost from the original doctrine of Christ. (Heb. 6:1,2). Let us dig and search for the humanity and mercy of Jesus which He had for those who were quietly seeking God in their suffering. Free Jesus from the stigma of St. Jesus, the god who is perfect in behavior but empty of, and who shows no mercy to sinners.

Let us flee from the monster with seven heads and ten horns—St. Jesus—who looks holy and sacerdotal, but never really frees us from sin through the love of God. He may look splendidly god-like and holy, but he only uses religion for his ultimate entrapment into devil-possession. As it is written,
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy….
If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” (Rev. 13:1;14:9-11). Everything called holy is not heavenly.

Ignatius de Loyola studied under St. Jesus, and became as cruel and “holy” and “saintly” as St. Jesus, the Great, the seven headed beast. If Martin Luther had not discovered the Bible, his badgered conscience would have driven him into that vast and growing army of St. Jesusites, soon to encompass the whole world.

Let the true Jesus out of the box we contrive. He was to be more than an instigator of theological argument or a genius at debate. He was to be more than a showy miracle worker. And since He dodged being praised or honored at every move (Matt. 12:19-21), then let us peer into the mind of Christ, let’s find His real motives and see the real humility and purity and self-forgetfulness of His character.

Then He will unmask the mysterious work of the devil in trying to add Christ to his pantheon of Roman gods. “But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare My statutes, or that thou shouldest take My covenant in thy mouth?
… Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.” (Ps. 50:16,21,22).

Jesus is not another mythical hero. He showed His greatness in His servitude and crucifixion, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28), and His great love, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Lk. 23:34).

He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets.
A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory.
And in His name shall the Gentiles trust.


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