I've been reading "Searching for God knows What" by Donald Miller, who has imparted some wonderful insights into today's Christian-American culture. Here's one of his thoughts on the church-culture's idea of Jesus that struck me as especially incisive:
"To a culture that believes they 'go to heaven' based on whether or not they are morally pure, or that they understand some theological ideas, or that they are very spiritual, Jesus is completely unnecessary. At best, He is an afterthought, a technicality by which we become morally pure, or a subject of which we know, or a founding father or our woo-woo spirituality."
Instead our minds and hearts should see Jesus as God-incarnate, the lover and savior of our souls who has personally called us into a living relationship with Him! How awesome! (And I mean this in the full essence of this horribly mis-used and over-stated word of which I am far too guilty of abusing.)
As I read Miller's words I was reminded of how God has had relationships with the beings He has created over the millenia (these are just a sampling of known examples). He breathed life into Man and walked with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden; He spoke to Cain; He appeared to Abraham in the form of a man; He wrestled Jacob; He spoke to Moses from a burning bush and revealed His glory to Moses on a mountain top; He spoke and revealed Himself to many of Israel's prophets.
And then He, Jesus - God Himself, came and dwelt amongst us and in the ultimate act of sacrifice and love. He allowed Himself to be crucified, like a criminal, by His own created beings; put to death and then crushed by God in place of all of us! And not only that, but He sent His own spirit, the essence of His very self, to dwell within those He calls to be His disciples!
How great, how awesome, how wonderful and amazing is our God! By God's own grace and mercy may I never lose sight of the truth that God is not ultimately interested in practices and services but in establishing and growing a true and right relationship with me that I might reflect his perfect and awesome glory! What a world we live in!