Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hyper Jesus

Hyper Jesus. I don’t mean a hyper-active Jesus. Like my friend Eric who was wiry, excitable, couldn’t sit still, spoke a-mile-a-minute. Of course, he also put sugar on his fruit loops every morning for breakfast.

No, we have a Hyper Jesus – υπέρ being the Greek word that means “for” or “on behalf of.” This is what Jesus Christ did. He died for us. He died in our place. He died for our sins.

But this is the part I struggle with. I know it’s true. But I feel that I don’t feel the way I should about this. That it doesn’t really change my life in any drastic way. That’s my fear.

However, St. John says, “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). So, to overcome this fear of mine, let’s look at the only perfect love there is.

John recorded Jesus saying, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). That is perfect love – that Jesus died for his friends that means you and me.

Max Lucado wrote in 3:16, “Jesus issues decrees, not opinions; commands, not suggestions. They are truth.”

It isn’t someone’s opinion that Jesus loves. It is a declaration of truth.

Jesus love for me and for you is truth. As we let that truth sink in through meditation and devotion in addition to weekly worship, it changes our lives, it transforms our lives.

We will want to 1) share this love and 2) love in the same way.

A woman gave one of her kidneys to a stranger—a significant gift, but she didn’t receive the diseased kidney back in her body. If you’ve signed the organ donor box on your DL, or you have ever donated a kidney, part of your liver, or a lung, or even just donated blood, you’ve got an inkling of the love Jesus as for you.

But this is still just an inkling and a donation. It isn’t an exchange. You don’t get bad blood, or a diseased kidney in exchange for the good you donate.

Jesus commands us to love each other. John records this in John 15:12, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”

Lucado further writes, “Jesus gave His perfect heart to a world full of strangers. But He received the diseased hearts as His own and died for them. Christ exchanged hearts with you. More than pardoned, we are declared innocent. We enter heaven not with healed hearts but with Jesus’ heart!”

Before we get to heaven with our new heart, Jesus wants us to use it here. How? By loving one another. There’s a great picture of this in the Gospel of John – Jesus washing the feet of the disciples.

Can you wash someone’s feet today? Maybe not literally, but by loving them with Jesus’ love; with Jesus’ heart?

Maybe the place to start is with yourself. Overcome the fear that you may have like mine and let the love of Jesus cast out your fear.

Lord, I get it. You love me. Seeing everything—every shortcut, every stumbling step, every day I am stuck in the mire of self-doubt and worry. You love me. And there’s nothing I can do that will change Your love. Not illness, rebellion, self-induced loneliness, or even my questions. Nothing! You love me. Though I long to earn Your love, even then, Your love marches on! Even when I fail, You love me. Jesus, I realize that You didn’t die to make me better. You died because You love me. And Your love is enough. Yes, it’s enough to carry me. It is enough to redeem me. Not salvation by me. Salvation for me. Because You love me. [ prayer from the 3:!6 The Church Experience workbook]

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