You still with me? Great! Thanks for reading!
We started with the idea that Jesus is Truth. Then we saw how Jesus is Freedom. Last time, we saw how Jesus is Knowable. Jesus is a lot of things … a lot of things that the world denies exists. The world denies that there is truth, yet it constantly makes truth claims. The world denies that freedom is good because people want power and they think the best way to attain it is to subjugate others. The world denies that you can have absolute knowledge about something because it sounds arrogant, and God forbid that anyone actually act as if what they believe is true is actually true!
The world is messed up. It’s broken. It needs to be fixed. The government can’t fix it. Money can’t fix it. Being nice can’t fix it. We can’t fix it.
Because we are the problem.
The solution to this broken world must come from outside of ourselves, contrary to what Gene Roddenberry would have you believe. Star Trek was great fun. It was fiction. Humans, as long as are like we are now, will never rise above this. Star Trek reflected our desire of Utopia. But all we see around us is a dystopia.
But it wasn’t really different 2000 years ago. Humans have been pretty much the same for a very long time.
In chapter 7 of his letter to the church at Rome, Paul recalls his own struggle with sin. He writes:
Romans 7:15–20 (ESV) (15) For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. (16) Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. (17) So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. (18) For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (19) For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. (20) Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
He is basically saying “Why do I keep doing what I know is wrong?” And he answers it honestly – “I want to do what is right, but I am not able to do it.” In fact, this realization makes him cry out:
Romans 7:24 (ESV) (24) Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
As long as we humans are like we are, we may want to do the right things, but we will be unable to do so. That does not bode well. We are wretched. We need someone else to deliver us from our bodies of death? Have you ever wondered why people are so wrapped up in the idea of finding other intelligent life in the universe? One reason that always somes up is this – “If there is a race of aliens out there who have lived long enough to travel here and visit us, surely they are better than us, and can teach us how to save ourselves.”
The world is arrogant enough to say that we can overcome our own evils and save ourselves. But that is foolishness.
Paul on the other hand, gives a much more grounded answer. One that testifies to the truth of our condition. He says:
Romans 7:25–8:4 (ESV) (25) Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (1) There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (3) For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, (4) in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
God has done what we could not! He sent His own son to live the life we couldn’t so that the righteous requirement of His own law would be fulfilled. Jesus stood before His people and took their place!
We couldn’t even fix ourselves, so how can we expect to fix the world? God must do what we cannot. And He will.
Revelation 21:1–5 (ESV) (1) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. (4) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (5) And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
What great news! Jesus is making all things new. Because we can’t.
Jesus is healer. He’s the healer of the heavens and the earth. But he’s also our healer. Healer of our souls. He may heal our bodies, our circumstances, our lives. He may make them better. But He doesn’t promise that like He promises to heal our very souls. That may be a hard pill for you to swallow – that you may pray your entire life that Jesus would heal some affliction of yours. But remember Paul? That guy who wrote the things I quoted above. He also wrote this:
2 Corinthians 12:7–8 (ESV) (7) So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. (8) Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
Imagine pleading with God that He would heal your body, only to hear what Paul heard in response:
2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) (9) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.”
In other words – “No Paul, I will not heal your affliction. You will show the world that you can still love me even if I don’t do everything you want me to do. My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
And Paul’s response is more amazing to me than the fact that God did not heal him. “OK Lord. If your power is made perfect in my weakness, then I will boast about my weakness so your power will be displayed all the more. I don’t need to be healed of my affliction. I need Christ. May His power rest on me.”
I am reminded of a song lyric that goes like this …
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We’d be held (Held, Natalie Grant)
Can you respond this way? Do you know that the promise was not “you will never fall”, but it was “when you do fall, you’ll be held.”
Here’s that promise:
John 10:25–30 (ESV) (25) Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, (26) but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. (27) My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (30) I and the Father are one.”
If you belong to Jesus, if you are one of His sheep, you are in His hands, and He will never let you go.
John 6:37–40 (ESV) (37) All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (38) For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (39) And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (40) For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
If you belong to Jesus, if you are one of His sheep, you have been given to Him by the Father, and He will never lose you.
Why? Because He lived, died, and rose from the dead to fulfill a promise made thousands of years earlier.
So, can you see past the “now” of your circumstances, of your affliction, of your struggles? Can you see the power of God in your weakness? Is His grace enough for you? Can you hold onto the promise of the future and fight through the now in His power? Even if you must die to see that promise fulfilled?
Or do you want more? Do you expect Jesus to give you what was never promised? Is His grace sufficient for you? He says it is, do you accept that?
But remember that thing about knowing the truth and the truth setting you free?
John 8:36 (ESV) (36) So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
But before I ask any of those questions, I should have asked this one – “Do you know the Truth?“ Notice that I did not ask “do you know that there is such a thing as truth”, but “do you know the truth?”
John 14:6 (ESV) (6) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
There is truth. There is freedom. He is knowable – do you know Him? Are you free?