Category Archives: Jesus Revealed

Jesus Revealed – The veil was torn

“What just happened?”

Don’t you suppose that was the question racing through the minds of Adam and Eve that fateful day in the garden? In God’s beautiful garden, the home he created for them to enjoy, mankind surrendered to sin, to MY will and MY way.

For the first time, mankind hid, feeling the sting of guilt followed hard by the oppression of shame.

Isolation and separation.

Gone were the walks in the cool of the evening. Come the days of toil and sweat.

Sinful man labored 40 years in the dessert. Carrying God in a box. Erecting his tent home when they set up camp. Shrouding his presence with The Veil.

Only the high priest and only once a year did man pass behind the veil into the holy presence of Holy God.

The world was left longing. Longing for the garden, for evening walks and talks. Longing to know and be known.

But then….

In another garden, God-Become-Man surrenders to grace, to HIS will and HIS way.

Jesus bridges the gap between God and man with his broken body.  The Father’s way makes a way for relationship to be restored.

The Veil? Torn!

From top to bottom. The hands of God eager to destroy the thing that separated. God’s wrists turn. His strong arms tear.

Sin atoned. His loving presence floods the earth.

“What just happened?”

Don’t you suppose they heard it? Fibers snapping as the veil was shredded?

Don’t you suppose they felt it? Waves of grace? Cleansing flow of love?

Can you feel it now? Love washing over you, rinsing away the stain of sin.

Cool. Refreshing. Satisfying every longing of your soul.

Affirmation: The Veil has been torn, making a way for me to have a relationship with God, my creator.

Comments: We’d love to hear from you. What does it mean to you that the veil was torn?

Matthew 27:50-51 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom;

Jesus Revealed – Happiness is the truth

Some people think it’s spiritual to walk around with a sour face reciting a list of all that’s wrong with the world and all they’ve suffered. But that doesn’t make them more spiritual. It just makes them unpleasant.

Permission granted to not take yourself so seriously.

Seriously.

Laugh a little. Smile. Clap along. You are free to pursue happiness.

At Jesus’ birth the angels announced good news of great JOY!  Jesus explained that one of the reasons he taught was so his JOY would be in us and our JOY would be complete. As his earthly life came to a close, Jesus endured the cross for the JOY set before him.   Joy is woven throughout the story of Jesus’ life. It is part of his identity.

You know, he got in trouble for having too much fun with the wrong kind of people.  It really annoyed the religious folks. But this is what the Father has to say about his Son “….God has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else.”

Jesus was happy! People wanted to be around him. Children wanted to be close to him. That says a lot. Kids don’t like creepy, grumpy, stuffy, serious people.

If you want to experience real happiness and joy in your life, get close to Jesus!

Affirmation: Realize that true happiness cannot be found in anything unless it is first found in God.

Comments: We’d love to hear from you. Tell us about the happiest person you know.

Luke 2:10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.

John 15:11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Hebrews 12:1 …For the joy set before him he endured the cross…

Jesus Revealed – Graceland or performance park

With great joy and a sigh of relief we receive the free gift of salvation. We know – oh boy do we know – we did nothing to deserve God’s love. For a moment, we rest in this amazing grace, but then what do we do?

We step right up to the gates of Performance Park, hand over our hard-earned cash and clock in. This is not a fun place to play the day away. This is dry duty devoid of passion. Performance Park is lame. The paint is peeling. The bumper cars give you whiplash. The petting zoo features one scrawny goat. The popcorn is stale and tastes like burnt grease. But we find ourselves stuck here, striving, desperately trying to deserve more, to measure up.

Once in a while, when the pathetic 12-foot Ferris wheel stalls out, we see over the fence and catch a glimpse of an all-together different experience in a place called Grace Land.  We close our eyes and remember the joy filled moments we spent there in the beginning. Music fills the air. Flowers bloom. The food is incredible. The roller coasters are steep and smooth. The parade is the most beautiful celebration you’ve ever imagined and the fireworks display takes your breath away. The people in Grace Land are fully alive.

How did we stray so far from the grace that saved us? Why did we believe the lie that we have to perform to earn the love we didn’t deserve in the first place? We’ve underestimated the depth of forgiveness.  We think God is like the carnival employee holding up his measuring stick and telling us year after year, we still fall short.

We are wrong!

Grace is not just for sinners. Grace is for saints.

Affirmation: I won’t leave Grace Land for Performance Park

Comments:   What do you do when you find yourself on the performance treadmill? What has helped you embrace and enjoy God’s grace for everyday life?

Galatians 3: 1-3 MSG You crazy Galatians! Did someone put a hex on you? Have you taken leave of your senses? Something crazy has happened, for it’s obvious that you no longer have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in your lives. His sacrifice on the cross was certainly set before you clearly enough. Let me put this question to you: How did your new life begin? Was it by working your heads off to please God? Or was it by responding to God’s Message to you? Are you going to continue this craziness? For only crazy people would think they could complete by their own efforts what was begun by God.

Jesus Revealed – A new take on an old story

Have you heard The Parable of the Extravagant Love of the Father? Perhaps you know this story by its more popular name – The Prodigal Son.

We think this is a story about a boy who goes off to sow wild oats only to discover the pleasures of sin are fleeting.  He hits rock bottom and comes crawling back home like a miserable puppy with his tail tucked between his legs. He makes a pathetic speech and things work out in the end.

But this is not a story about a boy. This is a story about a Father

The Father never lost hope. We find him waiting and watching for his son’s return. When he spots him on the horizon, he is filled with compassion. There is no room in the Father’s heart for judgment or anger or contempt – only love.

He throws all dignity aside and runs to meet the boy. He wraps his arms around him and kisses him. It certainly wasn’t the greeting the boy expected.

The Father doesn’t even acknowledge the boy’s groveling. There is no “You should have known better” or “I told you so.” Without a moment’s hesitation he restores the boy to all the rights and privileges of sonship. He launches the party of the century over this one lost child who’s come home. What extravagant love! What amazing grace!

I imagine the boy standing there awkwardly; feeling the weight of the family robe on his shoulders, turning the family signet ring around his finger, wiggling his toes in sandaled feet thinking this is all too good to be true. And it is. And that’s exactly what grace is all about.

Affirmation: I will embrace the grace and love of the Father

Comments: Tell us about an awkward grace filled moment in your life.

Luke 15: 11-24. ….he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick!Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’shave a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Jesus Revealed – Friend of sinners

Zacchaeus was a wee little man. Bless his heart.

I’m afraid the age old Sunday School song has given us the wrong impression of this guy. He sounds so endearing as the vertically challenged Israelite who climbed a tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus.

But this was NOT a nice guy.

Zacchaeus would have been known as an embezzler, a traitor and a notorious cheat. He was the first century equivalent of a Colombian drug lord, getting rich off of other people’s pain and living in the lap of luxury.

It shocked everyone around when Jesus stopped to talk to him. Didn’t he know who this guy was?

Not only did Jesus know who he was, he called Zacchaeus by name. He invited himself over to Zacchaeus’ house, which produced even more shock and awe.

The religious people of the day took painstaking efforts to distance themselves from unsavory sinners like Zacchaeus. But here we see Jesus moving in, getting close, and disregarding his good reputation to become a friend of sinners.

This is Jesus. He is not your accuser or your prosecutor. He is your rescuer and friend.

Affirmation: I will embrace fully that Jesus is a friend of sinners 

Comment: We want to hear from you. Tell us how you know Jesus as a friend of sinners.

Luke 19:1-10 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus,come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”