Summary: If we are to take the words of Jesus seriously, we must understand the way God thinks - or at least understand how differently God thinks from us.
Following Jesus, part 6
God is Out There!
Wildwind Community Church
November 6, 2005
Isaiah 55:9 (MSG)
9 "For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
We have a hard time grasping how God thinks. I listened to a radio program recently where a celebrity described her journey from Catholicism to atheism. I felt for her as she seemed so badly to have wished that she could have found a reason to hold on to faith. But that was precisely the issue. She was trying so hard to make spiritual things fit her current way of thinking, rather than seeking to have her way of thinking molded by spiritual things. In one place she derides Jesus for teaching in parables that few could understand, saying a really good teacher would have chosen to communicate in ways that his students could better comprehend. That would be the obvious human conclusion, wouldn’t it? But of course Jesus spoke in parables because he was trying to describe The Matrix to his followers. Remember, in The Matrix Morpheus says, “Unfortunately no one can be shown what the Matrix is – you have to see it for yourself.” Jesus had the incredibly difficult task of explaining to human beings stuck in this reality what HIS reality – his world – was like. He had to try to communicate to people who think like us what our world looks like to Him. He had the nearly impossible task – one I believe only God could accomplish – of explaining something that his listeners would have no frame of reference for understanding at all. Why do you think that in attempting this task Jesus nearly always used things his people DID understand? Mustard seeds and sheep and gates and trees and bread and needles and camels and water. The language he used to describe all this was language that inspired curiosity and encouraged his listeners to look at the picture more intently until they could see it for themselves.
And many did. In trying to grasp the mind of God we have to be prepared to go beyond the way we currently think. Because God is way, way, way out there. And we will not begin to see another world (The Matrix) until we begin to suspect, and perhaps to hope, that this one isn’t all there is.
Clearly God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. Not only is God infinitely smarter than us, His thoughts are of an entirely different order – a different kind – than ours. Because he comes from a different world – lives in a different reality than we do. Our text this morning says God’s thoughts are “beyond” us. How beyond are they? So far beyond that Jesus was able to think up and say these words:
Matthew 5:3-12 (MSG)
3 "You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
4 "You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.
5 "You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
6 "You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.
7 "You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ’carefull,’ you find yourselves cared for.
8 "You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.
9 "You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.
10 "You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.
11 "Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable.
12 You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.
We’re so used to hearing these words that we take them for granted, but this stuff is out there! No one had ever said or heard words like this before.
How beyond us are God’s thoughts? So beyond us that Jesus was able to say: