Summary: Seeing the Unseen Christ means we lavish his love on others
We are seeing the unseen guest a little clearer as we enter into the third week of our adventure. We’ve considered how our worship would be changed if Jesus sat with us on Sunday morning. Our attention wouldn’t be wandering while worship went on. Our style would take on what I’d call a reverential freedom, as we expressed to Jesus how much he meant to us. Christ’s presence would also cause us to love others in lavish ways as we are overwhelmed by Jesus’ love for us. As we are loved by Jesus we would discover a need to express our love to others and we’d discover that our loving acts honor our Lord. I would hope we’d find ourselves in friendly competitions to try to out love one another with our actions.
I hope we all realize in our mind and heart that Jesus IS here, right now. The presence we imagine seeing here in our midst is even more real and profound because he lives within everyone who has trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. At the same time I believe we miss Christ’s presence because it’s too easy to take Jesus for granted. So far we’ve taken some first steps to counteracting this by getting ready for Sunday worship and by carrying out lavish acts of love for others. But this is just the start.
Twenty years of being a pastor and another eight plus as a layperson involved in the church has shown me that often we make Jesus’ love for us the beginning and end of our theology. Sometimes in a church it can sound like John 3:16 is the only verse in the Bible other than Psalm 23. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus’ love for us IS the center of the good news but have you asked why? What makes this love so key, so vital and so important? Some simply want to feel better and so Jesus’ love is like a fuzzy warm blanket that they can wrap themselves in when life is cold. And as nice as that sounds it’s pretty far from what scripture says. For it declares that the reason for Christ’s love is what enables us to become God’s friends. Our adoption as God’s children is only possible because of Christ’ love. It’s only this love that removes the wall that exists between God and us and that wall is sin.
Our sin, both our natural bent toward sin and our individual choices too sin, make Christ’s love an absolute imperative for our lives today. If Jesus were physically present with us we would be brought face-to-face with the seriousness of our sin and the total and complete holiness of God.
Imagine that you’re leaving worship and as you look at Jesus he fixes you eye with his and as he looks into you he sees everything in your life—your thoughts, hopes, dreams, hidden things—everything. He knows about the fight you had this morning before worship even though you look really together. He knows about the substance abuse and the gossip. He knows about the plans you have made to divorce, the lies you’ve told and the ways you have denied Jesus at work and school.
He knows it all
And he doesn’t say anything.
What’s more he knows we know he knows.
And he waits…
Standing there with this going through your mind what do we do? We realize from listening to the Bible that to stay with Jesus, to walk with Him, to be “in the light” something has to happen. What? That quick half-hearted ‘I’m sorry’ that worked when you were caught arguing with a brother or sister won’t work with Jesus. Then you see something else. The scars on his forehead from the thorns and those on his hand and side start to redden and you see blood seep from them. Then we start to get it. Those ugly, horrible things that he had seen in our lives are the very things that caused and cause his bleeding. How serious does God consider our littlest sin? It killed his Son!
So what do we do? Cry? Cover our faces in shame? Run, from him? Turn our head in disgust at the blood? Maybe fall on our face and ask for forgiveness? Maybe we would do these things. Yet today, as we spent time in confession the Spirit of God searched us and brought to mind our various sins and no one ran from the church, fell on their faces or cried out in horror. Why?
Here’s how you and I usually handle it when Jesus confronts us with our sin.
Deny it “What sin?” we ask trying to act casual and innocent. We’re like Cain who killed Able.
Blame others “They made me…Everyone else does… It’s not my fault” Adam and Eve both tried it in the garden in Genesis 3 and it didn’t work then either.