Summary: Jesus has not asked us to join a religion, but his proposal is more like marriage vows.
The Choice of a Lifetime
Series: A Journey with Jesus (through the Gospel of John)
Brad Bailey – May 22, 2011
[The following was not all stated when shared publicly due to the limits of both time and general nature of only developing notes as a form of preparation which I neither memorize nor read… but seek to follow in thought. As such the following is a more complete and articulated form.]
This summer my wife Leah and I approach celebrating 20 years of marriage.
I recall the night I proposed to her… it was at a restaurant along the beach… and as the words came out of my mouth… despite how confident I was of this choice… I could see this cartoon like bubble that contained the words right there in front of me… between us…because those words represented a whole new life.
This morning… God is placing the ultimate proposal before each of us. As we come to the conclusion of our Journey with Jesus as engaged through the Gospel of John… as we’ll see… the entire Gospel of John comes back to Jesus making such a proposal to his lead disciple Peter… and it is the proposal he says he has come to place before each of us.
For some of us… you may not be ready to respond… but it is time to hear these words… and understand the choice that is at hand. For some… it is time to hear these words and give your life by saying ‘yes.’ For some… like Peter, these words come like the renewing of vows… a chance to refresh the reality of what may have already been decided… by renewing your vow.
[ PRAYER: God, we want to open our hearts to what you place before us today…]
As we come to this climatic proposal from Jesus… I want to help us stand back for a moment and see the big picture of what is really at hand.
Peter understood that the proposition at hand was not that of choosing a religion in the way we often think of it. There were plenty of religious leaders and Jesus certainly wasn’t like one of them. In fact, the very way which Jesus is experienced, was that he was spoke with an authority unlike any of the religious teachers. (Matthew 7:29, cf John 8:2, 14:10, 16:3) Along the way, Peter would be the one to say, ‘where else can we go, you have the words of ETERNAL life.’ (John 6:68)
The whole story that God reveals and is captured in the accounts of Scripture…begins by revealing that life as we know it has been separated from it’s source... and what is involved in reaching that life again.
We’ve become characters outside the true story… each of our lives have a semblance of story but cut off from relationship to the real drama at hand.
We can study the stage… and try to figure out the story… but without the author and script… we have lost our place and purpose in existence. Jesus comes doing nothing less than restoring lives to life. This sense of being part of something more transcendent may be a rather difficult thing to grasp because we simply can’t easily grasp what is beyond us… we are so cut off from the world of the author we left.
We chose to leave the story believing we could write our own... only there is no other story… and there is no other author.
Only he can work us back into the script. That is what Jesus comes to do. In this sense Jesus comes as the author entering the set. He is the one who can call us from outside ourselves…and from outside the whole of this lost story. That is why he enters the human story unlike any….
God begins to develop a story of redemption…of calling out a people to himself… and of the cost and sacrifice that such a process of redemption will involve…ultimately involving one who be sent like no other… not simply raised up from the created realm… but one coming from the heavenly eternal realm.
So Jesus enters as the one sent from outside… as the prophets had told of… and when the time comes he begins to declare who the true Author is and how He is working to restore lives into life.
He has come to bring that sovereign reigning power to bear… this is what he taught… this is what he enacted. Those first to follow… amazed… confounded… and then saw the sobering and sacrificial love that such redemption involves. They saw him overcome the separation between a world separated from it’s eternal source… as he was crucified… and then rose to life.
Now he meets them to settle that calling to find life again in him… in following him.