They Touched Jesus

1 John 1:1-4 describes well the relationship and passion of the disciples/apostles to Jesus, the Word of Life.

It so aptly describes that which they heard, seen, looked at, and touched.

To hear would not have been enough. To have seen was more compelling. But to have TOUCHED was the conclusive proof of material reality, that the Word became “flesh, and lived for a while among us.” This word “touched” (epselaphesan), the climax of the four relative clauses, describes more than a momentary contact. It means to grope or feel after to find, like a blind man in the dark.

The conclusion: the disciples (and John in particular) REALLY KNEW JESUS.

Spiritual Muscles For Show?

Professional body builders have massive muscles and glistening tans. Why? They don’t play a sport. They don’t use their muscles to pull trucks. They are not prison guards or firemen. They just put on a Speedo and strut. It’s all for show. What a waste of their incredible strength!

Some Christians look like this spiritually but never use their muscles.

This is what Christians do when they build all of their spiritual muscles just for show but never use them to do anything significant. They feel good about themselves but have little impact on the kingdom.

The Wrath of God

When we speak of the wrath of God, we imagine that God is irrationally full of rage, ready to “make heads roll” because he is so livid.  In the same way that God’s love is not a silly, sappy feeling but rather a consistent desire for the good of his people, so also the wrath of God is not a crazed rage but rather a consistent opposition to sin and evil.  God hates sin, we say (not the sinner, however), but even then, the idea of God hating something seems beneath him.  We have a difficult time with the concept of God’s wrath and judgment and condemnation because our only examples of these things are so negative.

The solution to the problem is in understanding that in the Bible the wrath of God is pathos and not passion.  The Anchor Bible Dictionary  explains the difference:

the wrath of Yahweh is portrayed somewhat differently from human anger in the Hebrew Bible.  In some respects this is essentially the difference between “passion” and “pathos.”  Passion can be understood as an emotional convulsion…and…a loss of self-control….  “Pathos” on the other hand, is an act formed with care and intention, the result of determination and decision.

The wrath of God is not like human wrath, which is a reckless and irrational passion.  God’s wrath is mindful, objective, rational response.  It is actually an act of love.

Wrath is a necessary reaction of a loving and holy God, a good and beautiful God, to evil.  God’s wrath is a temporary and just verdict on sin and evil.

Living in the Tragic Kingdom

What would people be like if they had been born and raised inside the Magic Kingdom and had never seen the outside world? Since our worldviews are shaped by our contexts, imagine what a distorted worldview they might have.

That’s pretty much how most Americans live, including Christians, who have been sheltered and shaped by our affluent culture. They live in comfortable houses and own a car. They have 200+ channels on their TV. They go out to dinner whenever they like. They live in a safe, predictable and orderly world in which the government oversees and all basic necessities are covered. With those things taken care of, they can now channel their energies enthusiastically  toward the “pursuit of happiness.”

While most Americans may live in the equivalent of the Magic Kingdom, most of the world is living in the Tragic Kingdom. One-third live on less than $2/day. Three out of four live on less than $10/day. An income of $44,000/year puts you in the top 1%. The Tragic Kingdom is much larger than that Magic Kingdom.

19,000 children a day under the age of 5 die every day due to illnesses that are preventable in this country.

Churches in the Tragic Kingdom often don’t have a building or Bibles to read, long alone sound systems, video projectors, and latte bars.

Why Did Jesus Leave?

The question is not when Jesus will return, but rather, why did He leave in the first place?

Why did Jesus leave?

When will He come back?

Why were we left behind?

If we don’t understand why Jesus left, then we will never understand the significance of our lives in Christ today.

Jesus left because there was something critical he intended for His disciples to do. Jesus had spent 3 years preparing His disciples for this critical mission. What was it?

Establishing and building the Kind of God on earth.