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Posts Tagged ‘son of God’

blood of JesusLife patterns change in the face of death. It is rare that a death would have no impact, but it’s possible in the case of a lonely soul, a homeless person. And yet, even they, once discovered, impact the finders. So, now I can’t think of an example of a death not causing some ripples in the fabric of life.

Practically everything in a will hinges on a death. That’s why blood, the evidence of death, is used so much in our tradition, especially regarding forgiveness of sins. [Hebrews 9:22 +/-, The Message]

In Judaeo-Christian traditions, death, symbolized by the shedding of blood, marked covenants and promises, as well as standing in as a symbolic gesture for the forgiveness of transgressions. Blood is a powerful conceptualization and its significance is lost on no one. We all know that without blood, the body cannot survive. Breath is good but blood is life-giving and sustaining.

And most of us understand that the death of Jesus was intended as the ultimate sacrifice, that of God’s son (or God in human form) for the sake of humanity. The death of Jesus changed his followers; the resurrection of Jesus changed the world. Jesus accepted his mission and willingly gave all that he had to give, from power to heal to direct access to God to forgiveness of sins and mistakes for eternity.

SONY DSCThe death of Jesus is a macro event. In my own life, our family has experienced what may seem like a micro event in the face of a dying deity, and yet Mike’s death has changed us all, significantly. We are all seeing more clearly what is important and what matters. When people say “don’t sweat the small stuff,” I never realized before how much small stuff is really out there. I have been majoring in non-essentials. Even my young adult children have shed much of the clutter in their lives and squeezed several years of maturing into a few months. We will never the be the same.

But really, is anyone the same after someone has sacrificed on our behalf? All are affected, the one who gives and the one who receives. Sacrifice is not easy.

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Well, it’s just this simple. Whatever it might mean for you or any other, I cannot really know. But when I say this well-worn verse, I understand it quite subjectively for myself because it is to this truth I literally surrendered when I prayed that “sinner’s prayer” so long ago and asked that Jesus become my personal savior, my atonement and my redemption, my portal to the God of the Universe.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Galatians 2:2]

It’s a contract of sorts because I gave permission to a spirit being, a very specific Spirit Being, to indwell within me. According to that contract, I also agreed, in theory at least, to give over authority to that Spirit, a right that Person actually earned through a blood covenant, the shedding of blood, which has been a symbol of agreement throughout the centuries of humankind. Interesting too, that this bloodletting was done preemptively, before I was even born. Impossible? Perhaps. But this I believe.

However, I am constantly meddling with the authority of this Presence: arguing and negotiating, ignoring and placating, lying and withholding. In essence, I spend a lot of time pulling on the threads of our contract and it’s only by sheer grace that I have not torn the thing to pieces.

And because I know these things about myself, I must often regroup, reconnect, recommit myself to that deal I made over thirty years ago. It’s shameful really, but true. Thanks be to God, there’s been a contingency plan for every misstep I have made.

path crookedToday, I was walking a path I have walked many times but for the first time, I was walking it in reverse. I assume it’s for this reason I had never noticed that moment in the path where it looked like it came to a dead end. It was just a sharp right turn, but as I approached it, my brain didn’t compute that logic. Instead, I stopped in my tracks, pondering how it could be that the path would end. I hadn’t really reached that point yet, but I stopped anyway, thinking I might have to turn back. How often have I done this in life? How often have I assumed something was at the end, when the way was still there, I just couldn’t see it. The calm of knowing and trusting in that “other way,” comes from within, comes from the Presence of the Holy Spirit, who is more than willing to direct me. It is in this way, that I understood my foolishness yet again.

And it is in this small lesson that I remind myself to trust my God and the Holy Spirit yet again.

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John 6:53
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you…”

In chapter 6 of John, Jesus says, at least five times, “I tell you the truth…” Now, I have always been taught that anything repeated several times in scripture is important. And so, this morning, I have been meditating and dozing on this (I am trying to follow His lead here and tell the truth: meditating can be a sleepy business).

Why does Jesus keep saying this? Clearly, it’s because he suspects they don’t/won’t believe him. What he is saying is too fantastic or difficult to comprehend. He’s expecting their reaction to be, “You,re kidding, right?” No, He says, “I’m telling you the truth.”

By the end of this chapter, we are told that many of his disciples (the unnamed ones who followed him around for awhile and got a few free meals along the way), left him after this instruction. Apparently, He convinced them that he meant what he said. And, because He convinced them that He was telling the truth, they rejected his message… intentionally.

And what was the hullabaloo about? Eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Since there has never been a tradition of cannibalism in Judaism, He wasn’t talking about a barbecued ribs. But He was talking about consuming the life force of Christ. There is something to be said for cannibalism as a sacred practice. In primitive tribes, to eat someone was to become one with them. They ate the bodies to take in a person’s essence, strength, and soul.

Accepting Christ is serious business. It’s not just an idea. It’s a process. It’s breathing in. It’s consuming. It’s transforming. It’s energy. It’s eating. It’s nourishing. It’s life-sustaining.

And without Christ, we die.

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Luke 22:69-70
“…But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?”
He replied, “You are right in saying I am.”

There is much written about Jesus’ references to himself as both the Son of Man and the Son of God. I find these fascinating and hope to spend more time looking into it. But for now, I would share these thoughts.

One of the best discussions on the Son of God I have recently read comes from Brian McLaren’s Generous Orthodoxy. He tells how in the Middle East, it is often said that something is the “mother of” something else… meaning it is the ultimate. An example might be the “mother of all wars” which would mean the ultimate war. Apparently, “son of” works in a similar way. And so, when Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man, the “construction suggests ‘carrying the essence of’ or ’embodying the heart of'” . In the same way, Son of God would mean “carrying the essence of God” (as in carrying the family likeness or genetic code) [pg. 72].

There is so much more that could be said, but what struck me today as I touched these verses from Luke was that Jesus was informing the Council of Elders that from that point forward, because of His suffering, death, and resurrection to come, the “essence of man” would now have a place next to God. (See Daniel 7:13-14) We inherit this place by our union with Christ Jesus.

And just as the disciples “experienced God” by being with Jesus, so can we.

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Mark 38-39
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the [or a] Son of God!”

An epiphany is “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.” For the centurions with execution detail, this was a commonplace experience. They had killed hundreds and hundreds of men. They had nailed them and stripped them and mocked them and thrown dice over their belongings. It was tedious work.

But at least one centurion began to see this man in a new light. He listened to his words. He watched him suffer and he watched him die and then he understood. They had just crucified a holy man, a son of God, a man, and yet not a man. Nor was this a quiet time; it was frightening. Darkness had descended upon the place followed by a great earthquake at Jesus’ death. People must have been running and screaming as anyone would during a cataclysm.

And what was next for this centurion? What did he think or do? Did he believe it was too late? Did he bow down before his new Lord right then? Did he weep like Peter or despair like Judas? Did he change?

My mind keeps going to that wonderful old book (by Lloyd C. Douglas, 1942) and the 1953 movie by the same name, The Robe (with Richard Burton and Victor Mature). Here Centurion Marcellus (Burton) does not transform immediately but over time, having won Jesus’ robe, he is affected by the proximity of the robe and haunted by his experiences on Golgotha. Eventually, he becomes a believer, joins the other Christians and ultimately he is martyred as many were under Caligula.

What does any of this mean for us… for me? I know what it means to have an epiphany… a true insight from God, but I confess I have archived most of them in distant reaches of my brain. Abba, forgive me. Give me mindfulness that I might build on the truths you reveal to me.

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