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Lifting Jesus up

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

John 8:21-25
Once more Jesus said to them, "I am going away, and you will look for me, and you will die in your sin. Where I go, you cannot come."

This made the Jews ask, "Will he kill himself? Is that why he says, 'Where I go, you cannot come'?" But he continued, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins."

"Who are you?" they asked.

If I'm a crisis hotline volunteer, I imagine having a fine time with Jesus' comments. Maybe I"d send a SWAT team to protect him from himself. Hanging up the phone, I can imagine saying to myself, "Weird!" I don't think I'd turn to my fellow volunteers and begin evangelizing, based on what I'd just heard on the phone.

Jesus words' had authority, however. He didn't sound crazy. And miracles always accompanied his claims. Famously, Josh McDowell and others have said we must choose one robe for Jesus: liar, lunatic, or Lord. If anyone else tried what he tried, liar and lunatic are easy to apply. But Jesus himself?

Following a charismatic leader hasn't been difficult for me. I don't filter and critique what leaders say with my fine-toothed brain, and if I feel inspired I'm likely to believe them. That's always exciting, sometimes dangerous.

Jesus says it's dangerous not to follow him. Who wants to die in his sin? Being from "above" and not of this world, Jesus redefines life AND death from this new perspective. There is nothing worse than living for myself, and nothing better than dying to myself. There is nothing worse than turning away from Jesus, and nothing better than turning toward him.

God gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to turn away, and they took it. Jesus gives me the same opportunity. I will not take it. Not today and not tomorrow. I want to go where he goes.

Jesus, cut through anything that is ambiguous or unclear in my mind and show me the way to follow you today.

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