Anyone have a map?

Jesus is the way.  He says “I am” the way.  These identity statements say so much about who Jesus is and what He came to show us.  In one of His final talks with the disciples He says this:

John 14:4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (ESV)

As fallen humans using fallen thinking we immediately want to get out the map and start following the directions to a destination, right?  Come on, if you could see a formula and reproduce a formula with expected results, wouldn’t you do it over and over again if you liked the results?

Think about the baseball player in the batter’s box.  They all have a routine.  They all adjust this and move that and tighten this and touch that and scratch the other thing and do it over and over again.  It is their formula for success.  If they strike out, they think about their routine and how they missed the belt buckle thing or the velcro on the glove moment.  It is actually entertaining if you can get past the distraction of the fidgeting and OCD/ADD nature of it all.

I don’t intend to beat up on baseball players but isn’t that a great picture of our lives in general?  If it works once or someone tells me a “way” or a great pastor gives me the “keys” then I plunge in and follow the “road” to the destination because that is my purpose, isn’t it?  What if Jesus is not talking about a map but is revealing a truth?  What if the “way” is a revelation of a reality unseen by Adamic mankind?  What if what we think we see is a shadow of a greater reality?  What if Jesus was showing us what it looks like to be a child of God instead of a path of performance to a God who is far far away on another planet called judgment and punishment?  OK, there I go again but how about we use our minds of Christ and maybe “see” something differently?

This is Jesus’ conclusion to this discussion:

John14:11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

Think about this truth for a moment…God is everywhere.  Isn’t that a truth about God?  Is there anywhere He is not?  Isn’t the whole universe in the palm of His hand?  Isn’t Heaven just a place in God not a place where God is?  In our human minds with limited human understanding we make God like us so we “put” God in places we understand.  The greater truth is we are like Him and He exceeds us.  Our limits are not His limits.  When Jesus says the Father is in Him that should make you scratch your head a bit since, well…God is bigger than my body so…am I bigger on the inside….?  It should make you ponder the implications.

When we think in terms of destinations and geography and locations and timelines we miss a greater reality.  Check this out:

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. (ESV)

So we were in Christ before Adam fell in the garden.  Come on, that should get you a little excited.  Adam was in Jesus before Adam fell and we are returning to the family status in Christ now.  The original design was for us to be in Jesus and Jesus in us and Jesus is what it looks like for a human to be in God and God in a human.  OK, does your brain hurt?  It’s alright.  The things of the spirit are difficult for the “flesh mind” to understand.  But wait, there is great news, our minds are being renewed!!!  We just have to let it happen.

Here is another example of eternal temporal paradoxical tension?!?!? what?

2 Tim 1:8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, 9 who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, 10 and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, (ESV)

Realize that when you are living in the truth of the good news (gospel) you are living in a Kingdom reality.  When you accept that God is that good and loves you that much and has always been like Jesus and has always loved mankind and has, since the beginning of time, intended to be in union with you as His fullness dwells in you….whew…to be like Jesus then you give off an “aroma” of Heaven.  You give off the scent of freedom.  You ooze aromatic joy.  You exude olfactory stimulating good news.  Some like it and some don’t.  That is the “suffering” that Paul talks about.  Check this out:

2 Cor 2:14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. (ESV)

When we embrace the good news that God had a plan for the whole world and every person we meet has been redeemed by Jesus on a cross and every person we meet is a child of God that just doesn’t know it and every person we meet is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven and just hasn’t picked up their passport and…

2 Cor 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

When we finally put down the destination map of formulaic progression to a “place” we already inhabit…we will know the way, Jesus.  When Jesus says He is the way then He is the way.  The way is not some religious activity or doctrine or rules or roadmap or anything else that tries to make us something we already are.  We are in Christ and He is in us and we have Him and He has us and we are joined with Him and He is joined with us.  Now when you meet people are you giving them a map or reveal “the way?”  Just bring them Jesus.  He will work out the rest.  He doesn’t need a map since…well…He is the map.

Yay God!


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