Monday, August 3, 2015

Afar Off - Part 1 (Revisited)

Our booklet Afar Off began life as a series of posts, here on the blog, taking us from Palm Sunday through the Resurrection.  And highlighting how God made Resurrection Life accessible to us.  Once again, that was inspired by a photo.  That’s titled “Sunrise in My Backyard” and was taken by my friend John Vincent.  He holds the copyright.  

There’s a great sense of serenity and peacefulness in the picture.  But what really caught me with this one is the light coming from the horizon.  Hebrews 11:13 says, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”  That verse speaks of the “heroes of the faith”, but it could be us.  The light on the horizon got me thinking about the phrase I highlighted, “afar off”.  We'll look at the first part of the series.  The easiest way to follow the whole magilla is to get the Kindle book on Amazon.  It's only $.99 US.

That light coming from the horizon sort of “announces” God’s glory beyond.  And that’s most often a wonderful thought.  But it reminded me of how often some think that glory and that relationship seem so far away.  And it's not!  Ever!

When we originally wrote this, we were on an Easter weekend, considering the things that Jesus went through.  For a lot of Christians, that's all part of a whole spiritual package.  But, for some, there's a disconnect between what Christ went through and what it means for us.  And I'd like to share some thoughts that might help get rid of the disconnect.

John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, and 1 Peter 1:20 all talk about Jesus being loved by the Father, before time, us being chosen then, and the steps Christ needed to take for our salvation being foreordained.  Everything done to get us out of spiritual hot water was preplanned.  Indeed, Jesus' whole life followed a holy script.  But, this time, we're going to look at what various churches call "holy week".

The previous Sunday was Palm Sunday, celebrating Christ's triumphant ride into Jerusalem.  My Pastor pointed out, that Sunday, that some scholars believe His ride passed a road where He could have turned away and avoided what was to come.  But, even knowing what was coming, Jesus chose to go through with the plan.  When men are at war or in emergency situations, we sometimes see people making decisions to sacrifice themselves for others.  But you never see it in "normal" life.  Which gives us some pretty good ideas about the necessity of the plan.

  1. We were in such a desperate spiritual condition that we needed help getting out of it.
  2. Jesus was both man and God because the situation needed a man to go through the sacrifice so it would apply to men, but it had to be God because man, in his own strength, couldn't handle it.
  3. Our condition was a spiritual emergency and the effort for our salvation was part of ongoing spiritual warfare.
  4. We are important enough to God that He was willing to sacrifice in a way we never could.  Just for us!

That, right there, is spectacular enough.  But there's more.  And we did continue on the full meaning of all of this in the series, and more in the booklet.  For now, let's just meditate on the fact that Jesus made Himself our trench mate in the spiritual battle.  And He considered us so important that He was willing to take the spiritual "bullet" for us.  That's special!

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