Friday, April 29, 2011
Dying for a Metaphor...
Jesus is not a metaphor for anything. He is real God in real human flesh and blood. He is real righteousness who chooses the sacrificial path for the sake of the unrighteous. He suffers not as an example but in the place of the suffering -- bearing in His body all the pain and guilt of their sin. He dies not a symbolic death but a real death -- where the breath passed from his body and his lifeless body was placed in the grave where the rest of the dead are also placed. He rises not in symbolic way or as a metaphor for anything -- He rises to live the life that death can no longer touch and to bestow upon us this life.
As preachers our task is not to deal in metaphors that might apply to our reality but to confront the reality of sin and its death with the reality of Christ and His suffering, death, and resurrection. No where is this more confused than when the pulpit is used to speak of symbols instead what is real and true. We do not need a symbolic Savior whose life and death are metaphors for all that is wrong and how to make it right. We need a Savior who is real -- one whose shoulders are capable of bearing the burden of our sin, whose body will bear the burden of our weakness and death, and whose life steals the thunder from the grave so that we too might live in Him and rise to live with Him for all eternity.
Jesus does not die for an idea but for people with a face, a personality, an identity... for YOU and for me. Jesus death is not a symbol of love but love at work for us and our salvation. Our lives in Christ are rooted in His death and resurrection, we share in His suffering as the privilege of belonging to Him, and we rise in Him not for some vague idea of life but for glorious life, wearing glorious flesh and blood....
Well.... rant over... it is just that sometimes you read a bulletin that somebody drops off and what you see about makes you crazy... Not to mention those "scholarly" Bible teachers who attempt to sort out for us fact from fiction in the Scriptures -- and then act as if it does not matter to the message that we know little of Jesus or that the Scriptures have either distorted or obliterated the truth to present us a Gospel foreign to Jesus and alien to Jesus' self-understanding. If I hear Bart Ehrman's name one more time or read a quote from him (in a bulletin of a so-called Christian congregation), I think I just might explode -- oops, oh, sorry, that was merely a metaphor to speak to the strong distaste I have for him.... Sadly, the ordinary Sunday School child has a more informed understanding of Scripture and Jesus Christ than this fellow...
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Thank You! I am tired of being the only one who rants about this (other than my wife).
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