1 Story -- "The Rescuer"
Version 5 of 7: "Unforgivable"
SYNC claims that this world has a story, and it is not simply a story we humans are making up as we go along. It is a story God is unfolding. It has a flow and a rhythm.
We can pick up that rhythm if we look at the Bible as one long story. That is what "The Rescuer" does, condensing 1200 pages to about 600 words so you do not get lost in the details. Don't approach the Bible as if it were a rulebook or a textbook on religious doctrine. It is basically a story about the world we live in.
Unforgivable (version 5 of "The Rescuer")
God, the Real GOD, creates a beautiful world with life everywhere. There is only one rule people have to obey in order to keep everything working, and they get duped into breaking it! God punishes them but they don’t learn their lesson. Their sons are no better, and one ends up killing the other. Things get so corrupt and violent that God destroys all but eight humans in the Great Flood, but not even those eight learn their lesson.
There has to be a better way for people to learn how to live in God’s world, and so God provides one. We see it in the story of Joseph, who gets sold into slavery by his eleven jealous brothers. Years later Joseph gets a golden opportunity to kill them all, but he has mercy on them. He even provides for them and their families!
That event sets the tone for the whole incredible story of God’s mercy coming into the world through the “God Tribe” descended from Joseph’s great-grandfather, Abraham. God later sets up an entire forgiveness system of sacrifices and priests through Moses and Aaron. When the tribe abuses the system, God punishes them but never wipes them out.
Centuries later, the story of God’s mercy comes to a climax. God sends Jesus, the “Messiah,” the one-of-a-kind God-person, to earth through Mary, and it’s perfect. Even his name means, “The Real GOD rescues.” Jesus spreads the declaration: “Good news! God’s mercy is arriving. God’s deliverance is here. Welcome it, and follow me!” And can you believe it—the authorities get him executed!!
That has to be unforgivable, right? They have Jesus’ blood on their hands. But there is a twist in the story here. God declares that the senseless, wicked execution of Jesus will be the very thing he uses to reveal how deep his mercy goes!
Instead of paying them back, God raises Jesus to life so he can serve as the agent of mercy for humanity. Then Jesus presents his own blood to God as the perfect, final sacrifice! He declares not Judgment Day but a grace period, and he starts adopting foreigners who accept this incredible mercy into the “God Tribe.”
The God Tribe becomes the Mercy Tribe, a huge global task force to spread the news of his mercy during the grace period. He gives them all his Holy Spirit so they receive the power to show mercy like he did and the grit to endure like he did.
You would think that the whole world would welcome Jesus’ messengers of mercy with open arms, and while some do, many are mystified or insulted with the whole idea that they need mercy at all. Some would like to receive mercy but don’t want to be merciful to others, and Jesus does not allow that. Some of them try everything to silence the messengers.
That’s how things stand for the time being, but it will all change whenever the grace period runs out. No mercy then. Jesus, the Rescuer, will come back to earth in person to rescue the forgiven people from those who refused to accept his forgiveness and let his mercy transform them. Evil will be destroyed not forgiven, and all the mercy-lovers will live in gratitude forever, basking in the glory of God with no evil to spoil it.
And that’s why we show mercy like we do today. As Abraham’s heirs and Jesus’ messengers, we are mercy agents during the grace period. We are sneak previews of a grateful, glorious world without revenge.
That’s our story. That’s why we live the way we live and tell this story to anybody who will listen.
If you have already said, “I’m in! SYNC me!” Jesus Christ has already opened the door of mercy for you, and you have already walked through it. So let’s get the party started, celebrating with a huge “Yes” to all five of these things:
1. Yes, God is proactively rescuing the human race. He isn’t angrily keeping score and reacting to what we do.
2. Yes, God’s whole plan revolves around Jesus, the Rescuer who shows us what mercy looks like and what it costs.
3. Yes, Jesus has put his Spirit, life, and power into me, plugging me into the Mercy Tribe that goes all the way back to Abraham.
4. Yes, I am doing what Tribe members do—showing mercy to others whether they deserve it or not. I can afford to do that now that Christ has shown mercy to me.
5. Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to get me through any suffering that comes from those who set themselves up against his message of mercy.
Jesus won’t force you in, but once you say yes, he brings you in. He moves into your life and you become part of the rescue plan that started with Abraham. That is what the rest of your life will be about—finding out what Jesus meant when he said, “Good news! God’s mercy is arriving. God’s deliverance is here.”
You won’t get to run your own life or take revenge anymore, but you will be more alive and better SYNCed than you have ever been, and you will never again think of the Real GOD as judgmental.
Note: There are seven versions of “The Rescuer” story, one for each SYNC season. Each version comes at the story from a slightly different angle. This is the “Mercy Season” version. Full set of seven versions