by Stan Nussbaum, draft of May 17, 2017
God, the Real God, creates a beautiful world with life everywhere, but people are tricked into thinking he is still withholding something from them so they take and try for themselves the one thing he warned was poisonous. Sure enough, death gets loose and the world gets ugly with shame, violence, abuse, and funerals.
But God does not give up. He takes things to a new level. Through Abraham, who really trusts him, he creates a whole God-tribe to show all the other tribes why everybody should trust him more than they trust their own judgment.
Down through the centuries, we see the reasons in the story of the God-tribe as a whole and in the rescue stories of tribe members like Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, and Esther, but I'm not going into all those details right now. I just want to tell you about the person they are all pointing forward to--the Rescuer.
This is Jesus, the “Messiah,” the one-of-a-kind God-person who totally trusts God as his father and can totally make this rescue plan work. God sends him to earth through Mary, and it's perfect. Even his name means, “The Real God rescues.”
He tells the whole God-tribe, “This is it! God is making his move now! Follow me and see what I mean.” Many are thrilled to follow him but the leaders think he is a fake because he is not doing things their way. He looks so dangerous to them that they give him a death sentence and get him executed on a cross! But here is the best part of the story—Jesus does not stay dead! God brings him back to life.
For 40 days Jesus keeps showing up alive and explaining what is going on. Then God takes him to heaven and installs him as King of the universe. And do you know the first thing he does from there? He sends his Spirit, life, and power down into his followers, plugging them all into the rescue plan that started with Abraham.
Jesus sends them out, radiating life, showing and telling that he really is the Messiah, the key to forgiveness and life for everybody everywhere including right here right now. In other words, Jesus turns the God-tribe into a God-movement anybody can join.
Some people think this is the best news ever, and they join. Others are so wrapped up in their own lives or so committed to some other cause or group that they don’t want to hear anything about joining some global movement Jesus is in charge of. Some of them try everything to shut the messengers up, but it doesn’t work. The messengers are able to show the same forgiveness and courage Jesus showed when he was tortured, because he lives in them.
That’s how things stand for the time being, but when the set time comes, the Rescuer will come back to earth in person to complete God’s plan, and everybody will see him do it. He will destroy evil once and for all and reconnect the whole world to the Real God in all his glory.
And that's why we live the way we live and help everybody we can help. As Abraham’s heirs and Jesus’ messengers, we are sneak previews of a world at peace. That's our story. What else would you like to know about it before you would say, "I'm in"?
If you have been missing out on this story and you think you might want to get in on it, the door is open, but be careful. If you say, "I'm in. SYNC me with the Rescuer and his movement," you are saying these things:
1. Yes, God is proactively rescuing the human race. He isn't just keeping score and reacting to what we do.
2. Yes, God's whole plan revolves around Jesus, the Rescuer who makes earth more like heaven and less like hell.
3. Yes, I want Jesus to put his Spirit, life, and power into me, plugging me into the God-movement that goes all the way back to Abraham.
4. Yes, I am taking my first step by the Spirit's power—forgiving everybody for everything like Jesus has forgiven me.
5. Yes, I will trust Jesus and his Spirit to get me through any suffering that comes from those who want to shut his messengers up.
If you say “yes” to these things, Jesus 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 by "God making his move." You won't get to run your own life or build your own kingdom any more, but you will be more alive and better SYNCed than you have ever been, and you will know what the peace of Jesus is.