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April 1, 2004

Several years ago a person shared an observation with me that has stuck in my mind.  He said,
“Pastors don’t deal with the real world.  Pastors deal with spiritual and church things while the rest of us have to live in the real world.”  That observation is echoed by many who sense a dichotomy between our Christian life in the Church and our life outside the Church.

Yet, the world of Jesus and His Church is the real world.  Put simply, there is no true reality apart from the Lord of the Church, Jesus Christ.  This is the claim of Jesus, as recorded in John 14:6,
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life…”


Why did Jesus take on human flesh?  Why did the Son of Man die to be resurrected?  Was this to create a separate reality, a life apart from the real world?  What purpose is there in His resurrection if it is an ethereal concept which has no relationship to life as it is lived on earth?


The trials of Jesus show that God is purposefully moving in our reality.  Six separate trials.  Each one a mockery of justice.  Jesus knew, even before the first accusation, the purpose and result of these trials - formalities leading to the cross (John 10:17,18; 12:27,47).


The death of Jesus shows us God’s compassion for us in the real circumstances of our lives and the lengths to which God will go to love us (John 3:16).  Jesus  blindfolded and beaten, mocked and ridiculed, having a crown of thorns shoved down upon His head, His beard plucked, then scourged.  Nine leather straps imbedded with sharp bones with the sole purpose of ripping open skin.  He was forced to carry His heavy cross to the site of His crucifixion.  His death was by suffocation.  Speared in His side to insure He was really dead, water mingled with blood pouring out indicating His heart had exploded.  It is hard to imagine a more tangible demonstration of reality and love.


Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates that God had dealt with the deepest concerns we face in life (Romans 8:31-39; 1 Corinthians 15:55-58).  Jesus has dealt with our sin, opened the door to forgiveness and true healing, and is the means our relationship with God (Romans 3:23,24; 5:8; 6:23).  Jesus gives the true message and meaning of His coming and resurrection in John 10:10, “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.”  The message of the resurrection is found in our great future hope of eternal life with God and the present abundant life we can experience through daily surrender to Him today (2 Corinthians 5:17).


The sad reality is that many continue about their lives totally unaware of what God has done for them.  At best the life of Jesus appears as a meaningless historical occurrence with no power in their daily lives.  It would be an eternal tragedy if that person lived and died not knowing Jesus.


God loves you.  If you’ve never received His love and responded by giving your life to Him.  Don’t wait.   As a suggestion, if these words reflect what is in your heart, you might want to say to God, “God, thank you for Jesus who came to my reality.  Thank you that He died to take my sin on Himself and to give me life with you.  I receive Him as my Savior and I give my life to you.”


If you know Jesus, tell someone.  Tell them how much God loves them.  Let them know the real truth of the greatest event in history.


May we live in the reality of Jesus who has come, lived, died, lives, and is coming!