Chapter 7 Assigned Sunday, April 3rd
In “The Good And Beautiful God,”the author talks about how few people have a clear understanding of why Jesus Christ was incarnated as a human, had to die on the cross, and was resurrected. Most people know he died for our sins, but they struggle to consider the deeper meaning behind it. God could have just forgiven the world and made Jesus’s death on the cross unnecessary. Our churches and our songs praise the cross, “The death of Jesus is front and center in Christian theology, and yet so many of us fail to grasp it’s significance. Understanding why Jesus chose to live among us and to die for us helped me better understand the nature of our good and beautiful God.”
We live in a very performance based world where we get what we have earned, which allows us to remain in control, but Christianity suggests our best actions are tainted by sin, so God does not accept us on works. We have to have a strong faith. Athanasius, the bishop of Alexandria, wrote a book called “On the Incarnation” to explain why Jesus had to die on the cross and be resurrected in order to reconcile humanity to God. God created Adam and Eve, and they disobeyed God by eating fruit from the tree of knowledge and invited sin into the world. They both died in a spiritual sense as they were cast out of the Garden of Eden. Humanity was now corrupt and under the laws of death.
“Athanasius: Complete corruption – which is the state of human beings after the fall – can only be reversed by the sacrifice of complete incorruption. Jesus was sinless.
James Smith: What does that do for you and for me?
Athanasius: Jesus reversed the original fall by doing for us what we could not do for ourselves! By the sacrifice of his own body Jesus did two things: He put an end to the law of death which barred our way, and he made a new beginning of life for us, by giving us the hope of resurrection. Jesus, you see, destroyed death.”
The Soul Training exercise for the chapter wants us to read the entire Gospel of John in order to experience a complete story, which few people ever see. Just read through the entire book of John from start to finish, and then reflect on it later.
God, who created all things, does not have a physical body in the same way we do and is not bound by the laws of death, and he made a decision to send his one and only son Jesus Christ to live on Earth as a man. But we are still made in his image. Some believe God would not feel joy and pain because its beneath him, and that being vulnerable is a weakness. To love someone and have them not love you back can be the most painful experience, and God felt that pain for humanity. “Maybe sacrificing yourself for the good of another is not a sign of weakness but the greatest power the world ever knows.”
As you can imagine, not everyone believes in the stories of the old and new testaments, and I have my doubts as well, but we know these things because the people of those eras experienced the events and wrote about them. Any book that is not included in the bible is because it lacks a scholarly source for that time.
Jesus Christ came into our world and endured torture and insult by a people who did not care what he had to say, he came to be a teacher and to save the lost. He showed the people his miracles and they came to follow him. He lectured people and he healed the sick… which made him a very real threat to the Jewish and the Roman governments. You’ll note the Pharisees did not question that he could perform such miracles, but they questioned where the ability came from, and how that would affect their control. The Romans had him arrested and tortured because he would not be silent, and he had to die a very public death on the cross for everyone to believe in his resurrection later on.
He made a plan and he stuck to it, and he was not the first prophet of his time to come forward, he was just the one who was most effective at getting his word out. The other prophets caved under pressure and were disgraced, because during the time of his ministry and the time of his execution he never gave up and said “N
And so when it comes down to it, the greatest weapon we have as Christians is to know the word. Read the bible. Have it memorized so that your faith is not as easily questionable. Go out into the world and tell the story.
– James –