I know a lot about Jesus, but what I mainly know is this: “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
Jesus’ job description is grace and it’s described in Luke 4. Jesus is here. Jesus is alive. What happens when Jesus is present?
It’s All Good
When Jesus is here, it’s all good (and don’t let anybody tell you differently).
“Good news to the poor.” We’re poor even if we don’t know it.
“Liberty to the captives.” We’re free, really free.
“The year of the favor of the Lord.” They lied to us about God. In Jesus, there is jubilee and God isn’t angry.
It’s amazing to me the way some Christians take the good news of Christ and make it bad news. It’s good, all good.
Three friends were talking about what they wanted their loved ones to say by their caskets. The first said, “I would like for somebody to say, ‘He was a great father and husband, and his kids rise up and call him blessed.’” The second one said, “I would like them to say that I did the best I could.” The third one said, “I would like somebody to point to the coffin and say, ‘Hey, look, he’s moving!’”
God has moved the dead.
It’s all good. So be glad.
It’s All Grace
When Jesus is here, it’s all grace…but it’s contingent.
I can hear you say, “I knew there had to be some catch!”
There’s a kicker…but it’s not what you think.
You have to know you’re needy, you’re imprisoned, how little you see, and how screwed up you are. Grace is only good news for those who need it--the poor, the captives, the blind and the oppressed.
Jesus came for the sick, the sufferers and the sinners.
You may look around the church and think, “These aren’t my kind of people. [They are.] They seem so good and so together. [They aren’t.]” You fit right in. Me too.
It’s All Quite Irritating
It all started out so well…but then they were angry. “When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.” They then took Jesus to a cliff and tried to kill him.
Why were they so irritated?
A friend told me of her grocery shopping. She lined up in the express lane that had a limit of 6 items or less. A very arrogant woman jumped in front of my friend in line…with a grocery cart filled with a thousand items (okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it was way over 6!). Then in this instance what we all wish would happen did. (There is never a police officer around when some idiot runs you off the road going 100 miles per hour. There is never a teacher around when a fellow student cheats. There is never a witness around when you’ve been in an accident that wasn’t your fault.) The lady at the cash register looked at the woman and sweetly said, “Tell me, before I ring this up, what six items in your cart do you want to buy?” The woman was offended and angry…and walked away.
We come to church so people will know how good we are…but we aren’t good.
That’s what Jesus does. He asks us to name the items in our cart…the sins in our life. And that makes us angry.
In John 8 Jesus said to those who came to stone the woman caught in adultery, “Which items are yours?” “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” The text says that they dropped their stones. What the text doesn’t tell us, but I suspect is true, is that they walked away angry.
We come to church so people will know how good we are…but we aren’t good. We are in desperate need of grace. And when we aren’t ready to admit that, it makes us angry.
It’s All There Is
One man quietly walked through the angry crowd and left the building. “But passing through their midst, he went away” (Luke 4:39).
One of the spurious charges leveled at Jesus was that he sought to destroy the temple. While that’s not true, there is a sense it was true. Jesus destroys temples by leaving.
Jesus only hangs out with broken and needy sinners. Us.
And that’s why grace is the heart of all we are and believe.