Listen to Him! Part Two
Why do we have such a hard time listening?
Why do we have such a difficult time really hearing what Jesus came to do?
Why do we want to keep Jesus from going to, or try to “rescue” Jesus from the cross?
A second reason is that it simply sounds TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
Recently a gentleman stopped me after the second worship service to tell me there’s got to be more to it. He had just overheard someone talk about what they would say to God after they died and stood before Him. The guy I was speaking with was terrified that he wouldn’t know what to say. When I asked him what he thought he might say, he told me: “I guess I would say Jesus.” I replied, “Why would you say Jesus?” He said, “Because of all He’s done for me. You know, the cross, the resurrection, being with me, etc.” I responded with a grin and said, “Yep. That’s it. You got it.” You know what he said back? “But there’s got to be more to it than that! It can’t be that easy.”
The hard part about the Gospel, for many, is that it’s so easy. Easy in the “I can’t just not do anything!” sense.
Like this guy, and like Peter, and like so many of us – we want to do something to earn favor with God. We think that we have to do something to make up for our sins. We think we have to do something to show we’re worth having on the team. We think we have to bring some sort of value to the table. It is so hard for us to really hear what Jesus is saying because we know He’s innocent and we’re guilty. He shouldn’t suffer. We should. On the mountain, when Jesus was transfigured, Peter wanted to do something. He didn’t want to listen. He wanted to do.
I love cop shows. Blue Bloods is probably my all-time favorite. Why? Because something deep inside of me wants to see the guilty guy “get it” and the innocent man go free. I revolt against innocent people suffering and guilty people walking freely. “You do the crime, you do the time.” Just like momma said. This sense of justice lies in all of us. In fact, I think it rests in us in relation to God. We would never say it like this (at least, good church-going people wouldn’t say it like this), but we know we are guilty and/or we feel like we need to bring something to the table at the potluck. We either need to show how sorry we really are, or not come empty-handed. We have done the crime, we need to do something to do the time. Innocent people go free. Guilty people get punished.
The Gospel says an innocent man gets punished FOR the people who are guilty.
Jesus says He must be arrested, beaten, crucified, and buried. Not for His sins. Not by mistake. But by divine purpose. He does the time, we go free.
The hard part about the Gospel is that it simply seems too good to be true. There’s a, “wait a minute, this isn’t fair” component to it. When that hits you, you’re close. REAL close to getting to the heart of this thing called Christianity.
Jess Ray sings a song called “Too Good.” The chorus says, “It may seem to good to be understood, but it’s not too good to be true.” I love that. It’s about right, isn’t it?
What is keeping you from listening to the reality that Jesus died FOR YOU? Yes. He, an innocent man. For you, a guilty one.
As a great pastor friend of mine says, “Hear it. Believe it. And live.”