What You’ve Missed…
* Jesus blows people’s minds when he knows what they’re thinking. Dude would have crush dominated on The Family Feud.
* Jesus heals a bunch more people, pisses off a bunch more people, and then raises some folks from the dead. No big deal.
* Jesus dies, then he rises from the dead, putting him in the same category as Ron Burgundy of being kind of a big deal.
* Jesus disappears into and appears out of thin air enough times to make it look like he’s enjoying himself just a little too much.
Daily Reading: Mark 16, Luke 24, Acts 1-2
Today wraps up the story of Jesus. The short version is that he’s killed, his followers are all upset and disheartened, he rises from the dead, appears to his followers and instructs them to carry on his work with the help of the Holy Spirit who will empower them to do great things. Then Jesus flies away into heaven, kind of like Neo at the end of The Matrix I guess. Just with less hardcore Goth music.
And that’s it. Jesus’ time on Earth is over. He spent three years (most people think) walkin’ around preaching and healing people. Then he left. That’s what I want to focus on…because that’s crazy.
Jesus’ whole deal, as Christians understand it today, was to restore humanity’s relationship with God. In other words, Jesus came to tell people they could know God personally. He told them God cared about them as an individual. He told them God was their father, and He considered them His own children. He wanted people to believe what he was saying, and he wanted everyone to know that he died as the sacrifice required to be in a relationship with God. His revolutionary message was for the whole world. The whole world!
Yet, he chose to come to Earth at a time when mass communication consisted of yelling really loud and mass transit consisted of your feet. If that wasn’t limiting enough, he was only around for a few years, and then he peaced out.
What!? Isn’t this God? Couldn’t God appear to everyone on the planet at once? I mean, even aliens can pull this off. Independence Day? The whole world simultaneously discovers these aliens have some pretty awesome laser guns. Signs? Worldwide news coverage of the spookiest corn-field-loving aliens of all time. Even an inanimate asteroid from Armageddon is able to unite the whole world as a global family. If an asteroid can do it, couldn’t an all-powerful God?
Why does God show up as a single guy, walking around the desert?
If God is trying to reach the whole world, why doesn’t He just appear as a big guy in the sky and let us know what’s up? That seems to be the most effective way to reach everyone at once, and have them believe in Him and in what He’s saying.
But that’s not what God does. According to the Bible, he comes to Earth as a man, tells people about it for three years, teaches twelve guys about his mission, and then leaves, telling them to keep up the good work. Jesus says it’s actually better that he leaves.
“In fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate (Holy Spirit) won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you.” John 16:7
This seems so counter-intuitive to how we operate today. Today it’s all about mass exposure. Your band, or company, or cool non-profit, or whatever needs a viral video. You need web presence. You need maximum exposure. The more people who hear your message, the better.
But Jesus doesn’t do that. He seems to go for depth, rather than reach. He lives alongside twelve men day in and day out. He puts most of his efforts into those twelve disciples. He teaches them much more than he teaches the crowds in general. Instead of investing in mass communication, Jesus invests heavily in personal relationships. And then he leaves the very movement he started, entrusting it to twelve, highly under-qualified individuals, one of whom has killed himself.
Way to shoot yourself in the foot Jesus. Clearly you weren’t in my Market Strategy class in college. (Then again, neither was I because, hey, ultimate Frisbee on the quad.) This sounds like the worst strategy ever.
Seriously though. You’d think an all-powerful, all-knowing being like God would just announce himself to the world, clear things up, and then have everyone live in a Care Bear utopia playing tag on rainbows and sleeping in fluffy cloud beds.
So what’s the deal?
I don’t know. It’s not how I would’ve done it. When I think about it, I’m amazed the Christian movement even exists today. God’s strategy to solve a problem seems less likely to work than most of what I’ve seen in both Hangover movies. Yet…here I am today, a believer in the whole thing.
It almost makes no sense when you think about it. The fact that the movement still exists, despite seemingly horrible planning has led me to the following conclusions. God is indeed very mysterious, and that maybe it’s my understanding of what’s logical, sensible, and reasonable that’s off. Not God’s.
It’s still crazy though.