“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”. – Colossians 1:27
A long time ago when the whole of creation was started, man was created on the last day of God’s grand work. He was created as the pinnacle of God’s creation distinct with His likeness and image. Man was perfect in every way.
He possessed abilities that by any standard are considered extraordinary. Before the creation of his soul mate, Adam named the whole animal kingdom. Whatever he called each animal that was their assigned name! There’s an amazing story for some other time. Together Adam and Eve were stewards over Eden which by my guess covered approximately 200,000 square miles. Hey, I have an Australian friend whose family farm is 12,000 acres. That’s small compared to others who manage spreads over 600,000 acres. I’m from rural eastern Pennsylvania where typical farmland is between 75 and 120 acres.
The first couple accomplished all that they did without breaking a sweat. Perspiration is first mentioned after their gross rebellion. The first emotion after engaging with the tree of knowledge of good and evil, was shame. Shame produced fear, and fear precipitated into covering themselves with vegetation. God replaced their clothing of vegetation with animal skins.
Adam started his journey with extraordinary feats only to finish by farming the land, having babies and dying. This life cycle has been reproduced over and over throughout God knows how many years!
Enter the Nazarene. Here’s another extraordinary man hailing from Nazareth, west of the Galilee region in northern Israel. Born to a young couple of no reputation, Jesus was their first born. The only amazing thing either Joseph or Mary could claim about their very ordinary lives was that prior to their nuptials. Both had strange visits from this angel named Gabriel. Gabriel told Maria how she would be with child without the usual presence of male sperm. He also told her what his name would be; Emmanuel – God with us. After Joseph learned about his espoused wife’s pregnancy, Gabriel warned him in a dream to go through with the marriage; viz., as strange as it was God was in the whole deal. Enter the Nazarene!
Jesus never claimed to be anything extraordinary. He did, however, speak about Jehovah as his father. That association really torqued the head bolts of the Jewish elite. Jews were not, by their own rules, even permitted to say the name of the Holy One. And yet here is this young scrub from where; Oh, Nazareth, telling them things like if you see me you see the Father. YHWH was never referred to by anyone with half a brain and an astute religious conscious as father. Jewish culture knew the significance of father and son relationships. After the bar mitzvah, the son was an equal to the father. They could never see themselves as an equal with YHWH. It would be blasphemous to say such gross things, and their religious laws dealt quickly and effectively with those who walked in blasphemy of any kind.
Jesus, despite all the good He did for those who received Him, was heading toward a horrific future as His words and actions continued to inflame the religious sects and their leadership, After many attempts for reconciliation, it was becoming quite obvious that this man who spewed wisdom mixed with blasphemous rants while he healed the sick and raised the dead, had to leave! Death was the only option, and He had to be taken swiftly and quietly to prevent a riot of the underclass.
The crucifixion of Jesus bar Joseph, the Nazarene is the largest story of all time. While this event is so well known worldwide by most tribes and tongues, it appears to be equally the most misunderstood event since man’s collapse in Eden. But it was more than man’s fall in Eden. It was the colossal heartbreak of God, also. A heartbreak that would be played out at Golgotha, continues to be trivialized, explained and disbelieved. This single most earth shaking historical event continues as a religious effigy so ubiquitous, it is covered up by the same religious elite that nailed the flesh of Jesus to the roughhewn beam outside the walls of Jerusalem. The religious elite, however, have spread to every corner of the world and are not limited to the studied clerics, mystics, monks, clergy or seminarians. Whatever flavor, style, persuasion, denomination (or not), or angle you come from, the elite are found in masses in virtually every group large or small.
Our world is full of these elitists. The history of the crucifixion is so well learned, it is the best version of misunderstood truth I know. I have been a Christian since 1973. I entered into public ministry in 1978. My credentials said so. You see this is the language we know and understand so I’ll continue. I preached eloquently for years, and since I have stepped out for a smoke break, I now see what I did not while I was a professional clergy.
I am not angry. I’m perplexed with the realization of my own elitist status. I am in anguish daily over my own rebellion against the revelations given to me by Christ. The Christ who loves me and gave himself for me. It seems like the more I understand, I mean really understand, the more I realize my own actions betray my preference for eating from the wrong tree. The impact of our training about all things spiritual is not producing the rugged resurrected Christ in us. Rather it has the effect similar to that of a recreation of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
Our differences about scripture interpretation, doctrine, etc. is a complete satanic orgasm, while we miss the single most epic mini-series of all time. Paul told the church in Colossae, “God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness— the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory”.
I once heard someone describe God’s glory this way. It is God’s ultimate intention going out to mankind and returning to Him fully realized. That has never left me. I wonder about that in me. Is God’s ultimate intention for my life coming back to Him fully enjoyed by the One who gave it to me? Or am I stuck on the latest blessing or revelation. Will I continue to come up higher?
Christ in you. This is a mystery hidden for ages and ages. My opinion is this. This mystery was hidden the moment Adam and Eve chose the knowledge of good and evil over life. Christ was in them. It is the greatest mystery of all time. Not the color of Jesus’s hair or eyes. Not even the forgiveness of sins. The forgiveness of sins is mind blowing reality. But our minds are easily blown, and so we camp out at our last spiritual Woodstock, remembering the songs and experiences of our generation while aiding and abetting the cover-up of this mystery. To preach forgiveness of sins as the end of the story is to not even come close to delivering the highest, viz., Christ in you. Preaching the effects of the atonement only would be like having a third trimester abortion. The Son of God conceived in you is never raised from the prison of its womb. He remains to be hidden in you. The mystery remains hidden and while you are reading this, it may still be hidden from your eyes. Forget what would Jesus do. The question is, what will you do? Or even more profound, who are you? Are you Christ? If not, why not?
What is the hope of glory? It is Christ raised from the dead in you and I. It echoes what Paul heralded, “The life I live in this flesh body is not mine. It is Christ”.
I am not God. I am not Jesus. I am Christ in me!
There is so much to share here, but I will save it for another time. Please do me a favor? Don’t just like or hate this post, but give me your comments. Agree, disagree, raise questions, or challenge me. I welcome that.
Until next time.