"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Monday, March 31, 2014

Supreme Matters

I remember riding shotgun in a buddy's Cutlass Supreme back in the late 70's. We were young and free from responsibilities, and this was a first taste of luxury. To us, it was a supreme experience--a chance to savor the best life had to offer.
Some words have lost their power through overuse. We love everything from our family to cookouts. Everything we approve of is awesome and, we apply the word supreme to everything from courts to tacos. We love comparison so we desire to know what is the best--cruise, restaurant,  baseball team, American singer or place to live. It seems to matter a great deal to most of us, that we get our share of the best the world has to offer.
So, it seems extremely ironic to me that when the best of the best is right in front of us, we want to make it less than supreme.  Take Jesus. Ask the average person what they think of him and, what do you think you will hear? "Get away from me with that fanatical stuff!" "Oh what a good man and great teacher!" "I love what he did, he changed the world!" "I think he's one of many who taught us a way to enlightenment." " I have no problem with Jesus, he was a gentle spirit." Even the most generous of these comments express a weak view of the biblical Jesus:
"15 The Son (Jesus Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him." Colossians 1:15-16, parenthesis mine.
Why would we want to diminish him? I mean, God came to us in the form of a scandalous babe.  Both God and man, he grew before us as a tender plant. He was tempted in all ways and yet never sinned. He gave us words of life, and then offered his life as a sacrifice for sin so that we can approach God as sons and daughters. That should be nothing but good news--supreme news! So why would we not enthusiastically embrace him and worship him?
I fear the answer to that "why" has a lot to do with our desire to be the masters of our own fates. If another is master over us, we might not like what he asks us to do--and not to do. This goes against our independence and what we imagine to be our freedom. How can we worship another when, truthfully, we are the gods of our own lives?

Real worship is more than a one time intellectual acceptance of who he is. The apostle Paul, in the twelfth chapter of the book of Romans, says that our spiritual act of worship is to give our bodies (our lives and everything in them) to God in sacrificial living. This is a result of growing, loving relationship with God through Jesus. As a favorite writer puts it, "Everything" is what you give up and what you gain to really follow Jesus.  
After delivering a particularly tough message, the crowd turned away from Jesus. He looked at his motley posse and asked if they would leave him too. One of the more outspoken responded that they had nowhere else to go because Jesus had THE words of life.
And that is what it's like to live in the light of the supreme One. No one else can satisfy. Nothing else will do. Now I see those cars in period movies of the 70's and I am surprised how funny they look to me. The things of  this world, including tastes in cars, fashions and kitchen appliances, change to the point the once-supreme is now laughable.

One stands heads and shoulders above it all--eternally supreme. Why would we put our faith in anything or anyone but the best?

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