Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Preach the Lion and the Lamb

As with most of the book, Chapter 7 of Love into Light by Peter Hubbard, opens with a focus and attention on Jesus:
My favorite Jonathan Edwards sermon is "The Excellency of Christ." Edwards homes in on two words in Revelation 5:5-6, where Jesus Christ is called "Lion" and "Lamb." These two animals differ greatly from one another. One "excels in strength, and in majesty of his appearance and voice." The other "excels in meekness and patience ... suitable to be offered to God." One is a hunter; the other is hunted. This unity of disparity leads Edwards to his thesis, "There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ." Characteristics that usually don't appear together merge in attractive symmetry: infinite exaltation and limitless condescension, highest glory and lowest humility, supreme sovereignty and perfect obedience. He is light and He is love. He is victor and victim in one. He is the just Judge and the merciful Savior. He confronted sin, overthrew tables, and walked out of His own tomb, yet He was born in a barn, ate with sinners and died as a criminal. This vision of Jesus is gargantuan and captivating, yet it is often concealed by the church. 
I love this big view of Jesus. To use his word, it is "captivating" my own preaching. Even though I still have applications in my messages, I am finding myself focusing more and more on the great worth and supreme  majesty of Jesus. But Peter Hubbard is saying that this view of Jesus "is often concealed by the church." Do you agree? In what way does he mean this? He goes on to say:
The body of Christ generally prefers a more manageable, monochromatic vision of Jesus. Our religious sensibilities seem to prefer either the Jesus who can "tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them," or else the Jesus who desires to care for rebels "as a hen gathers her brood under her wings." We want only one or the other, not both together.  
Whenever Jesus' followers exclusively reflect Lion-ness or Lamb-ness, the "admirable conjunction" dissolves into ugliness. 
It is so extremely important to maintain this focus on the true Jesus. Not a Jesus that we decide on, but the Jesus of the scriptures.

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