Our Courageous Saviour Painted in Shades of Shame

IMG_7289 - Version 210The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.

John 10:1-15

Perhaps you don’t see yourself in the centre of a conflict. Jesus does. In John 10 Jesus describes the human condition with the metaphor of sheep. The thief, the wolf, (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy sheep. Jesus comes to give life, abundant life to the sheep. Hired hands would run away from the cost of winning this conflict. But not Jesus, He is the good shepherd; He lays down His life for the sheep. He lays down His life for you.

Jesus is the courageous Saviour. Laying down His life required a cross. A cross was not the typical vision of courage. Such a death would have been painted in shades of sinful shame. And yet, Jesus decided the will of the Father’s love for you and me was worth it. You are immensely valuable to God. It took a courageous Saviour Shepherd, Jesus to show us.

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
(Hebrews 12:1-2)

Go with? Discover God’s answer to shame.

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9For in him (Jesus) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.  Colossians 2:9-15

I spent a summer in Iowa working with a church youth ministry. It was a challenging and rewarding experience. I learned lots, met some people who changed the trajectory of my life, and picked up some new english expressions.  The students would hear about a plan or even an errand I was running and they would ask,“Can I go with?”

“Go with?”

It felt familiar with the hopefulness of family; but always expressed a  question, an uncertainty. I have never been able to see and hear the word “with” the same way.

We need inquisitiveness and hope when we read the Scripture’s words “in” and “with.”  When the Apostle Paul uses “in” and “with” he expresses the mystery of the Gospel and the reality of our life with Jesus the Risen King. It is an answer to the question of our longing for God and the humility or shame that wonders, “Would God really want to be close to me?”

To be Christian is to be in Christ Jesus for He is in us. We are with Him now and for eternity participating in His life, death, and resurrection. To be in Christ Jesus is to be immersed into the communion of God without shame for He has fundamentally altered who we are at the heart of who we are. Once we were dead to God, but now we are alive. Once we were outsiders but now we have been included. Once we had a record of failure and sin that stood against us, but now we are pardoned and free.

Jesus wants you to be with Him. His desire for you required a cross. The cross takes the question “go with?” and makes it a reality for now there is no guilt, shame, fear or threat of accusation equal to the glory of being “in Him” by His invitation.

Easter: Hope for Life’s Greatest Disappointments

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Big Idea: Jesus does not avoid us when we fail. John 21:1-22

In the Resurrection encounters of John’s Gospel, Jesus meets His followers to reveal Himself; along the way He becomes the answer to their grief (20:1-23), doubt (20:24-29), and disappointment (21:1-22).

 

Peter’s great disappointment.   John 13:36-38 & John 18:15-18, 25-27

Peter had failed to stick with Jesus. Peter denied he knew Jesus. Peter’s bold appraisal of courage and faithfulness turned into lies, curses, and avoidance. Peter was crushed!


Jesus’ abundant grace. 
John 21:1-14

A large catch of fish and breakfast on the beach!


Jesus restores those crushed by disappointment!

Jesus invites you to commune with Him.  vs. 15

17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  Revelation 3:17-20

The disappointed need relational attachment affirmed by Jesus.

 

Jesus raises the question of allegiance and affection.  vs. 15-19

3I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.  Revelation 2:3-5

The disappointed need character built on the foundation of Jesus’s love.

 

Jesus calls you to align your life with His mission.  vs. 15-19

“I will build my church.”  Matthew 16:18
“Feed my lambs.” “Tend my sheep.” “Feed my sheep.”
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” Matthew 6:33

The disappointed need purpose and vision for life clarified by Jesus.

 

Jesus commands singular discipleship; no comparing and no predicated obedience.  vs. 18-22

“If it is my will that he ______, what is that to you? You follow me!”

The disappointed need the Resurrected Lord Jesus’ grace for “a long obedience in the same direction.”

 

In the grip of shame or the grip of God?

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1But now thus says the Lord,
he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
Isaiah 43:1

When you are in the grip of shame, you feel disowned.

When you are in the grip of shame, you believe you are unlovable.

Shame keeps you attached to sin.

But here is our assurance through Christ:

He redeems us; has gone to great lengths, all the way to the cross

to cover our shame.

11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.  Titus 2:11 – 14

When you are in the grip of God, you arrived there because He called you by name.

When you are in the grip of God, you know you are His.

God frees you from the grip of sin.