“And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
The world got a little darker last week. In the wake of the Paris bombings, many compassionate people in the world are wondering what the heck is going on, and what we can do about it. The answers are as varied as the number of people on the planet (maybe more, because some people seem to be speaking out of both sides of their mouths) but for me it comes down to one simple thing.
What you believe really, really matters.
There are lots of false gods in this world, and some of them do a mighty good imitation of Jesus. Their associated false teachers promise all manner of blessings if you will ‘just do X’. This comes as no surprise to Christians who’ve been warned about these “wolves in sheep’s clothing” for a couple of millennia, but recently it seems to have reached epidemic proportions.
We see the results of this wrong teaching every day at the Glennon House—people who come in with the certainty that God is mad at them, or punishing them, or won’t forgive them because they did or did not do ‘X’. One person even told me that God died on the cross for everyone but her!
Of course Jesus taught none of those things. He loves us (and our enemies) because of who He is, not who we are. He died on the cross for the people who despised Him as well as the people who loved Him. His love is not performance based.
Contrast this with the beliefs of the Paris bombers, who were so warped by false teachings that they believed that their god would reward them for maiming and murdering hundreds of innocent people. This is as dark as it gets.
Which brings me to the “Jesus Sparkle”. It is the sunlight glinting off Moses’ bronze serpent in the desert, reassuring the lost and discouraged Israelites that the Lord was with them despite of their rebellion. It is the sunlight glinting off the iron nails in the cross, reassuring the lost and discouraged world that even the gates of Hell are no match for the love of God through Christ Jesus. And it is the Son-light that shines in the faces of the ordinary, magnificent people who attend the Healing Service every Tuesday evening.
We are sometimes lost. We are often discouraged. But we know where to look for the light in the darkness. And that really, really matters.