Friday, February 12, 2016

Jesus Alone

Super Bowl 50 is now over, and in case you didn't know by now, the Denver Broncos are the national champions. Even as little as I know about football, it was inspiring to see such fine athletes in action, and I certainly enjoyed Denver's win! The Super Bowl has an inherent negative message, though: that only
the best-of-the-best are acceptable. The spectacular athletes who didn't win the game are ranked as 'losers' despite being amazing at what they do!  And besides the Super Bowl, there are hundreds of  other ways we judge ourselves (and each other) on our competence or performance. But God doesn't measure us the way we see ourselves; he has a completely different vision for us. What is that? We see some clues in the vision of Jesus three disciples experienced, called "the transfiguration."

In Matthew 17:1-9, three disciples saw a vision of Jesus in his glorified state. They were on a mountain, in a cloud (similar to the cloud on Mt. Sinai where God gave Israel the ten commandments). They also saw Moses and Elijah,symbolizing the law and prophets (see Matt. 11:13), speaking with Jesus, not about their own past lives but about Jesus' upcoming death in Jerusalem.

Like Israel at Sinai, the disciples heard a voice from heaven. This voice said "This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him."After the voice, Moses and Elijah disappeared. When the disciples looked again, they saw Jesus alone. Jesus and no one else. That helped them understand, later, that Jesus is all we need. He is the Son who brings us into the Father's embrace. He's the one who is without sin, and who perfectly performed his Father's will. Because of Jesus alone, we are accepted. Not our own righteousness. Not the law. Not 'prophecy' or fame sincerity or any other replacement for Jesus. Not 'Jesus plus' anything. Jesus alone. "Listen to him" the Father said. That is his vision for us -- to look to Jesus alone, listen to him and respond.

Let's admit it: sometimes in desiring to be 'successful,' to measure up to our own self-expectations or someone else's, we try to do for ourselves what only Jesus, Son of God, can do for us. It's time to 'let go and let God.' Jesus has already done it for us. He's the champ, the MVP, the Team Captain of our salvation (Heb 12:2) the beginning and the end (Rev. 22:13). For our salvation and in every part of life, we look to "Jesus alone" for all we need. Faith in Jesus. Jesus alone. Then, we will never be 'losers' or second-class, but always winners.

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