logos…

how is it that God has chosen to reveal himself through Jesus to His faithful followers…but not to the rest of the world?

maybe that is the question the Church has been asking for too long.

the sad thing is that it is not a new question…and it was answered a little less than 2000 years ago by Jesus himself.  but before we get to this revealing and revolutionary answer…let’s get some context.

after telling his disciples that he was preparing to go to a place where they could not immediately go (he was preparing them for his imminent death) Jesus says in John 14:15, “if you love me, keep my commandment.”  the word commandment is from the greek entole, which means commandment, direction, or instruction. 

again…a few verses later in John 14:21…Jesus says the same thing a different way, “he that has my commandments (entole), and keeps them, is he that loves me.”

Jesus is being very clear here.  those who love me…are those who keep my commandments.  pretty straight forward.

but somehow this must have caused some confusion and questions for the disciples.  how would simply following the commandments of Jesus change the world?  how would the rest of the world come to know God in flesh if he only reveals himself to a small band of nobodies who only keep his commandments?  how will just “keeping my commandments” revolutionize the world? 

HOW WILL THE WORLD KNOW HE IS GOD IF WE ONLY KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS! 

something did not compute with the disciples.  somehow…simply “keeping my commandments” didn’t rise to the level of impact…or magnitude…of what they would expect from the God-man.  maybe they were expecting a celestial celebration with the fanfare of angels for the world to see and know…once and for all…that Jesus is Lord…who knows?

of course…no one said anything.  maybe they were too numb after their Rabbi told them he was leaving.  but there is always one person in the room that has the guts to ask the tough question.  everyone is always looking at that person…just waiting to see if he will ask what everyone else is thinking.  and then he said it…

“how is it that you chose to disclose (or manifest) yourself to us…and not to the whole world?” asked Judas (not Iscariot).  Judas (not Iscariot)…nails the biggest question…that was not only on the minds of the disciples but on the (maybe unconcious) mind of modern day Christians.

let me translate this for the Church today:

Jesus…how is it that God has chosen to reveal himself through you to us…the Church…but not to the rest of the world?

Jesus’ answer is brilliant…and as applicable now as it was then.  remember before…Jesus said, “those who love me keep my commandments.”  NOW Jesus says, “if a man loves me, he will keep my logos.”  the Greek word logos means Word. 

in essence…those who love me will keep my Word.

where is the first time in the gospel of John that the word logos appears?

In the beginning was logos (the Word), and logos (the Word) was with God, and logos (the Word) was God.  John 1:1 KJV

And logos (the Word) was made flesh, and dwelt among us.  John 1:14 KJV

the answer that Jesus gives Judas (not Iscariot) sends shockwaves and a new level of understanding to his disciples…and to us.  in the beginning was the Word.  the Word was with God.  the Word was God.  the Word BECAME FLESH in Jesus.  it is not enough that we keep his commandments if we love him.  if we truly love him…we keep his Word and it becomes flesh in our lives AND JESUS IS REVEALED TO THE REST OF THE WORLD THROUGH US!!!

simply profound.

as Christians…we are a lot better at studying the Word…than embodying it.  we have all the Bible studies, Sunday school classes, teachings, preachings, and devotionals that we want at any one time.  we have a million different translations of the Bible…with every concordance and footnote known to mankind..but we struggle to serve…to embody the Kingdom of Heaven in our lives…and take it to the world.  what good is the knowledge that we study and hear…if we don’t embody it? 

we like to outsource our service of the poor, outcasts, oppressed, marginalized, and victimized to social services agencies, health care organizations, and governments and then we send a check (but only if it is to a Christian agency…right?).  we ought to realize that the Church is not looked at in our society as the one group who specializes in loving, helping, and advocating for the least in the world.  far from it.  we would rather have intellectual debates about whose doctrine is exactly right…than solve world problems.  we would rather “stand against” everything…rather than “stand for” something or someone.  and that is how society views the Church.  that is not the Church that Jesus died for…and it is tragic.

Jesus died for a Church that destroys the works of Satan by embodying the Kingdom of Heaven…which spreads like wildfire…like a mustard seed.  Jesus died for a Church that finds the Kingdom of Heaven and sells EVERYTHING to have it.  Jesus died for a Church that rushes into the strong man’s house (Satan’s Kingdom) where the strong man has been bound…while gathering and reclaiming for God what is rightfully His.  Jesus died for the Church that is beating down the Gates of Hell…which cannot stand…and is taking Heaven to every dark corner of this planet.  Jesus died for a Church with open tables welcoming the outcasts, sinners, tax-collectors, and the prostitutes with self-sacrificial love.  Jesus died for a Church that gives a home to the homeless…a drink to the thirsty…and a visit to the prisoner.  Jesus died for a Church where logos becomes flesh and the world finally sees Jesus among them healing, loving, and restoring!

brandon

3 thoughts on “logos…

  1. Are you sure that you did not just heare the same sermon I heard yesterday at Common Ground -West? The title was fitting–“Evite Etiquette”. Luke 14 gives a great example of how we can all love (the greatest of all the commandments) as Jesus does. Luke 14 details a feast where a Pharisee has invited the normal who’s who in God’s Holy City 1 A.D. but in a surprise (at least you think its a surprise) The Pharisee invites Jesus and his disciples + a man with dropsy (which is a fatal condition where fluids fill parts of the body). Later we find that Jesus is involved in a discussion with the Pharasee whether he should heal on the sabbath. You see it was all a set up to catch Jesus. There was no love in the invitation to the meal. It was the sabbath, there was a man with a fatal condition and Jesus and his disciples were there. The dialogue regarding healing on the sabbath was going to happen. Jesus leaves the Pharasee speechless when he helps them to understand love how it relates to the Spirit of the Law instead of the letter of the law (God’s original intent for the law) helping them to understand that they would pull their needed, hard-working farm animal out of a pit on the sabbath because there is an essential value of that animal. Jesus was trying to get them to realize that all men are valued by God and loved. An invitation by Jesus would be different than one by the Pharasee shown here. With Jesus there is no hidden agenda. The invitation is enough. There is no catching someone in the act planned. Jesus summed up the logos, the word, the commandments with LOVE. Unconditional love of others if displayed today will change the world. What God is up to is reconciling creation back to him and the way he has chosen to do this is by way of his image bearers (those with His Holy Spirit) loving as he did, without condition. We are to provide the Invitation without an agenda, just simply for love of others.

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  2. Brandon, I really dug into your blog of today, and I got as much from the above response as I did from the blog.

    In my life…it took me a LONG time to realize I had to live the word without any hidden agenda…not to get someone “into” the Church, not to be well though of, not for ANY reason except it’s what God expects me to do.

    Thanks for your writings.

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  3. i was reading James 1 today and saw these verses 21-24…even James agrees that word must become flesh…brilliant!!!

    Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

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