In this final sermon in the series, we look at what God has accomplished in Jesus, using three New Testament descriptions of Jesus. Jesus is–
• Pioneer or trailblazer, he enters the holy place with his sacrifice, he blows it open so we can also enter
• Example, we follow in his steps
• First fruits, he is the promise that God’s plan works
Why this idea is important–
• The opposite idea would be that God is behind us, the idea that we just need to stop all progress and go back to the way things used to be, the idea that we somehow get closer to God in reverse than in forward gear. Many in my tribe have tried to find a way forward by focusing on the past.
• For me, the Jesus narrative is a story that pulls me forward rather than pulling me backward. God has in mind a future that is unimaginable. Jesus has already walked the road that he now calls me to walk as his follower.
• We are not committed to going back and making things like they used to be.
• We are committed to an inspiring vision of what can be, what the future holds, what is beyond our imaginations, more than we can ask or think.
• I am describing two options–forward or backward. Which is the right view of God? The “old paths” passages are Old Testament. God sent Jesus to walk a new path. Now he calls us to follow where he has already gone. He gives us principles to guide us. What contributes mightily to the backwardness of religion in our world today is the idea that we need to go back, when God is calling us forward. This is the God who is “before us.”
Expanding these three concepts–
• Pioneer and trailblazer that makes possible our salvation (Heb. 2).
• Pioneer and example in life. Jesus demonstrated compassion, humility, service, sacrifice. He calls us to follow. This is God before us, calling us forward (1 Peter 2).
• Pioneer and first fruits He is promise of resurrection, he is promise that the process works (1 Cor. 15). We follow him—-in service, sacrifice, suffering, death, life, relationship with God.
How will we discover what God is up to without a careful rereading of the Bible, about the God who wants us to move forward at warp speed. He has a vision for humanity–joyous, fulfilling, possible. How can we simply plod along? The dominant view in the majority of churches holds us back from the kind of growth God intends. We are too self-centered (it is not about us, about our group). We are too self-confident (we cannot solve the problems). We are too self-contained.
Let us go forward–because God has come to be “with us,” has accomplished a saving work “for us” in Jesus, now lives “in us,” promises to be “beside us” always, and is constantly “before us” leading us forward.