Contrary to what you may think, the first thing on God’s mind isn’t your broken promises. It isn’t what you did last night. It isn’t your addiction. It isn’t your sinful lifestyle. It isn’t your affair, your grudge, your secrets or your past or anything you have done. It is YOU. Just YOU. You and I were created for relationship with God. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve enjoyed an unbroken relationship with God. They talked with Him and enjoyed all He had made. God told them to oversee all of the happenings in the Garden. They enjoyed God’s company, each other’s company and had a great purpose for living. It was PARADISE.
Then, SIN. God didn’t have a big list of rules for Adam and Eve to follow. There was just one. They weren’t supposed to eat the fruit from one tree that God designated as off limits. In order for there to be a Creator/Created relationship, God had to establish some kind of boundary. That one fruit tree was the boundary. Just one rule pointed to God as the Authority that they were to submit to. And they crossed the boundary. They sinned and their sin was passed on to every person who has ever been born.
The trouble with sin is that it destroys the relationship between God and people. We can’t be what we were created to be, and we can’t enjoy what we were created to enjoy because of sin. That’s a big problem. In addition to that, separation from God results in eternal death because apart from a relationship with God we are spiritually dead. Those who die without a resolution to the sin problem can’t live with God in the paradise He intended.
This broken relationship problem is one we cannot overcome ourselves. No self-help book, no counselor, no amount of meditation or medication, no quantity of good works, no span of “clean living,” nothing we can read, buy, snort, or experience in this life can solve our problem. Since our broken relationship problem has no earthly solution, the Solution had to come from out of this world, from beyond the realm of the natural. It had to come from the supernatural.
So God, in love, entered our world from heaven. Jesus, the Son of God, was born of a virgin. So when He was born, He wasn’t born with the sin problem that you and I are all born with because we inherited Adam and Eve’s sin nature.
Since sin is the worst thing people can do against God, it took the best thing God had to offer, the most precious thing that existed, which is blood, to be the payment for our sins. Not just any blood would do. It had to be the blood of a spotless, righteous, innocent Person. There was only One qualified. Jesus, the Son of God. He willingly died on a cross to pay the price for our sins which offers us an opportunity to have a restored relationship with God. Since we can’t be good enough to fix things between us and God, Jesus fixed things through His sacrifice.
Jesus died not because we are “bad,” but because we are broken. Only Jesus can fix what is wrong with us. No government can. No law can. No debater can. No ideology can. No relationship can. No success can. No money can. No doctor can. Only Jesus. That’s why He alone is THE WAY to salvation.
John 20 describes what happened on the Sunday following Jesus’ crucifixion on Friday. Jesus conquered death. He rose from the dead. He literally came back to life. Jesus’ sacrifice had been accepted. The debt for sin was paid.
Jesus appeared to over 500 people after He rose from the grave before ascending to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God the Father. Many of the Disciples and others gave their lives to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. No one would give their life for a lie. The proof of the Resurrection is beyond compelling and convincing.
I love the last two chapters of the book of John. They talk about Jesus’ personal encounters with three people. Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and Peter. Mary Magdalene hung out at the tomb. She had followed Jesus wholeheartedly. He had delivered her from 7 demons. She had never been in her right mind, never been able to make a good decision, never been able to think clearly until she met Jesus. Mary had learned Jesus could handle her past, demons and all. He could free her from anything that bound her! Jesus appeared to her first after His Resurrection. He had been her Deliverer. I am sure she worried what would happen to her after His death. Jesus settled her fears by talking to her personally. Her past could stay in her past. She would be free forever because Jesus was alive.
Thomas was one of the disciples who struggled with his faith. He always needed more proof than the others. Just hearing about Jesus’ resurrection wasn’t good enough for him. He had to see Jesus for Himself and even after seeing Him, he wouldn’t believe until He touched Jesus putting His hands on Jesus’ nail scarred body. Jesus appeared to Thomas and invited him to come close and examine His body. He let Thomas touch Him. Thomas had learned Jesus could handle his doubts, and in accepting Jesus’ invitation to come close and touch Him, Thomas put his doubts behind him and finally become the true believer he had always wanted to be.
Last is Peter. Jesus appeared to him in John 21. Peter was probably pretty nervous about that encounter. He had been the tough-talking disciple who said he would follow Jesus to the death and just after Jesus’ arrest Peter denied he ever knew Jesus and went into hiding. If Jesus wanted to talk to him, I’m sure Peter didn’t think He would have anything nice to say. You know what Jesus did? He invited Peter all over again to be His follower and to take on His mission. No lectures. No “How could you’s?” No conditions. No shaming or blaming; Just an invitation to pick up where they had left off. Peter had learned Jesus could handle his failures and could help him start again and again and again.
That’s the neat thing about following Jesus. He can give what each one of us needs personally. Are there some demons chasing you? Is your past not so pretty? Jesus can handle it. Do you doubt and worry that you don’t have enough faith or spiritual knowledge or answers to the questions of life? Jesus accepts you just as you are and tells you to come close to Him. Do you worry that you’ve crossed the line one too many times and that your failures have sealed your fate? Jesus walked out of a sealed tomb to ensure you can have a do-over, a fresh start, and a new life.
What is the status of your relationship with God this morning? Broken or fixed? Would you let Him heal the relationship between you and God? He already paid the price. You just have to accept the gift He offers. It’s not about a denomination, a particular church or what your friends or relatives decide. It’s about you. It’s always been about you. It’s personal. Are you ready to update your status and make a decision for Christ today?