As we are in the midst of Holy Week, I’ve been struck again by the sheer scandal that is the crucifixion.  I’m amazed once again that Jesus would die for people who are self-centered, selfish, arrogant, and downright unpleasant to be around.  Perhaps even more than that, I’m struck that He didn’t hold his nose while doing it.  He didn’t just die for us, He lived with us for 33 years.  He lived among people who missed the point, tried to use Him for their own purposes, and many of whom deserted Him while He was facing death.  In other words, I’m still amazed at the Incarnation.

I saw this post over at Michael Spencer’s blog, the Internet Monk, the other day, and he really lays out in more detail what I’m getting at.  Why is that so many Christians are, well, so messed up?  Why does the “victorious Christian life” seem to allude us?  And perhaps beyond that, the bigger question is why is so hard for us to not pretend that we are living the “perfect Christian life”?  Why do we spend so much time putting up facades?  Michael describes our situation as this:

Evangelicals love a testimony of how screwed up I USED to be. They aren’t interested in how screwed up I am NOW. But the fact is, that we are screwed up. Then. Now. All the time in between and, it’s a safe bet to assume, the rest of the time we’re alive. But we will pay $400 to go hear a “Bible teacher” tell us how we are only a few verses, prayers and cds away from being a lot better. And we will set quietly, or applaud loudly, when the story is retold. I’m really better now. I’m a good Christian. I’m not a mess anymore. I’m different from other people.

So is there any hope for us?  Is there a way to live a life that God wants us to live while still admitting that we are broken people?  I believe there is.  It means that we must totally rely on Christ and accept the fact that He will not reject no matter how screwed up or broken we are.  Again, from Michael:

I will be accused of a serious lack of good news, I’m sure, so listen. At the moment I am winning, Jesus is with me. At the moment I am losing, Jesus is with me and guarantees that I will get up and fight on. At the moment I am confused, wounded and despairing, Jesus is with me. I never, ever lose the brokenness. I fight, and sometimes I prevail, but more and more of my screwed up, messed up life erupts. Each battle has the potential to be the last, but because I belong to one whose resurrection guarantees that I will arrive safely home in a new body and a new creation, I miraculously, amazingly, find myself continuing to believe, continuing to move forward, till Jesus picks us up and takes us home.

So as we remember the death and resurrection of Christ this week, lets take some time to recall that Christ died for us while we were still sinners, was raised to defeat the grave and the powers that killed Him, and that He is walking with us still despite our weakness.

The always controversial Steve Taylor released a song in the early 90’s that expressed these thoughts quite well entitled Jesus is for Losers (one of the commenters on Michael’s blog reminded me of this).  Here it is for those who haven’t heard it:

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The lyrics can be found here.

I pray that you all have blessed Easter, and I pray that the reality of the crucifed and risen Savior never ceases to cause us to look on in wonder and be amazed at the God who loves us more than we can imagine.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, April 9th, 2009 at 9:58 am and is filed under Christian Living, Church and Society, Theology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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3 Comments(+Add)

1   Nathanael
April 9th, 2009 at 10:23 am

Amen, brother.
Great post!

I used to say that the Spirit of the living God uses us in spite of our fallibility and weakness. But I’m becoming more and more convinced that He uses us because of, not just in spite of, our “messed-up-ness.”

We are broken, but we know the Healer.
We sin, but we are forgiven.
We fall, but Christ picks us up again and again and again and again, etc.

The reason others are drawn to the risen Christ through us is because they see that He is alive in us, not because we have arrived and have it all together.

Thanks for this post.
Rejoice in the cross and the empty tomb!

2   Jerry
April 9th, 2009 at 10:43 am

Great post Phil. Thanks.

3   Rick Frueh
April 9th, 2009 at 10:50 am

Grace is a dimension that cannot be measured. The cross and resurrection released us from us and deposited us into Him – where we now live and move and have our being.

Great post.