There is a subtle temptation that exists for all people. While some are tempted by an addictive substance, and others succumb to the allure of sexual immorality, I believe there is a forbidden fruit every one of us tries to bite: a desire to create God in our own (fallen) image. What do I mean?
God is who God is. After all, His name as revealed to Moses at the burning bush was “I Am.” God defines all things, including Himself. But we all have a temptation to pour God into the mold of our reason or imagination . . . and the Living God just does not fit our mold. We think a loving God would not allow suffering, and yet God is Love and there is suffering in the world. We think a holy God would not allow evil, and yet God is holy and Satan prowls about the earth God created. We think 1 + 1 + 1 = 3, yet in the identity of God we have a Trinity where 1 + 1 + 1 = 1.
You see, as people, we think we know everything about God, and yet there are things about God that we simply just don’t understand; from our perspective Jesus often does unexpected things. If we are left only to our own reason and intellect, we will create a god that may have SOME resemblance to the real thing, but ultimately we will miss the mark, because God cannot be contained by our reason and intellect. Thankfully, God REVEALS to us His identity and invites us to embrace Him for who He really is, instead of who we think He might be.
As Jesus neared the time when He would head to the cross, He began to increasingly talk about His imminent torture, execution, burial and resurrection. 3 times from Matthew 16-20, Jesus directly tells the disciples what is getting ready to happen on that first Good Friday-Easter. Yet, as Jesus talked about what was to come, Peter actually REBUKES Jesus. He literally tells Jesus He was wrong for making such a prediction! Peter had either let that “keys of the kingdom” comment go to his head, or (more likely) was simply pouring Jesus into the mold of what he thought was the most reasonable thing for the Christ to do next. After all, who would expect the Son of the LIVING God to DIE? Yet that is exactly what Jesus did. This reality (of course) is far greater than what Peter had in mind, both in what it accomplished (our salvation) and what it was rooted in (reality instead of fantasy).
This Sunday at Wildwood, we will continue our “Reveal” sermon series by looking at Matthew 16:21-28, 17:22-23, 20:17-19 and Jesus’ promise of the cross AND the empty tomb. We will also share in the Lord’s Supper together. Hope to see you in our 9:45 or 11:00 worship service!