Posts Tagged ‘invitation’

Who Did Jesus Come For–Why Everyone, Of Course

December 20, 2016

“9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own,c and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” — Gospel of John, chapter 1

When we talk about Jesus, who he was, what he did, and his invitation, do we digest what John says? “Which enlightens everyone.”

Do the people have different appearances than us? Different lifestyles? Different gender roles?

I thought for years that John was quite Greek in thinking. After all, he began with the Greek word Logos. Translated as word, it is steeped in Greek philosophic meaning. But that was probably just influence by the German theological movement of the late 1800s and early 1900s that strove to remove the “Jewishness” from the New Testament.

John’s writing is obviously quite Jewish (I have read explications of Revelation that relate the narrative to Jewish Temple worship). It must have pained him deeply to write “his own people did not accept him.”

We make the simple and miraculous too complex.

“To all who received him.”

Yesterday I talked of invitations. Last week of gifts. Both are implicit in these simple opening verses of the Gospel.

And there are no conditional clauses. No “if…then…else” statements.

Receive Jesus. Believe in his name. Become born a second time–born of God himself.

In December we recreate the invitation and the gift in our worship and study. Do we receive the gift? Do we pass along the invitation to the gift? To everyone?

An Invitation To A Way Of Life And A Life

December 19, 2016

I thought, wow, this is one heck of a poor invitation.

At the airport last week traveling on a vacation, I spotted one of those religious pamphlets someone left behind. It said something about going to Hell.

I had been lost in thought, or maybe non-thinking, and the headline jarred me back to consciousness.

Is that any way to invite someone into a better life?

We are in Advent season–the annual time of reflection upon the miracle of Jesus. Something we think we can understand, but really we can’t.

But isn’t the coming of Jesus an invitation? An invitation into a better life now, as well as “life” in a philosophical or theological sense?

The shepherds were invited to participate in the birth story. The Magi were invited through the special star they saw, contemplated and followed.

Later we have John (the Baptizer) who invited people to turn their lives around and live spirit-filled lives.

Then we have two sides of Jesus. He was the teacher who updated Wisdom teaching to a new level. He invited people to live a new life and taught how to do it. Then came death and resurrection and the invitation to life after death.

Jesus’ invitations were not without risk and challenges. But he always invited people. Disappointed many times as people fell away or refused to accept the invitation, to be sure, but the invitation–that was always out there.

And I don’t think he left pamphlets in restrooms shouting out that we’re all going to Hell.

Advent is a time of invitation into a fuller, richer life with-God.