I dont know how well you know Jesus – perhaps you’ve been a believer for years and never wavered, perhaps you have only just started to wonder more about who He was, maybe this is the first time you have ever heard His name – but I thought that I’d start this blog entry with a fact that you need to know: Jesus is better than you think. I had considered starting with a beautiful allegory for what Christ did for us but actually? I think that it’s more fitting to start with that fact. Jesus surpasses everything you could ever hope, dream or imagine and then some more. I can’t say by how much because He’s better than I think too.
I’ve spoken before about a common mistake we can make; we paint God to be the most magnificent and awesome thing we can ever imagine and then we miss the mark because He is better than we can imagine. Over the twenty centuries since Jesus of Nazareth hung on a cross in Roman occupied Judea we have tried, tried and tried again to define Him and fit Him into boxes. Good moral teacher, healer, prophet, hippy, demi-god, Son of God, saviour, nutter and everything else in between. The thing is if a tomb couldn’t hold Jesus in then our little boxes can’t either. Jesus is better.
Have you ever wondered why there are stages in life where nothing goes right? Have you ever wondered why you missed out on good things? Why you tried so hard to achieve and yet couldn’t reach your goals? It’s because of sin. That can make people flinch, but that’s because over the years we’ve defined sin as though it means breaking the ten commandments but it doesn’t. Sin is just missing the mark, falling short of the best God has. The world is scarred and society is broken by sin, you can’t avoid it. We were born citizens in a world enslaved to sin. Everything is broken.
So how could this be? How come everything just doesn’t go better? Because we’re a bit powerless in the face of it all. On our own? We can’t fix it. Thousands of years ago people wanted to try. There was a set of laws and rules, a massive and unyielding set of regulations that if they could only live up to then perhaps they could make things better. But they couldn’t. Everything is broken, rules don’t work, we need something better.
Everything is broken, rules don’t work, we need something better.
And so the God who created the whole earth in the first place, this God who so loved us that He built into us free will and the ability to turn away and pursue our own plans ahead of His, swung into place a plan to save us all from falling short and missing the mark. What if one person could do it all? What if one person could fulfil every rule and regulation and handle that side of things? Be perfect so that we didn’t have too? And what if that same person would then willingly die so that justice was satisfied and all the times that we were imperfect and fell short were paid for by His perfect sacrifice.
Enter Jesus Christ. 100% God, 100% man, infinitely better. He lived life radically, not just ticking the boxes of rules but outliving the spirit of love that the world had been created for. Accepting the people who we in our broken society had rejected and transforming them by love that went beyond what we could imagine. He was such a threat to darkness and hate that they had to torture Him, drag Him outside of the city walls, and kill Him. As He breathed his last, darkness breathed a sigh of relief thinking that it had won and that the world would stay broken and bad. But Jesus was better.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.
– John 3:16-17 (ESV)
When Jesus rose again He established that everything did not have to be broken. People did not have to accept that they would always miss the mark and fall short. There was power greater than anything we could do for ourselves. There was a better way. He gives for free the gift of a life changed, of a life with the limits taken off, a life where that powerlessness and pain is no longer in control. He came to save the world and, unlike Superman, there is no kryptonite that can undermine him. He died for all of us but if you were the only person that needed it? He’d have hung there in agony just for you.
There are so many people have tried to put even this risen Jesus into a box. Maybe He only died for a handful, the a-team, the ones who were good. Or maybe He only died for our past sins but not the ones we have yet to do? Maybe we can define what he did by finding the limits? As I said above, if a tomb could not hold Jesus, our boxes can’t either. There are no limits. Jesus is better.
If you want to know more and experience the amazing power that comes from a saviour who neither sin, shame, nor death could conquer? You can. Because as His arms stretched wide on the cross and bridged the gap between man and God, so they are open wide for you. I invite you to come and get to know something better, better than this broken world we live in. This is Easter weekend, this is the ideal opportunity for you to have everything changed.