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Please Don't Decapitate Jesus!

(as if you really could)

 Have you ever heard someone say: “Jesus I like. It’s just his followers I don’t care for”? Though painful, it’s actually quite understandable coming from someone who doesn’t at all profess faith in Christ. But what should be more disturbing is when a professing Christian uses the line and agrees with it.

How horrific would it be if you attended a wedding where a nicely adorned table proceeded down the center aisle carrying a beautiful bride’s head! With as many wacky things happening in the name of marriage these days (like people attempting to marry themselves, their pets or multiple people), this can’t be far away. And as grotesque as it is to imagine, this is what some professing Christians are supposedly marrying— a bodyless Jesus. It’s that Christian-in-name-only who claims not to need a church in order to have a relationship with Jesus, the Church’s eternal Groom or “Head” of the body. They feel better off without any church affiliation. Granted, churches can be messed up places by virtue of the sinners that comprise them. But all other reasons aside, it’s a serious spiritual condition. It’s a false assurance.

Jesus doesn’t merely exist as perfect Head to be admired. He comes with a body, and that body is the true Church everywhere over all time and displayed in local gatherings of Spirit-regenerated people. To separate Jesus from his body, the Church, really is to have no Jesus at all. Because you can’t belong to Jesus without belonging to his Body. The New Testament doesn’t know of such a thing. Either your experience of Jesus and his church needs major re-constructive surgery, or you may need to be regenerated and united for the first time—for real—to Christ. Because, to be united to Christ in salvation is to be united to his Body. There’s no such thing as a decapitated Jesus.

 There may be times when you don’t feel close to Jesus, but if you’re not closely connected to a Gospel-centered church, what are you going to do? Comfort yourself with clichés or post Christian memes on social media? There are many more solid and objective reasons to be a member of a local church, but for this exact reason of not feeling his presence is WHY you need to keep tight to a local body of believers. So, stop floating around from one church to the next. Stop talking about Jesus, and throw paint on your invisible man by coming into a local church and staying. It’ll be the best thing that happens to your sin, and the best thing for your wedded life to Christ.

Posted by Will Pareja with

What’s So ‘good’ about Good Friday?

It’s because of a death. And… what’s so ‘good’ about a day dedicated to observing a death? In our culture, we don’t deal too well with death. We call it other things or dance around it through a plethora of self-preservation tactics propagated by pundits, entertainers, surgeons, and make-up artists. We don’t typically wear symbols of death: electric chairs, nooses, collapsing buildings, or tombstones. Then, what makes the Roman cross any different as a symbol of goodness? Good Friday is ‘good’ because of one Person’s (Jesus) actions towards another Person (God) on behalf of other persons (us).

1. Good Friday is ‘good’ because Jesus was good.

Jesus said, “I was born to testify to the truth (John 18:23).” In his life, Jesus succeeded in every part that we failed. By his Father’s approval at his baptism, his passing the wilderness test, his obedience to God’s law, Jesus proved to be the ultimate human worthy of carrying out a divine rescue plan.

2. Good Friday is ‘good’ because Jesus had to fulfill his Father’s plan.

There was only one plan conceived before the ages began that God would enact to deal with sin and reconcile his lost people to himself. God was rightfully angry, and that anger had to be satisfied. How does a God get satisfied? Isaiah 53 answers that: “Yet is was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin…” Jesus suffered his Father’s rejection so that we could be accepted.

3. Good Friday is ‘good’ because Jesus took the place that we rightfully deserved.

Indeed, we are precious creations of God, made in his image, but we’re each fundamentally and personally bent towards sin and corruption. There is no possible goodness in us that outweighs our bad and the debt we owe to God. We needed a substitute to make our way back to God, ‘the just for the unjust’ (1 Peter 3:18).

It’s ‘good’ —yea, great—because it is about the Gospel. And, if Good Friday is good because of the cross work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, then, it’s good for any day of the week or year. Thank God for that Friday, and thank YOU for the cross!

Posted by Will Pareja with

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