My friend, Mkayla, wrote the following. So simple, a child should be able to understand. But isn’t the Gospel supposed to be simple? Man makes it hard — God makes it simple. Thank you, Mkayla.
A Retelling of the good news
I believe that God created man in His own image. Two of them to begin with, who were placed in a beautiful place to live, without hassles. God walked with them and spoke to them every day and enjoyed the company of His creation and called it good. Eventually these created beings made the wrong choice out of their God-given right to free will, the right to choose. They did not listen to God, their Father, but listened instead to a well-formed lie woven by a crafty manipulator. They called the lie the truth and found that it was good. They were banished from paradise and the hassles of life as we know it began.
After that God made many covenants and attempts to reconnect with His people throughout time. He gave them laws and blessings and waited patiently, with what He refers to as longsuffering, (we say this loooonnngsuuuuferrrrriiiiiinnnnngggg) for them to respond. But man’s heart, despite all the good given to him, is wicked. Man continue to fail and to live in sin by making bad choices through the act of – again – God-given free will. I want to add here that man’s continued failure came as no surprise to God. This is an important point because the next thing – the greatest thing – was not God’s plan B. God was not like Ford Motor Company who some decades ago needed to get a better idea. No, this plan, this one plan to end all plans had been there before even the foundation of the earth. He just had it tucked in His back pocket for the right time to come rolling around. Waiting is not a problem to God because to Him one thousand years is like a day. You and I can’t hardly wait for the next payday to come rolling around, much less the next thousand years!
Ok. So enter Jesus. Yes. Jesus. Yeshua. The Messiah, the one and only son of the Most High God. Jesus, although He is called the Son of God is really God Himself, God in the flesh and as we are told He is called Immanuel. And, wait because it gets better. Jesus, the son of the Most High God, the one sent to deliver God’s people was born of a virgin named Mary – just a little bit of a girl really, not a big bustling woman, not a well-known well dressed woman of the world that all the girls looked up to, just little bitty Mary who had never once had sex.
An angel, a real one not called Emma, visited Mary and told her that the Lord had found favor with her and that she was going to have a child and that the name would be Jesus. When she asked how that was to be, her having still been a virgin, the angel not called Emma told her that she would be visited by the Holy Spirit. This is a true visitation because the same angel told Mary’s boyfriend Joseph the same thing. Then, nine months later she indeed gave birth to a baby boy, the one who would even deliver her. As a woman and a mother this astounds me. Some days we have thoughts or realizations that make us feel like we ran splat right into a wall. This is one of them and it happens every time I think that a young girl gave birth to the one who would deliver and save anyone who called on His name – the name above every name. Jesus is the one who came to bring people back into relationship with God. He came to fix that bad decision made by free will that banished man from paradise. The one that made us have kids with runny noses who wouldn’t do what we said despite our blessings and rules. The kids who insist on doing things their own way. The ones with free will. Ahem.
There’s another splat into the wall moment coming up. Jesus grew into a man and began to teach all who would listen about the Father and about the kingdom of God. He chose twelve men who liked to make bad decisions, but they listened and believed in Him. Because Jesus is God He could tell the condition of the hearts of those around Him. Many hated this because they wanted to continue to live out their lives of the lie, the one that began by the crafty manipulator so long ago. Oh no. Crafty never left the scene. He’s always been there. So in their blindness and their insistence on being right – their pride – and because of their kinship to Crafty, they hated Jesus and planned to get rid of Him. But many others loved Him and to those He gave forgiveness of sin and eternal life.
Jesus taught his disciples many things and spoke of His own death and the coming of the Holy Spirit who He also referred to as the Comforter. He told them that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin, which is the need to make those dumb free will choices, and that He would lead them into all truth. Then the dark and dreadful day came that Jesus was arrested and taken from them. He was brought to a court where His destiny had already been decided. They mocked Him even though He loved them they beat Him nearly unrecognizable. Then they put nails in His hands and feet and hung Him up that way to die on a cross.
This is what I do not understand. People can read this story and those facts of the savage brutality, which was an act of wicked, wicked hearts, and they are not moved. Yet, those very same people will rise up against someone who mistreated a dog.
Only three people remained to watch Jesus die. Only three. One was His mother Mary. Then they took Him down, loving wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him alone in a tomb. Have you buried a child?
Those who hated Jesus thought it was the end. The crafty one thought he had won and that people would forever be under his rule. He often thought more of himself than he should and is how he ended on his belly. See? They were all wrong. Jesus rose on the third day, defeating the death of the cross, winning the battle and proving to all that He is indeed God. Because no one has the power to overcome death but God himself. Kinda lets the umph out of those vampire stories, huh? Team Edward, Team Jacob sorry, you lose too.
So let’s look at this because for a long time I never got the Jesus gotta die thing. When the two were removed from paradise and were banished it was because of their sin in not doing what God said. Sin leads to death. Don’t debate it in your mind just accept it as fact because as humans it will never make sense. It is necessary to give life to live, so then God came to earth to die in our place so that if we believe in Him we will not die but live forever. Yes, there is a physical death but then we live again with Him. It’s another wall moment because God who is capable of anything could have done any of it or all of it differently but chose not to. That is His love. Don’t miss that point because it is the greatest. And if you decide to do the free will thing here and miss it you will die in your sin and it will be too late to change your mind later on.
Jesus appeared to His disciples and again, taught them, ate with them, comforted them. The first person who saw him was not a man, but a woman. Ha. I love that. It’s one up for the girls. Jesus told His disciples He would be leaving them. He told them to go and wait in a room for the gift to come. As they spoke He went up into the heavens and they watched Him go. Again, there was a visit from an angel, this one wasn’t Emma either, who told them they would see Him come again in the same way they saw Him leave. Translated this means that Jesus will be in the heavens the next time we see Him! The Message says Jesus disappeared mysteriously. Don’t read the Message. It is a book authored by the crafty one, yes, he has books, and this one is a well hidden fact.
The disciples and followers of Jesus went to the room and waited. It was their turn for longsuffering. They were obedient to the instructions of their Lord and were given the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He came with might and power. He came with great authority and as Jesus said He would, He convicted the people of sin. Many were saved – 3,000 at time and the church of Jesus Christ grew in number and influence. They knew they had the free will choice to do stupid and purposeless things. They knew that they could leave at any moment and return to their homes and to their jobs and wine vats. But they chose something different. They chose to hear the word and they received it well. Many of them gave their lives so that others could hear the news of Jesus Christ. And to this day it continues. That is the basic story of the gospel of Jesus Christ that is to be preached to all creatures to the ends of the earth.
And you thought Steven Spielberg could tell stories!
Jesus came to earth in a way that the people did not expect Him to. They were waiting for a ruler to restore their kingdom. Jesus told them His kingdom is not of this world. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit came in a way that they did not expect either. Who could prepare for such power? Have you ever spoken the word of God to someone and you knew there’ s no way those words could have come from you? That was the Holy Spirit. It’s a kapow deal. A step up from the wall moment. But make no mistake, the Holy Spirit is Jesus, He is God and in that He is distinct. Crafty has his own distinctions and men have once again traded the truth for the lie and called it good. Catch that.
This is a simplified version, my having had no forethought on this at all! – and that is the point. It is simple. But, its such a crazy story – not my retelling but the real complete unabridged one found in the bible. And still some days, even though I believe and know that it is true I wonder why… or how. It is bizarre to my human, selfish mind why God would go and do the things He went and did. But, I think that’s the point.
Who else would do such a thing but God Himself?
splat right into the wall.