Life is hard. Responsibilities are heavy. Relationships are complicated. Our hopes can feel unattainable, and our emotional and mental health seem to be crumbling within us. Even in a beautiful place like Vancouver Island, the invisible and immaterial (spiritual) parts of who we are, like our emotional and mental life, reveal that we just aren’t ok. We are really hurting, are often living unfulfilled, are increasingly overwhelmed, and are all around exhausted. It’s for people like us that Jesus says, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Blessed are those who are so weak on the inside and desperate for help that they are open and willing to receive a new and different Way of life. The Way of Jesus.
We have all believed that we don’t or shouldn’t need God. That we can and should be able to live without Him. In doing so we take on the responsibility to achieve our value, acquire acceptance, purchase our comfort, and strive to accomplish our destiny rather than receive all of these things as a gift from our Creator. But if we are honest with ourselves, living this way hasn’t felt like empowerment or freedom. The weight of the responsibility to provide for ourselves, to control and actualize our life, to understand and achieve our purpose, and to find and keep love, all while curating our own fulfillment is a soul crushing weight. Our hearts are haunted by unfulfilled longing and desire. Our minds are overwhelmed and exhausted by the endless search for solutions, and if not a solution at least a distraction, and we are physically depleted as we realize that we don't have the strength to work our way out of this.
This makes us a desperate people. And sadly, desperate people tend to do bad things. We unintentionally crush the people and things we love most when we place the need of our hearts on them to provide us with that sense of completeness. And so we eat more than we need, spend more than we have, and endlessly search for new sources of happiness and satisfaction. We are angry, dishonest, lustful, and envious because desperate people do things they don’t want to do out of a need to survive.
It’s a really difficult way to live, when deep down we all feel that we were meant to have and to be full of peace, joy, hope, and love. We know that we are meant to be healthy, whole, and fulfilled. To have great purpose and to succesfully acccomplish it, to love those in our lives the way they deserve and to provide them with everything they need. Ultimately, we long to be a blessing and a benefit to the world. Because we know this deep down, we always feel like despite our best efforts and intentions, we are falling short. We are guilty of not doing what we know we were meant to. And so, we feel ashamed. We are ashamed of our weakness and inability. We can even begin to hate ourselves for our lack of strength, skill, and wisdom. So here we are, hugely responsible and desperately failing.
This way of believing, feeling, thinking, acting, and living Jesus calls sin. This is what is wrong in us. This is what is wrong with the world. And this is what is consuming us from the inside-out. Not only are we guilty of failing to be God, we are guilty of rejecting and rebelling against the One who actually is.
But what if we didn’t have to continue living in the way of sin? Of spiritual agony and starvation? What if we could find the inner fulfillment we so need and desire, with the One we were designed to receive it from; our Creator? What if we could have a relationship with God that met our deepest needs? Healed us from the pain of being exploited and discarded? Forgave us for rejecting his goodness and choosing independence? Provided for our every internal and external need, and gives us not only peace and contentment but a new strength for a life of good? This is what the Way of Jesus offers to the poor in spirit.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
According to history and one in three people globally today, Jesus of Nazareth is undeniably the most important person in human history. It is common today for people to think that they should pick and choose what they believe about Jesus based on the parts they like and the parts they don’t. Accepting him more as a teacher or moral example, but not as God, Saviour, and King. The problem with that is, Jesus isn’t a Mr Potato Head saviour. If we have the power to pick and choose who he is, then we have more power than he does, and if we have more power than him, he isn’t powerful enough to mend our wounds, reshape our hearts, offer solutions to our greatest problems, or be our new Way of life and meaning. We need a solution and a Saviour that is bigger than us. We need a Saviour who has the power to defeat our inner enemies, destroy our spiritual captors, and fix our broken world.
So, which Jesus has proven to have the power to do all that?
Which Jesus actually works?
Who is the real Jesus?
It’s the historical and Traditional Jesus. The vintage Jesus. Witnessed by the Apostles, revealed in the Scriptures, safeguarded by the Church as The Way, and continuing to save and transform lives today. This Jesus is the one and only God who came and lived a full human life, was killed on a cross and buried, was literally resurrected from the dead, and has now ascended into heaven.
It is the Life, Death, Resurrection, and the Ascension of Jesus that has been experienced, documented and confessed by Christians for over two thousand years that identifies the true and the original Jesus, for us today.
Each one of these four qualities and accomplishments of Jesus show us who he is and what exactly he has achieved for us. If we lose or change any one of these unique qualities or accomplishments we will lose the real Jesus and all the life altering benefits with him.
So, how does the Life, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus work to save and help us?