an for us?
First: When you get confused, get a clear look at Jesus. Correct back to Jesus. The disciples were confused and disheartened; Jesus gave them a good look at who He really was, and that was enough. Do you ever get confused? Do you ever doubt if what you believe is true? Get a clear look at Jesus. Correct back to Jesus.
When you get confused about God, get a clear look at Jesus.
I follow our Bible reading plan every year—have for years—which means I read the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice each year. There’s some hard stuff in the Old Testament. I love the Old Testament—but there’s some hard to understand stuff. For example, when I read that God commands the Israelites to commit genocide, to wipe out a whole nation—that’s hard. Or some of the punishment proscribed in the Law: got a rebellious child? Take ‘em out! Stone them to death. Really? Genocide? Child-o-cide? That’s what God is like? It’s confusing. Do you know what I do? I correct back to Jesus. I get a clear look at Jesus—because He is God in the flesh. Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus. Correct back to Jesus.
Moses and Elijah (the Old Testament) stood and talked with Jesus, but God said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him,” and it was only Jesus standing there in the end. Jesus trumps everything. Get a clear look at Jesus.
When you get confused about what to do, get a clear look at Jesus.
There are some things that the Bible addresses clearly—read it and you’ll know what to do. But there are others that aren’t so clear, and I honestly am not sure what to do. When that happens, I correct to Jesus. I get a clear look at Jesus.
For example, I am often asked to pray for people who are sick. Some people fret, “Is it God’s will to heal this person or not?” I don’t know—so I look at Jesus. And what I see is that every time Jesus met a sick person, He healed him. So I pray for healing every time. I bring them to Jesus and let Him sort it out.
Or often when I’m facing a decision, I look at Jesus and try to do what I think He would do in that situation. When I’m deciding between being more or less generous, I look at Jesus and choose more generous. When I’m deciding between forgiving or holding a grudge, I look at Jesus and choose forgiving.
I’m always looking at Jesus, correcting back to Jesus. When in doubt, when you’re confused, get a clear look at Jesus.
Second, Jesus is dazzling! Jesus is stunning! Jesus is amazing; He is breath-taking! He is the Messiah, the Christ, God’s beloved Son. He is the Word, the ultimate revelation of God. There is no one like Jesus! I am a Christian because of Jesus. I think when you get a good look at Jesus, you can’t help but love Him!
ILL: John Ortburg tells about a friend named Eileen who was disappointed with her life, but wanted nothing to do with God. In fact, when her daughter told her that someone had been talking to her about God, Eileen was so upset that she couldn’t sleep that night.
At midnight she went downstairs and picked up a Bible. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been to a church, nor had she ever opened a Bible on her own. When she opened it now, she noticed it was divided into an “old” part and a “new” part. She decided to start with the “new” part, figuring the book may have been updated.
So in the still of the night she sat on her living room floor and began to read the gospel of Matthew. By 3 a.m. she was in the middle of John’s gospel and found, as she puts it, that she had fallen in love with the character of Jesus. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” she prayed to God, “but I know you are what I want.”
I think if you could have seen Jesus on the mountain behind the curtain, you would say, “Jesus, you are what I want.” When you see him, He’s dazzling; He’s amazing; He’s what you want.
Last: This dazzling God chose a cross.
Do you think the dazzling, blinding God on the mountain could have simply overpowered us? I think so. I think He could wipe us all out with a word. I think He could force us all to believe with an awesome display of power. I think He could put us all in a divine full nelson and force us to submit.
But this dazzling God chose a cross. In the words of Paul in Philippians 2, “He emptied Himself.” He chose weakness over power, love over force. At His arrest, when the disciples pulled swords to defend Him, He told them to put their swords away, and said, “Don’t you know that I could call on my Father and He would send more than twelve legions of angels?” That’s about 72,000 angels—more than enough, I think, to win that fight! But Jesus chose the cross, not the swords or the legions of angels.
He chose to suffer and die in our place, bear our sin, pay our penalty—because of love. This dazzling Jesus is the crucified God. This is the gospel, the good news: the dazzling God who could have crushed us, was instead crushed in our place. This dazzling God chose a cross.
We’re going to pray. As you reflect on this Scripture and these ideas, let God speak to you. And then write your prayer in response. Prayer time here.
Worship and Communion: Invite the ushers to pass out the elements in the first two songs.