Sunday, January 23, 2011

Face: Truth

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. Deut. 4:29

The Shroud of Turin, a 14-foot cloth in which many believe Jesus Christ was buried, may be the most studied artifact in history—and the most controversial. For centuries, scientists and historians have pored over this bloodstained piece of linen that bears the faint outline of a crucified man, hoping to uncover what the image represents and how it was created. The first documented reference to the shroud dates back to the 14th century. Historical records suggest it changed hands many times until 1578, when it wound up in its current home—the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, Italy. – History Channel.

In March, 2009, the History Channel released a documentary titled “The Real Face of Jesus?” on the Shroud of Turin. I recently viewed this feature with quite a response. Insights from that night were so powerful and so profound that, with much trepidation, I decided to write on what was revealed to me personally through this one man’s journey to find the face of Jesus.

To be clear, I am very aware of the controversy over whether or not this cloth is, in fact, the actual cloth the laid upon Jesus in that tomb. Claims of its authenticity or forgery are valid arguments and are welcome, but not in this setting. Revelations to my own being are more coming from viewing the painting in its entirety, not in its brushstrokes. This is not about accepting a “fake as a fact”, it’s not even about the cloth itself. It’s about Christ and how He moves consistently in His Word and in my own life. In the end, it's all about whether I accept Him or reject Him for who He is - far more than who He appears to be.

Christ Dismissed
We tend to absolutely "accept or dismiss” anything based solely on our “findings and facts." For example, the authenticity of the “claims of this cloth” are accepted or dismissed based on the “carbon dating” results done on this relic 20 years ago. The results: this cloth is from the 13th or 14th century. The responders: this cloth "was obviously a forgery created by a medieval artist and is to be dismissed as a fraud” (again further discussions on conclusions from that test are for another time)

Based on the law and prophets, the Pharisees had a very strict checklist of who the Messiah was to be...and this Jesus was not fitting in with their "facts." As a result, the greatest charge against Jesus from these “experts on God” and was this: “He’s a fraud. He’s a fake. To believe anything He is “revealing” is to fall right in line with a lie.” In fact, this was the very charge used by these “experts” to “send Him to the cross.” (The “trial” itself was the real rouse. The charge was the cover for a much deeper issue of sin, but at the time, they could only see the surface of the depths of our despair).

Christianity does not promise that you will have every question fully answered to your satisfaction before you die, but the answers it gives are consistently consistent. There may be paradoxes within Christian teaching and belief, but they are not irreconcilable. – Ravi Zacharias

To dismiss claims in the natural world is understandable, regardless of whether or not they are undeniable. To dismiss Christ is the most personal, deadly deception was could ever fall prey to.

Like the scientists examining the cloth and the Pharisees examining the Christ, we sometimes come to God with a “checklist of expectations.” If any one of those expectations is not met, based on what we know, feel, experience or understand (as factual as they may be) then we dismiss Him: “He’s not real. He’s not authentic. And He’s certainly not Love. …and here’s why…” Experience becomes god instead of God being in experiences.”

It’s not about the cloth. It’s not about carbon. It’s about Him. He IS the only authenticity to seek and to know. He is the embodiment of truth; not to be boxed into our natural experiences, but heard in our everyday lives…however He chooses to reveal Himself into our hearts and minds through His Word and His life in the details of our days.

And so He reveals to me…

To be continued… 

Enjoy Him, Michelle

Monday, January 17, 2011

Know This Love

"so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

As I walked with my family toward the stadium, we walked past him. He was decked out as the walking Bible billboard; right down to the terrycloth headband that read, “Jesus saves.” I see him at ever concert, every sporting event, every time tens of thousands of people walk by. This time, though, it was personal.

He never said a word, just handed out his flyers. This moment, it landed in the hand of my family member. She looked at the flyer and scoffed, “I know that God loves me, I don’t need a brochure to tell me that.”

My mind flashed to her anniversary. I wondered the reaction of her husband if she had said, “I know that you love me, I don’t need a card to tell me that.”  

My mind flashed to my own treatment of God’s Word. I wonder how many times, silently, I have said to my Father, my Husband, my Love: “I know that you love me, I don’t need to actually read Your Word to tell me that.”  My pride often pulls me away from my greatest joy: listening to His Love song, reading His love letters, and basking in incredible romance beyond my imagination. 

How much we are deceived in minimizing the incredible, powerful, indescribable love of God to "I know." He is beyond our knowledge, but as close as the Words in our hands. We have no idea, but we do have a chance.

In 68,000 people that day, someone read that God loves them. By the power of the Spirit, they were moved to know a love that is wider, longer, higher and deeper than they can begin to imagine, comprehend, fathom. I was one, all over again. May I be one to hunger to experience His Word more..

May I be one to shout back to the enemy who lies to those around me with deceptive pride: we do need to read of His love…constantly. This is to be rooted and reaching into His love…and to show the world: we cannot begin to fathom, but we can begin to know measureless love. 

Click here: Word of God Speak 

Enjoy Him, Michelle