First of all, I’m glad to be back in the blogging world. For those who don’t know the reasons for my long absence, check out all the news about the birth of our daughter Emma on our family blog. Two kids just take a lot more time and energy than one!
Now, normally I don’t like answering this kind of questions — I really don’t like it when my wife asks me "Why do you love me?" It’s not because I don’t have reasons for my love, but rather, that stating some of the reasons bears the danger of seeing that list as a complete one and therefore missing out on all the other, unstated reasons. At the same time, stating all of the reasons simply wouldn’t be possible for lack of time and words.
Still, here’s a selection of five reasons why I dig Jesus:
- I dig Jesus because of his very visual way of teaching. This is exactly for people like me, who love to have a visual or hands-on illustration for every complex concept. Jesus‘ use of parables shows how theology can become comprehensible for everybody. I regularly try to imitate that in my preaching — no matter whether it is with fancy powerpoints or with dramatic action. BTW, next Sunday our service will be outdoors, so I’m already planning on some very hands-on, action-type illustrations. That’ll be fun. And the great thing about is, people actually (a) understand it and (b) remember it.
- I dig Jesus because of his ex/including message. Yes, Jesus does both! And both of them are good! I like hearing an exclusive message, that doesn’t leave me wondering which of the many available options I should choose for my life. Jesus shows me the way, and that is exclusive! Yet, at the same time, no message could ever be more inclusive than the one of the Son of God, who gave access to his exclusive way to absolutely anyone by dying on the cross for the whole world! It’s not about qualifications any more, but just about my accepting his generous gift of grace …
- … which brings me to my next point: I dig Jesus because he is so generous with his grace. Just imagine Jesus setting a limit of how many times I may fail before his kingdom will forever close its doors on me! For sure, I’d be outside by now, frantically pounding the doors in utter despair. Yet, Jesus, every time I fail, welcomes me back with open arms. And he does even more, by giving me his Spirit to help me grow and avoid much failure in the future. I don’t think anyone can even come close to grasping the generous grace of God.
- I dig Jesus because of his openly scandalous lifestyle. The life and work of Jesus is a scandal to many — that much is obvious already from the reactions of his contemporaries. The cross of Jesus remains a scandal (in the 1 Corinthians 1:18ff sense) until today. However, the emphasis here is on the openly scandalous way of Jesus. Unlike all other religious leaders, with Jesus there is never any danger of disappointment because of some scandal suddenly rising to the surface. Everything that’s scandalous about Jesus is already known — and beyond that, there’s nothing but the Son of God who remains the same yesterday, today and forever. So, I can rely on this Jesus, knowing that he will never falter and leave me hanging.
- I dig Jesus because he digs me. What more is there to say?
What remains to do is to tag five more people to continue the propagation of the meme:
- Don Martin is — as always — the first who comes to my mind.
- Esa HyvÃ¶nen hasn’t written anything except hotly disputed articles in a Finnish magazine lately, so maybe that’s just the topic he could be challenged with.
- Shannon Buckner has told me I need to update my blog — so, Shannon, here’s a reason to update yours :-).
- My good old roommate Antti Hirviniemi always has something profound to say.
- Brad Anderson write so much anyway, so I think he’ll manage to produce something for this topic, too.