Step 1: Watch the amazing Stone Sour video ‘Through Glass’ (above).
Step 2: Read thoughts below.
Step 3: Throw your favorite stones.
Warning: Possible heretical thoughts ahead…maybe. I’m still struggling with parts of this, so bear with me. Since this will likely be a multi-part post (at least 3, I’m sure), please feel free to jump into the discussion. I’m sure I need it.
WIWAK (When I Was A Kid) we loved the Justice League. Batman. Superman. Wonderwoman. Flash. Green Lantern was my favorite. He still is. They would gather together in the Hall of Justice with the common purpose of saving and preserving the world by fighting one crime/calamity at a time. No matter what happened–hurricanes,floods, bank robbers, or various masked evil doers–at the end of the day, peace was restored because they were on the watch. Children could play in the streets. The elderly were safe. Parents were happy and prosperous. People walked the streets of a world they thought they knew…but it was not the world as it was. Joe Citizen never knew what happened within the walls of the Hall of Justice.
I’m beginning to think there was (and is) a lot more connection between the Gospel and the Justice League than meets the eye.
What is the plotline of the Bible? —creation, fall, redemption and …restoration, right? God creates Earth and Man. Man rebels. God redeems and restores Earth and Man through Jesus, the Messiah and Prince of Shalom. Restoration of the world (in its entirety) is the purpose of salvation. If so, then for us as Christians, the work of justice may be just as important as evangelism or worship. Heretical? Here is the beginning of my thoughts…
What do I see when I step back and look at the whole picture of Scripture? At the end of the book (Revelation 21 and 22)—heaven comes down to renew this earth…restore it…which is the whole purpose of salvation. We do not ‘escape’ the world to some safe place, a la Tim LaHaye. But Scripture shows the Creator God fully, completely establishing the Kingdom here, with the River of Life flowing out from the throne, right down through the middle of Main Street. We see the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis 2:9 and 3:22 now growing on each side of the River. The leaves of the tree are for ‘healing the nations’. There is no longer any curse on the earth. No more night. The scene is eerily reminiscent of the Garden of Eden where Man lives in harmony with God and with himself. Genesis 1 and 2 are extremely similar to Revelation 21 and 22…
Another thought I have about this is from Tim Keller’s suggestion of looking at Jesus’ miracles. We live in a culture in which spectacular special effects are done strictly to be…spectacular.As a result, IMO, we are inclined to look at Jesus’ miracles the same way. “Why did Jesus turn water into wine? To show His power? Why did he feed the multitude with a kid’s sack lunch of fish and bread? To prove He was God?” Jesus apparently did miracles to say He had power. “Look what I can do…I’m the Son of God…”
Can I be honest? The bread ‘thing’ isn’t really all that spectacular. Water into wine? Not so much. And unless you are the crippled beggar Jesus heals, there’s not much spectacular even about the healing of a crippled beggar. If I would have been there, I would’ve gone to Jesus and offered my help. As a consultant. “Look, dude, if you really want these people to believe you have power, why not levitate? Fly around the temple a few times on the Sabbath. Try the whole Criss-Angel-thing…nothing up my sleeve…nothing up my robe…and, viola! …flaming balls of fire shooting from my fingertips!”
Surely as Creator God, He could come up with something better to impress and win converts than just healing a man from leprosy or healing a crippled beggar. Surely He could burst into flames like Johnny Storm and do some loops over the Sea of Galilee! After all, he stilled the hurricane, right? Couldn’t He pull that off as well?
So perhaps we’ve missed it. Like in the video, maybe what we think we see is different than what is really there. Perhaps we’ve focused on what we thought was the point, when the point was altogether different. Perhaps Jesus’ miracles were not to demonstrate God’s power, but his purpose. We think that miracles are a suspension of the natural order of things…but what if they are, in fact, the restoration of the natural order of things? But in Christ’s Kingdom, there is no blindness. No leprosy. No cancer. No death. No poverty or injustice. They are simply not part of the original created state of the Garden of Eden, or a part of where the new Kingdom is taking us in Revelation 21 and 22. So, just maybe, when Jesus feeds the hungry, heals the sick, raises lazarus, etc..he’s restoring the natural order, the original plan of things. When you read the plotline of the Bible, it’s all about restoration anyway…
Maybe the water-into-wine miracle was about restoring celebration to the fact that the Kingdom of God is like a never-ending wedding feast and banquet table. Healing the leper? Restoration of health. Raising the dead? Feeding the hungry? Giving sight to the blind? Restoration.
In Part Two: How the fabric of Shalom is woven into the gospel and the miracles of Christ. And maybe why, on some levels, our ‘salvation’ is a means to an end. We’ll see how that heresy plays out…