God’s Best Argument
God’s best argument to persuade us about the sweetness of paradise is the test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
Religion's Most Powerful Weapon
The most powerful weapon of religion is fluency in the Test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Fluency with the specifics of the test empowers the evangelist to raise the dead back to life.
Our Understanding of God Germinates, Blossoms and Grows in the Sacred Soil of the Test that Jesus Took on the Road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection
The soil in which God himself planted the seed of revelation is not just any, ordinary soil. It is not found in just any, ordinary place. The seed of our understanding of God is planted in the test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, the knowledge of God rises like a fountain to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).
THE TEST THAT JESUS TOOK ON THE ROAD FROM THE CRUCIFIXION TO THE RESURRECTION
We put our God to the test (Luke 4:12) (Deuteronomy 6:16). At the time of the test, God was a mystery to us. He was a cipher. We did not know him. Our understanding of God and the reality of God were mismatched - not equal. The picture was fuzzy. We possessed a low fidelity representation of the reality of God. The test that Jesus took changed our understanding of God. It raised the fidelity of our understanding of God through the roof to the level of perfection. Jesus took the test to illuminate the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany. (Psalm 43:3) (John 1:5). 'Who are you, Jesus?' 'Identify yourself?' 'Friend or foe?'. In a baptism of violence (Matthew 3:13-17), we tested Jesus (Mark 10:38). The violence included Crucifixion. We impaled Jesus on a cross as a fisherman insouciantly impales a live worm on a sharp hook. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. In the Resurrection, the results of the test were published to us. The publication of the results of the test in the Valley of Tears transforms sinners into saints. The knowledge of God changes us.
THE TEST THAT JESUS TOOK WAS THE VEHICLE THAT GOD USED TO PUBLISH THE GOOD NEWS OF GREAT JOY TO US IN THE VALLEY OF TEARS. (Luke 2:10-11). The good news of great joy is that Jesus answered the question, 'Who is God?', by sending us a LOVE NOTE. Because his love for us survived the evil we did to him, we now know definitively that God is our friend not our foe. God is a philanthropist not a misanthrope. He wants to help us not hurt us. God wants all to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
The test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 13:44). It is the beating heart at the epicenter of Christianity. It is the touchstone against which all things Christian are measured. All other aspects of Christianity radiate from it as spokes from a hub or rays from the sun. No test; no Christianity.
What do we know about the test?
[Quite a lot actually.]
WHAT MYSTERY HUNG LIKE A DARK CLOUD IN FRONT OF OUR GOD BEFORE WE TESTED HIM?
WHAT MYSTERY HUNG LIKE A DARK CLOUD IN FRONT OF OUR GOD BEFORE WE TESTED HIM? The test was an interrogation. With lash, thorns, nails and spear, we gave him the third degree, 'Who are you, Jesus?' 'Identify yourself?' 'Friend or foe?' . The sharpness of our interrogation punctuated his body with bloody wounds. His bloody wounds were question marks. The answer that God would give us to the evil that we did to him was, at the time, a mystery. Would God demand "[a]n eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot (Exodus 21:24)? Would God answer the evil that we did to him in kind? Would he give us a taste of our own medicine? In the results of the test, He resolved the mystery. He answered our questions.
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE TEST THAT JESUS TOOK?
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THE TEST? The purpose of the test was to solve the problem that we face while we stew in the Valley of Tears like pickles in a barrel of toxic brine. Our God has become a stranger to us and nobody follows a stranger (John 10:5)(Psalm 69:8) (Exodus 2:22). Pope Benedict XVI framed the problem in this way: “The real problem at this moment of our history is that God is disappearing from the human horizon, and, with the dimming of the light which comes from God, humanity is losing its bearings, with increasingly evident destructive effects.”(Excerpt from a letter dated 10 March 2009 of Pope Benedict XVI). We have become disenlightened. We have entered a new dark age. We have emptied the Cross of Christ of its meaning (1 Corinthians 1:17). So the Father sent the Son to drop a bombshell of revelation about God into the Valley of Tears - to give us the answer straight from the horse's mouth to the question, 'Who is God?'. The test was the vehicle that God used to deliver to us the good news of great joy (Luke 2:10-11). On the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection, two sticks were rubbed together: 1) Jesus and 2) the evil that we did to him. The fire of truth that erupted from the friction of the violent encounter illuminates the darkness of our understanding of God in a glorious burst of epiphany.It is the means by which God turns sinners into saints.. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).
WHERE DID THE TEST THAT JESUS TOOK TAKE PLACE?
WHAT IS THE LOCATION OF THE TEST? Where did the test take place? The test is the treasure of Christianity. It is buried (Matthew 13:44) on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are not isolated, autonomous, independent events. The Crucifixion and the Resurrection are bound together - parts of a whole - two sides of one coin - two wings of the same bird. They work in concert with each other. They cooperate together to produce the answer to the question, 'Who is God?'. We approach perfection in our understanding of God when we figure out the connection between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the ‘bank’ into which Jesus deposited the treasure of Christianity (Matthew 13:44) - the ‘book’ in which Jesus wrote the Autobiography of God - the ‘canvas’ on which Jesus painted God’s self-portrait - the 'screen' onto which Jesus projected the beatific vision - at least as close to it as possible this side of death.
WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF THE TEST?
WHAT WAS THE NATURE OF THE TEST? What kind of test was it? The test was a violent collision between Jesus and the evil we did to him. The violent collision was bigger than the Big BangBig Bang and larger than CERN's Large Hadron Collider LHC. We launched a freight train of evil toward him. He saw it coming (Luke 22:42). Remarkably, he stood in its path. He did not flinch. He did not cower. He did not jump out of the way. He took evil on the chin (Isaiah 50:6). He stood firm and, by standing firm, stopped evil's progress dead in its tracks. He suffered and died but evil did not jump the gap between us and him. It did not transmogrify him into the most hideous and the most miserable of loveless beasts. In the violent collision, a demonstration of divinity took place. Jesus showed us the nature of God. It is ironic but the Word of God (John 1:1) wasn't an author. He was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). The carpenter built his most apocalyptic revelation into the demonstration of divinity that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.
WHAT ROLE DID WE PLAY IN THE TEST?
WHAT ROLE DID WE PLAY IN THE TEST? We supplied the violence to the test. We baptized Jesus in the water of torture and death (Matthew 3:15) (Matthew 20:22). We played the role of the villain. During the test, the villain was juxtaposed against the hero of the test to show the difference between us and our God Isaiah 55:8-9.
WHAT WAS THE SIZE OF GOD'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEST?
WHAT WAS THE SIZE OF GOD'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE TEST? The size of God's investment in the test was astronomical. The cost of its production was exorbitant. Yet, Jesus paid the entire cost himself out of his own pocket (Colossians 1:24). Furthermore, He made the payment not from his unlimited divine resources but from his limited human resource. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else. The size of God's investment in the test suggests the size of God's love for us (John 15:13) (John 3:16).
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS OF THE TEST?
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS OF THE TEST? What did we learn about the nature of God? We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. At this point, the story ordinarily would have ended. Yet, it did not. The story continued. He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. He emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. That he emerged from the dead still alive revealed to us the power of Jesus. Nobody emerges from the dead. He did. That he emerged from the dead still in love with us, however, revealed to us something more significant about divinity than power. It revealed that our conception of divinity as power is incomplete - flawed. Divinity is also love. The truth that results from the test is this: Despite the evil we did to him, God is still head over heels in love with us. We shouted our sharp questions at him in the Crucifixion. In the Resurrection, he whispered his gentle answer back to us. His answer to the evil we did to him was radically asymmetric. He did not answer the evil we did to him in kind. He did not give us a taste of our own medicine. He changed the tone of the conversation. Forgiveness is a fruit of love. By keeping his heart filled to the brim with love for us despite the evil we did to him, Jesus was able to say "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). The evil that we did to him ought to have rendered us ineligible for the gift of paradise. It ought to have disqualified us. But it did not (Luke 15:22-24). The evil that we did to him did not transform him from our friend into our foe. He did not pull his offer of paradise off the table. He did not cancel his plan to rescue us from our dire predicament in the Valley of Tears. Hallelujah! The gift giver continues to offer us the gift of paradise.
VERIFICATION OF THE GENUINENESS OF THE LOVE NOTE IS FOUND IN THE RESULTS OF THE TEST
GOD VERIFIED THE GENUINENESS OF THE LOVE NOTE IN THE RESULTS OF THE TEST. One of the most remarkable, mind-boggling, intoxicating and inexplicable characteristics of God is that God is head over heels in love with us. God is the indissoluble marriage of power and love - absolute and perfect. God wants us to know who he is. To make himself known to us who live in the Valley of Tears, God sent us a Love Note. Yes, that's right - a Love Note from God to us. Jesus is the expression of God's love for us. He is love's incarnation. Not only did our God send us a Love Note, Our God provided us with the irrefutable proof that the Love Note is genuine. If the Love Note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and would have died when we killed him. But it did not. His love for us survived the evil we did to him. Hence, we can conclude with a high degree of confidence that the Love Note is real. Reality is reliable. The indestructibility of the Love Note is the rock on which the wise build their lives (Matthew 7:24-27). Whom shall we fear? Of whom shall we be afraid (Psalm 27)? Will our almighty lover ever let us down? Will he ever disappoint?
WHAT LANDMARKS DID GOD ERECT TO DRAW OUR ATTENTION TO THE TEST?
GOD ERECTED LANDMARKS TO DRAW OUR ATTENTION TO THE TEST. The landmarks pinpoint the precise location of the treasure of Christianity.
1) Christianity is a treasure map for treasure hunters engaged in the hunt for the treasure. On the treasure map of Christianity, a “†“ marks the spot of the treasure. God planted the Cross of Christ (1 Corinthians 1:17) in the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection to serve as the flag that rallies Christians to the Son of God. Rally 'round the Cross!
2) The Mass is another landmark. The focus of the Mass is the body and blood of the most Holy Eucharist. The connection between his body and his blood is his wounds. He received the bloody wounds in his body on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection. Isn't the Mass a re-presentation of the test - the bloodless sacrifice based on the bloody sacrifice?
3) Holy Week is another landmark. During Holy Week we focus on the sequence of events that started at and about the Crucifixion, proceeded through his bloody wounds and ended at the Resurrection. Holy Week is the most important season of the Church.
The road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the stage from which Jesus published the Good News of Great Joy. The Good News of Great Joy was introduced into the Valley of Tears on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection.
It is ironic but the Word of God wasn't an author. He was a carpenter . Therefore, publication of the Good News of Great Joy was done not said. Moreover, the Good News of Great Joy was published on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection in a more unconventional, spectacular and dramatic fashion than possible through the use of words. The carpenter built the Good News of Great Joy into the violent collision between himself and the evil that we did to him that took place on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection and the incandescent truths that erupted from the violent collision.
The violent collision was a test. The test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the "amber" that captured and preserved the essence of divinity. When we behold it, we catch a glimpse of the beatific vision from here on earth - at least as close to it as we can get this side of death. The sole job of the Christian cleric is to draw our attention to the "amber" in which the essence of divinity was captured and preserved so we can contemplate it and, in contemplation of it, perfect our understanding of God. The results of the test that Jesus took returned to us a fair and accurate, high fidelity representation of the reality of God - far better than any representation of God made by human hands. The test that Jesus took on the road from the Crucifixion to the Resurrection is the firm foundation that supports the correct understanding of God.