Guarantee of Genuineness

The Sailor and the Storm

The Crucifixion is the story of a sailor who drowns and dies in a storm. At first blush, the Crucifixion appears to be a story of the sailor's ignominious defeat.  The storm defeated the sailor. it vanquished him.

The death of the sailor ought to have marked the end of the sailor's story but, surprisingly, it was not. There was another chapter to the sailor's story. 

The next chapter to the sailor's story is the Resurrection. Here we learn that our first impression is wrong. In the Resurrection, we see the sailor's glorious victory. Surprisingly, the sailor did not stay buried in Davy Jones's LockerThe sailor emerged from the dead still alive and still in love with us. 

The storm is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

The sailor is an element of the story of the Crucifixion.

Which is more important? The storm or the sailor?

The answer is the sailor. The storm is merely the context into which the sailor is inserted so he can demonstrate his mettle (Click Here) (Psalm 66:10-12). The important question is 'How does the sailor cope with the storm?'.

In the case of Jesus, he clung to his love for us, held tight and refused to let go. He clung to the life preserver of love. He clung with the iron grip of a drowning man tossed into the sea after his ship has sunk. He did not surrender love to suffering. He resisted suffering. He fought back against it with the only weapon designed by God himself to oppose suffering, namely, love. Love is the grease for the wheels of our passage through the valley of tears. Love is the buffer between us and suffering. Love transforms us into superman who can pick up and carry our crosses of suffering so they do not bog us down in the valley of tears and, thereby, impede our progress to paradise. Love gives us wings with which to carry our burdens of suffering (Pope Benedict XVI). By loving our way through the valley of tears, we maintain the resemblance we bear to God. If we do not, suffering transmogrifies us into the most hideous and miserable of beasts. As we pass through the valley of tears, we can go god-like or beast-like. Which do you choose to resemble as you pass through the valley of tears?

Our sighs, mourning and weeping (Salve Regina) left our lips, reached God's ear and broke God's heart. In response to our suffering (not to our sins), God proposed that a philanthropic mission be mounted to address the problem of human suffering. The mission had two parts

  1. to transport the technology of applying love to suffering from heaven to earth and
  2. to demonstrate that the technology works by using it.

The Son of God volunteered for the mission. The first part of the mission was easy. the second part, however, was difficult - very, very difficult. To demonstrate that the technology works by using it required that the Son of God take flesh to become an equal to us in our humanity and a partner with us in our suffering. There was no other way to demonstrate the technology. To demonstrate that the technology works by using, he needed to pay the cost of the demonstration out of his own pocket not from his unlimited divine resources but from his own limited human resources. He paid them all for us. He kept not a penny for himself. He has never paid more for anything else.

He was the love note that God sent to us in the form of a new-born baby at Bethlehem. He was also the guarantee that the love note was genuine given to us in the diptych of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But, it did not. His love for us survived the evil baptism into which we immersed him.  The sailor drowned and died. However, surprisingly, he did not stay dead and did not stop loving us. He rose from the dead still alive and still in love with us. Wow!

Jesus coped with his cross to teach us how to cope with ours. He demonstrated for us the best way to cope with the suffering we experience as we pass through the valley of tears. 

"If a person bears great love in himself, this love gives him wings, as it were, and he can face all life’s troubles more easily because he carries in himself this great light; this is faith: being loved by God and letting oneself be loved by God in Jesus Christ. Letting oneself be loved in this way is the light that helps us to bear our daily burden." .

Pregnant by the Word of God

We have been made pregnant by the knowledge of God.

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14)

 

Like foolish children, Adam and Eve had run away from their home with God in paradise and took us with them into godlessness. Godlessness sucks. We needed help. So the Son of God dove into godlessness after us to rescue us. He did not dispatch his subordinates. He did not send his flunkies. He came to our rescue himself. 

To rescue us from godlessness, God decided to put us in possession of an important piece of the truth so its light could illuminate the darkness to make the escape route from godlessness to paradise visible. The job was revelation. The job was apocalypse.

The yeast of divinity was introduced to the mud of humanity to leaven the mud with the knowledge of God.  God paid us a visit to impregnate us with the knowledge of God. 

How was this accomplished? How were we "knocked up" by the knowledge of God? The job was given to the Word of God, the second person of the most Holy Trinity (John 1:1-5). 

The process of insemination consisted of three steps (Matthew 13:31-32) (Mark 4:1-32). 

  1. The message was composed
  2. It was delivered to us and
  3. A guarantee of its genuineness was created to verify the truth of the message

 

STEP 1: THE MESSAGE IS COMPOSED

God composed a simple message: Jesus is the God who loves us dearly. Yet, it is a message that transformed the world.

 

STEP 2: THE MESSAGE IS DELIVERED

At Bethlehem, the Son of God, the king of the universe, exchanged the penthouse of heaven for the basement of humanity. He did not send his subordinates to do the job. He did not send his flunkies. The job was so important that He did it himself. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to reveal to the mud the sweetness of paradise. The yeast of divinity came to leaven the mud of humanity. How? With a love note. At Bethlehem, the Son of God delivered a love note to us. Imagine - a love note from God to us! It was not an ordinary love note. It was unique. It was not words written on dead paper. It was the very Word of God written on life itself. The love note lived and breathed. It was alive. It came in the form of a baby born in the humblest of circumstances.

 

Step 3: A Guarantee of the Genuineness of the Message is Given to us

 

To determine whether the love note was genuine or counterfeit, God let us put the love note to the test. We tortured and killed the love note. He suffered and died.  This was the test. This was the evil baptism into which we immersed him. What was the result of the test? He did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that divinity is love. The test revealed that the love note is indestructible.

The Son of God has planted the seed of the knowledge of God within us. We are pregnant with the knowledge of God. Jesus is the God who loves us. He is the sweetness of paradise. Rational people seek the sweetness of paradise. It would be crazy to do otherwise. 

 

Bringing the Confusion to an End

Many false, inaccurate and conflicting pictures of the nature of God circulate through the minds of the children of Adam and Eve. The multiplicity of pictures creates confusion.  “This is God” some say as they point to their favorite picture of God.  Others point to a different picture and say, “No, this is God.” The controversy goes on ad infinitum. 

Because of the confusion, the most Holy Trinity desired to set the record straight once and forever. They decided to clear the air. They decided to give us the gift of the definitive picture of the nature of God.  Their representation of the nature of God can be thought of as a self-portrait or an autobiography. The fidelity of their representation to God is unmatched by any representation made by human hands. They gave us the definitive representation of the nature of God by combining the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us. That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God. That he did not stop loving us is the proof that divinity is love.

 

The Bigger Bang

The yeast of divinity came to leaven the mud of humanity by putting into the hands of the mud a love note. The love note changes everything. It changes the trajectory of the mud. The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to reveal to the mud His love for them. His love for them is the sweetness of paradise. The rationality of the mud instructs the mud to seek the sweetness of paradise. It would be crazy to do otherwise.

God had something to tell us. God had something to say. God wanted us to know that God loves us dearly. Therefore, God sent us a love note. At Bethlehem, Jesus brought the love note to us.  Jesus was the love note. He was the message - the word of God. He was the messenger as well. He delivered the message to us. Furthermore, Jesus was the guarantor of the genuineness of the message as well.

Jesus was the certificate of authenticity for the message.

Jesus was the guarantee of the genuineness of the message.

Jesus verified the veracity of the message. 

Furthermore, the guarantee was given to us in a manner that was both dramatic and apocalyptic.

A collision was arranged.

At and about Calvary outside the city of Jerusalem in a region of our planet called the Middle East more than two thousand years ago, a collision known as the Crucifixion took place between Good and evil. It was bigger than the Big Bang. it was larger than the Large Hadron Collider.

What survived the collision?

The answer is important because the byproducts of the collision unambiguously reveal the identity of Jesus. The fallout from the collision verified the veracity of the treasure. Jesus did not stay dead. This byproduct proved that Jesus is God. Jesus did not stop loving us. This byproduct proved something more important than the divinity of Jesus. It proved that the nature of divinity is love itself.

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.

The evil we did to him could have produced different results. We could have pissed him off. We could have triggered his reflex for revenge, retaliation and retribution. He could have ripped up the love note. He could have cancelled the invitation to follow him back to our home in paradise. He could have confiscated the knowledge of God that he shared with us. But He did not. Instead, he continued to love us nonetheless. His atypical reaction to the evil we did to him gave us proof - irrefutable proof - that his love for us is radical in scope, magnitude and intransigence.

The Relationship of Suffering to the Message

God had something to tell us. God had something to say. God had an important message for us. The message was so important that God personally involved themselves in 1) the message 2) its delivery and 3) the guarantee of its genuineness.

What is the message? 

The message is that God loves us dearly. 

How was the message delivered to us? The message was so important that God did not delegate its delivery to a subordinate. God did not put the message into the hands of a flunky. God delivered the message themselves. The most Holy Trinity sent the Son of God to deliver their message to us. He was the messenger and the message. Furthermore, He was the guarantor of its genuineness. 

He was their love note to us.

How did God guarantee the genuineness of the message?  

Suffering.

God allowed us to baptize the love note in the boiling cauldron of suffering.

God allowed us to impale the love note on the sharp hook of salvation while He was human, alive, tender, vulnerable and our guest upon the earth..

Like silver, God allowed us to test the love note in the furnace.

God allowed us to torture and kill the Son of God. 

If the love note were counterfeit, His love for us would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But it did not. His love for us survived.

The survival of His love for us is the guarantee that God gave us that the love note was genuine. The survival of His love for us despite the suffering and death we inflicted upon Him verified the veracity of the love note. Suffering authenticated it. Suffering proved that God's love for us is indestructible. 

Can you even imagine a better, more reliable guarantee? 

God wrote the guarantee of the genuineness of their message of love in the ink of suffering. Why? Because the guarantee was addressed to creatures who suffer. Creatures who suffer understand what it means to survive suffering.

On the canvas of Calvary in the pigments of pain and suffering, God painted a self portrait of the nature of God  Why? Before Calvary and since Calvary, many representation have been created of the nature of God. All of them without exception and regardless of their author are inferior to the self-portrait that God painted with their own hand at Calvary. All of them must yield to the self-portrait.

In the Ten Commandments, God admonished us not to make any representations of them. Why? God knew that any representations of them would be inferior to the representation God would give us at Calvary.

Suffering was not the message.

Suffering was not the messenger.Suffering did not deliver the message.

Suffering guaranteed the message.

Suffering is the seal that God placed on the message of love to guarantee that the message is genuine.

The only universal language to survive the confounding of languages that took place at Babel was the language of suffering. All creatures who suffer understand it. It is our native tongue. God became a creature who suffers so He could communicate with us in our native tongue



The Guarantee of the Genuineness of the Love Note

We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.

Why did the Son of God pay the exorbitant cost of our salvation?

The theory that the Son of God took the bullet meant for us besmirches the reputation of God the father. It can't be valid. God the Father is not a monster. He did not shoot his Son. He loves his son.

At Bethlehem, God delivered to us a love note. Imagine that. A love note from God to us. It was a most unusual love note. The love note was different. It was not just the word of God written on dead paper. It was the word of God written on life itself. It lived and breathed. The love note was alive! It was written in the form of a baby born in the most humble of circumstances in the boondocks of time and space. It was inconspicuous, anonymous and remote. By all measures, it ought to have been overlooked but it was not.

Why was it not?

Because it came with a guarantee.

God did not just put the love note into our hands. God put a guarantee of its genuineness into our hands as well.

At Calvary, His love for us was put to the test. Contrary to normal expectations, we baptized him (Matthew 3:13-17). If the love note were counterfeit, his love for us would have faded as we tortured him and died when we killed him. But it did not. It survived. The evil we did to him did not extinguish his love for us nor reduce it by even the slightest degree. 

The dial that controls his love for us is in his hands not ours. Moreover, it is set to the highest degree and is locked in place.

That his love for us survived intact and undiminished the evil we did to us is the guarantee that the love note is genuine. 

The God who fashioned us out of the mud with his hands put himself into the hands of the mud to reveal to the mud the sweetness of paradise.