Going Deeper 7-22-19

From our Gospel text, these words of Jesus: “There is need of only one thing.”  Thus far our text.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.
The Bible—What is it all about?  Or, better question: Who is it all about?  The easy answer is, of course, God.  And that is true.  The purpose of these Scriptures is to reveal to us the truth about God.
One might also point to three main themes within these pages: sin (revealed through the Law), grace (revealed through the Gospel), and transformation.  In these inspired texts we learn the truth about sin and its consequences.  Story after story reveals how depraved humanity has been since the fall into sin, and how human brokenness has continually made such a huge mess of things.  Always has, and still does.  Sin is a reality which has broken each and every one of us, and through the Law proclaimed in the Scriptures we are led to see our need to be saved.
Which, of course, prepares us to comprehend and receive the Gospel truth of the amazing love and grace of God, who reveals Himself as merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.  And the ultimate expression of God’s love is the story of our Abba/Father sending His only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.
Which leads to our final of these three main themes: transformation.  Salvation is not simply about going to live with God in His eternal Kingdom when we die.  God’s desire is for His Kingdom to come more and more fully among His people now.  This happens when His children respond in gratitude and love to God’s mercy and grace, seeking to be more and more filled with the Holy Spirit of God, and to be continually transformed back into the beautiful reflections of God they we created to be.
So these are good answers to our question: Who/what is the Bible all about?  The Bible is all about God, and is centered around the themes of sin, grace, and transformation.  But there is another answer to our question, the best answer of all.  Ultimately the Bible is all about Jesus.  
The main purpose of the written word of God is to reveal to us the Living Word, Jesus the Christ, and to connect us with Jesus in a profound relationship, one that is continually growing and maturing.  We heard that just a few minutes ago in Paul’s words to the Colossians… 1:28-- It is he [Jesus] whom we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  
Actually, Jesus is present in all three texts this morning.  His presence is obvious in our second reading and, of course, in the Gospel.  But where do we see Jesus in that first story?  Let’s take a look at it.  Who “appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre”?  “The Lord.”  Singular.  But wait, when Abraham looked up, what did he see?  “Three men standing near him.”  The one Lord, three persons.  The Lord-- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit-- appearing this time in human form.  It seems as though that is what we see in this trinitarian text.  So, Jesus is in this story.
Some might judge that as a bit of a reach.  But is it, really?  Paul sees Jesus being present even further back, all the way back to the beginning, claiming that “in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through him and for him.”  Jesus is part of the story from the beginning.
There is also much about Jesus throughout the books of the prophets, pointing to the coming “Son of Man”, as well as the Messiah and messianic age.  For example, Isaiah prophesied that in the messianic age “the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.”  The New Testament Gospels make it clear that this was all fulfilled by Jesus the Christ.
In the first words of his Gospel, John points to that very same truth: “In the beginning was the Word and the word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through Him all things we made. … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”   And do you know the words of the last verse of the Bible, Revelation 22:21?  “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with His people.”  
From the beginning to the end, the Bible is truly all about Jesus.  Or as the guys from the Bible Project like to say, “The Bible is one unified story that leads to Jesus.”
Now, let’s ask our question again, but with a different subject: What is this church all about?  I’m guessing you know the answer I am wanting to hear: Jesus. This church is all about Jesus. At the very heart of everything we do here, from worship, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, adult Bible classes, fellowship events, community service, and everything else, at the heart of it all is Jesus.
The truth of this is also revealed in the proclamation of the Church as being the Body of Christ.  This is Jesus.  We are all parts of His Body, that is His Church. 
I want to ask our question one more time, with a third subject: What is my life all about?  What is your life all about?  And the obvious answer I am looking for is, of course, Jesus.  That is a pretty easy answer to give, but is it easy to both understand and live out?  No, not really.  There are so many other things that demand our attention.  There are so many distractions.
However, the beautiful truth is that Jesus is there with us even among the distractions.  Are we spending time and energy relating to our family?  Jesus is there.  Simply acknowledge His presence.  He is in the people all around you—family, friends, neighbors, co-workers.  Yes, Jesus is with you in your work, whatever that work might be.  Again, simply acknowledge His presence.  Jesus is even with you when you are scurrying around from place to place, caught up in the hustle and bustle of life.  Yet again, learn to simply acknowledge His presence.
One might even call this “practicing the presence.”  Yes, we seek Jesus most powerfully through Word and Sacrament, through immersing ourselves in the Scriptures, and in our prayer and devotional life.  But these are all just a means to an end.  Where all of this ideally leads us to is into an increasingly profound walk with Jesus, recognizing and dwelling in His gracious presence at all times and in all places... in our worship, in our work, in our play, in our home.
We are “in Christ”, using Paul’s words… and Christ is in us and all around us.  Comprehending and contemplating this truth is vital to our understanding, and crucial to our learning to live more and more fully in the way of Jesus.  Experiencing His love and grace changes everything, changes us.  So seek Him… seek Him through the word and sacrament, through prayer, through practicing the presence.  Seek Him everywhere and all of the time.  It is all about Jesus!  Amen.