The gospel is a story, an amazing adventure that beckons all of us toward a God who put human skin on and tromped around in our shoes. It’s the most sacrificial love story in history, the story every story derives its meaning from. The players? A Triune God. A rebellious people. A scrappy enemy. The setting? The entire earth.
The plot goes something like this:
God forms the world with a breath, and in that world places humanity in a garden. The scrappy enemy of God entices a people to rebel and seek life outside their creator. Snakelike, he promises god-like powers, but delivers death instead. This inaugurates a culture of death and decay. Humanity realizes its nakedness and shame, yet God slays animals to cover them in skins. Innocent blood helps cover their sin, but they are still banished and live under sin’s curse.
No animal sacrifice made by the people satisfies a holy God, nor can they pull themselves up by the bootstraps to walk the way He would have them walk. So He becomes the solution by sending Himself in the flesh, providing an example and empathy.
Once on earth, He destroys the paltry, cheap tricks and works and words of the enemy by living a life of irresistibility, sinlessness, and radical love. He washed the rebels’ feet with his sacred hands and told them to do likewise. Then He became the ultimate object lesson by giving those same hands and feet as nail-receivers.
The perfect, irresistible, holy, beautiful, loving One chose the devil’s tool (death) for our sake, dying for our sin, throwing it farther than east from west, inviting us back to the garden, to perfect, open, whole, healed relationship and life. And after his heart beat no more, he rested in the earth while the devil sang shrill victory songs, only to hear his whiny whimper when the God of Everything rose again, thrust away death’s icy grip, and revealed afresh just who God was and is and is to be.
We are lost without His story, without His sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus shed blood for our sake, satisfying the justice of God, mortally wounding the enemy of our souls. And now we are welcomed as children, set free and healed by His wounds.
The invitation to this story is real. It cannot be revoked.
And all I can say is that God reached out to me when I was in a very desperate state, where I wanted to be done with this life, and He rescued me from those suicidal thoughts. He became the Daddy I always longed for, having been a fatherless girl at that point. And He inaugurated the rest of my story, a story where despair was replaced by hope, wandering with purpose.
I am alive and healthy today because of Jesus. And oh how I desire to see you meet Him too.
If you’d like to, here’s a prayer to get your started in that story-altering relationship:
Dear Jesus, thank You for going to the cross and dying for my sin. I’m well aware of it; it is my constant companion. I need forgiveness so desperately. I need to be cleansed. I long for a fresh start. I choose right now to surrender trying to live my life on my own terms, with fist-clenched control. Instead I open my hands (and my heart) and welcome You into the deepest parts of me. I need You. Please hear me. Amen.