Jesus. I love Jesus. More
importantly, Jesus loves me. For the Bible tells me
so. And…Jesus loves you. Not for anything you’ve
done or haven’t done but because Jesus loves you.
That is the thesis of the Gospel. When Jesus
commissioned the disciples to go and proclaim good
news, this is what he meant. They were to go into
the entire world proclaiming the good news that God
did not come to condemn the world (which is a good
thing since, well, God created it…) but to save the
world—to rescue the world from itself.
To rescue us from ourselves.
Friends, we are created in the image and likeness of
God, who is Love flowing between Three—the Trinity.
We read this truth in the very beginning of Genesis
in poetry from chapter one. It reads, “God said,
‘Let us make humans in our image, according to our
likeness’” (Genesis 1:26).
Okay. That’s heavy. So heavy it might cause you…
because it has me… to have an existential brain
If God is who we say God is, then we must be who God
says we are—beloved—because God would not lie, has
not lied, nor shall ever lie or forsake us, right?
Confused? Good. We are getting somewhere.
God is love (1 John 4.16). God created us in the
image and likeness of God, Love. For God so loved
the world (John 3.16), God entered the world
physically in Christ not to punish us or remove us
from what S/He created, but to save it. With God’s
help, we can rescue the world from itself. Richard
Rohr said it more eloquently, “We were created by a
loving God to be love in the world. Our core is
original blessing, not original sin. Our starting
point is ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31) and surely not
‘total depravity’ or ‘sinners in the hands of an
angry god’” (We Were Made to Love by Love).
Know what I love most about Jesus? Jesus met people
where they were in life.
For instance, check out Mark 1.23-26.
23 Just then there was in their synagogue a man
with an unclean spirit, 24 and he cried out, “What
have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you
come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One
of God.” 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be
silent, and come out of him!” 26 And the unclean
spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice,
came out of him.
Notice that Jesus didn’t ask if this person knew the
five points of “Calvinism.” Nor did Jesus walk down
some Roman road before healing him. And Jesus
certainly didn’t ask the man to join his ministry
before or after the incident. Instead, Jesus offered
peace, life, and love without any condition. Let me
repeat it: Jesus [simply] offered peace, life, and
love (and here’s the kicker) without any condition.
It’s that without any condition that makes it
unconditional love, right?
Did a real exorcism take place? The
scripture says so. In fact, it was at this
confrontation in the early part of Christ’s ministry
where we see his authority in both his teaching and
healing. Jesus has authority because God authorizes
it. Jesus, who is the face and heart of God, came to
liberate God’s people from the demons of oppression
by stepping into the realm of opposing authorities,
facing the world of other spirits, and opposing the
potent power of possession and to say, “God is
here.” Christ’s authority broke through the barrier
that kept the unclean at bay, defeated the evil of
the universe, brought light to the places and spaces
where it seemed God could never be and destroyed the
very presence of opposition to God.
Perhaps that’s where the good news lies for us, some
2000 years later. In a time like ours, when we are
quick to make judgements and assume the worst about
others, maybe we need a reminder about who we are as
image bearers of God—being as little Christs. We
need to return to what we are called to do, which is
to resist and restore the faux news of how bad
things are with the good news of God’s presence,
God’s reign, and God’s kin-dom… not by our silly,
human-made doctrines but with our loving, divine-led
acts of mercy and kindness, compassion, and grace.
Instead of beginning with how messed up the world is
or rather than listing all that’s “wrong” with those
with whom we disagree and refraining from
regurgitating the prejudices, racist, ageist,
classist, and sexist commentary often heard behind
pulpits and podiums, we shall choose to begin with
the good news: you are, I am, the world is, created
in the image and likeness of God.
So friend, read these words; listen to these words;
memorize these words; speak these words:
You are loved.
You are cherished.
You are enough.
God is here with you in your
addiction. God is here with you in your pain. God is
here with you in your depression. God is here with
you in your illness. God is here with you in your
And that my friends, is the best news I’ve heard in
the last 24 hours!
[Adam Quine, pastor of First Presbyterian Church