The Trinity is a strange thing. But the basic idea is that God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are 3 different forms of the same thing.
Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father”.
Reading through the Gospels, it appears that Jesus came to change people’s mind about who God was/is. He basically told all of the religious people of the time that they had it all wrong when it came to their beliefs about the character of God. Which was pretty insulting to people who had spent their entire lives devoted to meticulous study of the ancient Scriptures. Keeping the Trinity in mind, I would say that Jesus (God) came to change people’s minds about Himself.
Growing up I hated Easter. I enjoyed church services around Christmas because it was the good news of a baby coming into the world. Christmas was already filled with good tidings and church services around this time always seemed to add to that. But there was a drastic change of tone from pulpits just 4 months later when we got to Easter.
A lot of my Easter experiences focused more on the Cross that Jesus died on than the resurrection. I mean, we understand death and pain and suffering, so it was easier to lean into that subject than the unusual and almost unbelievable idea that someone came back to life.
I would feel such overwhelming shame around Easter. And so…I hated it. I had enough shame in my life and when Easter came I felt a fountain flowing guilt and shame (guilt and shame).
God hated me.
“Would He devote that sacred head, for such a worm as I?”
Actually sang those lyrics. And eventually I began to believe them.
I was like a worm in the sight of God. And He hated the thought of me. Much less having to look at me. And I learned that God killed his son Jesus so that instead of having to even think about me, I could be covered entirely by the thought of His perfect son.
If you had a child and sent your child to die for someone you were absolutely disgusted with, don’t you think that person would feel even worse about how you viewed them?
Easter was rough, because it constantly reminded me of the cross. And in all kinds of churches I attended growing up, the cross was used to make me feel really really bad. After all that Jesus had done for me (dying on a cross) why wasn’t I more perfect? It was as if I was slapping Jesus in the face…while He was dying on the cross because God hated me so much.
Things have changed for me the last few years. I stopped listening to what people had to say about the cross and started asking God what He had to say about it. And I have read through the New Testament and people don’t seem to feel an overwhelming sense of shame when they speak of the death of Jesus.
Rather, the cross is talked about in the following:
– You can boast in it
– It is the power of God in us
– It brought peace
– It cancelled all my debt. I don’t owe God anything. Ever.
– It brings healing
That doesn’t exactly sound like the cross I heard about growing up.
It sounds way better.
It is still hard for me to think about the cross and not feel a tinge of “ugh”, entirely related to my past experience. But I am starting to look at the cross in a new light.
A light that says that God is Agape.
A light that says that God has loved me from the very beginning.
A light that says that God did not send his separate Son to die for a worm, but rather He came Himself. And He (in the form of Jesus) laid His life down. Not because He is disgusted with me. But because He loves me.
A light that says that God doesn’t just see Jesus (or Himself) when He looks at me or when He thinks about me. But He sees me for who I really am. And in the middle of who I really am He loved me so much that He stepped out of Heaven to show me. He still sees me. And now I see Him more clearly. And we have a fondness when we look at each other.
A light that says that the cross ≠ my worthlessness. Rather, it is the greatest expression of how much I mean to God.
A light that says the cross was never meant to make me feel shame. That when I think of the cross, I could feel quite remarkable. That God would be willing to do this and feel the utmost pain to be able to completely identify with me.
A light that says God is Agape. And I am His precious son.
It seems that Jesus came to change what we thought about
God (Him), much more than change the way God (He) thought about us.