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The Shock God

• Greg Boyd

God is an awesome and powerful God! He reveals his power not by control or force, but through love and sacrifice. God so loved the world that he sent his Son, Jesus, into the world, not to condemn it but to transform it, ultimately laying down his life for all on the cross. This kind of power and love was shocking then, and it is still shocking to our world today.

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God is an awesome and powerful God! He reveals his power not by control or force, but through love and sacrifice. God so loved the world that he sent his Son, Jesus, into the world, not to condemn it but to transform it, ultimately laying down his life for all on the cross. This kind of power and love was shocking then, and it is still shocking to our world today.

In the first century, many Jews were looking forward to a coming Messiah who would free them of Roman oppression and rule. This was commonly thought to be accomplished with military and political power. Even Jesus’ disciples thought this was how Jesus would respond as the Messiah. Jesus shocked his disciples when he tells them that not only would he not conquer Israel’s enemies in this manner, but that he would also suffer and be rejected by the religious leaders.
Jesus affirms to his disciples that he is the Messiah, but he tells them that he has not come to conquer their enemies. Rather, he has come to express God’s love by giving his live for them.

Jesus further shocked his disciples telling them that in order to follow him, they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily. What Jesus was calling them to was not to a position of power and self-righteousness, but rather to a life of humility, service and self-sacrificial love. As followers of Christ, we are called to do the same and reflect this kind of outrageous love and service, even to those who persecute us.

Jesus teaches his disciples about a new way of living. It is a life found only in God, which is abundant life. The source of all love, joy and peace is found in living for God. Trying to get life from any other source is futile and leads to death. Our call as followers of Christ is to die to our old ways of living life and to start living in love, as Christ loves us. By doing so, we find real life!

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Focus Scripture:

  • Luke 9:18-27

    Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?"

    They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life."

    “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?"
    Peter answered, “God's Messiah."

    Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone. And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."

    Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for you to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit your very self? If any of you are ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

    “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

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