Sunday December 5, 2004 | Greg Boyd
So, because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began to persecute him. In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him; not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
This week, Greg preached an inspiring message that concluded his Kingdom of God series and emphasized how God the Father is a living, interactive God who is always working in the world. As such, the kingdom of God is one of the “here and now”! To the extent that Christianity is transformed from finding life in Christ to finding life from Christian religiosity and moral correctness, it will not only continue to alienate others by living in judgment but also blind its followers to how God is actively, vibrantly working right NOW in those alienated.
This week, Greg preached an inspiring message that concluded his Kingdom of God series and emphasized how God the Father is a living, interactive God who is always working in the world. As such, the kingdom of God, which follows God’s works, is one of the “here and now”! For some, their spiritual lives consist of following God just around the bend, assuming that God is not working where they are presently. Others think they must constantly look behind them to see God, as if their spiritual lives are lived only in the past. Unfortunately, neither of these perspectives allows people to visualize God’s life-bringing activity in the present or to participate with God in that activity. Greg’s message warned about this these perspectives and their potential outcomes and provided insights about to how to live in the kingdom of God moment-by-moment.
As an illustration, Greg used the amazing story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man and the outlandish response the healing received by the Jewish religious leaders (John 5:8-19). Instead of focusing on the wonderful thing that God had done in their midst, the leaders could only see an ex-paralyzed man breaking a narrowly-interpreted law of God. The religious leaders could only see things from a static, “God-back-then” framework where God just didn’t act anymore. This is the same lack of vision that caused the religious leaders to characterize Jesus, the very Son of God, as little more than trash who hung with the outcasts of society, judge him accordingly, and effectively miss the renewing, revolutionary work of God’s Messiah! Greg reminded us that the problem that faced the short sighted Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’ day remains within 21st century American Christianity – it is just as easy as ever to fall victim to one’s own sense of how God works.
To the extent that Christianity is transformed from finding life in Christ to finding life from Christian religiosity and moral correctness, it will not only continue to alienate others by living in judgment but also blind its followers to how God is actively, vibrantly working in those alienated. This is why some Christians appear so devoid of overflowing life and agape-style love, Greg argues. To combat this, the Church must remember Jesus’ words about the Father’s continual work in the world…and to diligently LOOK for that work. Only then will we more fully be able to die to our own sense of “rights” and see divine activity in the ordinary settings and the so-called unlovable people around us. Jesus’ life and ministry were seriously grounded in looking for the Father’s work (John 5:16-19).
The world’s diabolical matrix often uses our religious self-perceptions and ideologies to lull us unconscious to how every moment can be filled with God’s presence and the capacity to expand the kingdom. Greg encouraged us to wake up and smell the coffee! We can only participate in what God is doing insofar as we are looking for what God is doing. As Greg stated:
The time to look for the Father’s working is now.
The place to look for the Father’s working is here.
And the people in whom we must look for the Father to be working is everyone.