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Solid rock

by davesandel on April 1st, 2016

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Solid rock

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday in the Octave of Easter

Acts 4

Peter spoke to the assembly of Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. “All of you and all the people of Israel should know that it was in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarean whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead; in his name this man stands before you healed. He is the stone rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. There is no salvation through anyone else, nor is there any other name under heaven given to the human race by which we are to be saved.”

I’m drawn to Peter’s power in these chapters of Acts. Like most all of us, I prefer strength to weakness. I would rather experience self-esteem than self-hatred. I hope to feel some control in my own life rather than being controlled by others. But in all these preferences, I tend to stray away from Jesus’ constant, clarion call to be the last, not the first. He shows me by his example that death precedes resurrected life. There’s no way around it.

I want to perceive Peter’s love for his listeners, not envy his power over them.

Peter’s claim for Jesus as “the” way strangely confuses both Christians and non-Christians. Richard Neuhaus tries to clear this up by saying, “Christ is not my truth or your truth; he is the truth. He is not one truth among many. He is THE truth about everything that is true. He is the universal and cosmic truth.”

But who am I to claim that I have the truth and others do not? That isn’t how it works. Rather, as Neuhaus says, “Truth is not a possession under our control. The Christian claim is that we have been encountered by the truth revealed by God in Jesus Christ and by his grace we have responded to that encounter by faith.”

Neuhaus goes on to discuss both sides of the case for universal salvation. There is certainly a hell, but like many of us, Neuhaus hopes it’s empty.

Jesus is the cornerstone, not because he followed all the rules and believed the right things, but because he loved his Father with all his heart and soul and mind. And he loved his neighbor as himself. And he didn’t take any shortcuts. Ever. Jesus IS love. God is love.

It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to respond to God, respond to love, respond to being loved. But our response is not the cornerstone. Jesus is the cornerstone. That he was rejected does not make him the cornerstone. He is the cornerstone because he was “in the beginning with God.”

Neuhaus writes, “Everything that is true – in religion, philosophy, mathematics or the art of baseball – is true by virtue of participation in the truth who is Christ.” Dallas Willard said that Jesus is the smartest man who ever lived.

Lord, you are the foundation for all our lives. Your love reigns. Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen!

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