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Clearing My Brain
What I’m Thinking About
The weather this week in Ireland has been amazing. Thankfully we missed out on the heatwaves experienced by many this summer, but it was a dreary wet summer for the most part. Over the next week, the nights continue to get longer and the days steadily colder. But this was a nice way to end the summer!
My bible reading this morning found me in 2 Corinthians. This has been one of my favourite books of the bible for a long time.
When I first started in ministry, I was part of a campus ministry called Chi Alpha (XA). The group took its name from 2 Corinthians 5:20, where Paul writes that we are ambassadors for Christ.
16 So from now on, we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are, therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
I have always loved this passage. I read this book so many times, and as I’m going through it again, I recognise how deeply it has shaped my thinking on the Christian life and ministry. I read chapters 4 and 5 this morning and want to comment on everything. About not losing heart, our treasure in jars of clay, and being hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed. About not preaching ourselves, but Jesus the King.
This would get long, really fast.
Let me make a small point on the passage above. It matters that Paul does not write we are ambassadors for Jesus. Now, maybe you are thinking he is talking about Jesus. And that is true.
But remember, Christ is not Jesus’s surname. I wrote yesterday that gospel and good news are interchangeable terms. Jesus and Christ are not. One is a name; one is a title. Christ means King, Messiah or Anointed One. We are ambassadors for the King. We implore you on behalf of the King: be reconciled to God.
This is on my mind because I have been thinking a lot about the gospel and the kingdom for the past week or so. Specifically, how the latter is often ignored when talking about the former; I wrote a post yesterday and will write more about the topic as I work through the book Why the Gospel?
Let me leave you with an encouragement. When you read or talk about Jesus and come upon the word “Christ”, make a substitution. Use, King, or Messiah…or even the Christ. Whether you say Jesus the Christ, King Jesus, Jesus the Messiah or something like any of those. It might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but eventually, it will make so much sense and you will be amazed at what the New Testament writers and the whole bible are actually claiming about this man.
Worth a Read
I’m not a huge tennis fan, but I found this story about how one guy in his bedroom built a gambling empire and how a police officer with almost no backing took him down fascinating. It also made me sad to think of the growing impact legalised gambling is having on every aspect of life.
What I’m Reading
This past week, I began a level two improv class, which takes me into town on Tuesday nights. This is on O’Connell St., which after a number of attacks which led the news for much of the summer, has a much larger Gardai presence lately.
I pray you experience the compassion and grace of our Father this week!