The human condition stems from rebellion. In Eden, rebellion broke perfection and shattered the world. We inherited the rebellion. Humankind lives now as hardened rebels, crashing into one another on planet earth. The pieces from our collisions stab and hurt us.
As rebels our sentence is: guilty, death. We wince at this truth. Some speak of our condition as brokenness. Brokenness, however, stands as a result of rebellion. Yes you and I are broken, but we are sinners, rebels, first. We should take care not to remove culpability from sin, lest the point of salvation moves from being about Christ to being about our own desire for wholeness.
"Our motive for surrender should not be for any personal gain at all," writes Oswald Chambers. "We have become so self-centered that we go to God only for something from him, and not for God himself."
Salvation is not about us and not about our desire to be whole. It is about Christ, himself. "I am the Way!" says Jesus to Thomas.
That Way led an uprising in Jerusalem. Nationals desired a ruling messiah. But they received the Messiah—Immanuel. He walked among us and offered a way out of rebellion.
Perhaps the seeking person attending on Sunday desires another way. The brokenness and confusion and ultimate let down of a world gone to hell overwhelms their heart. What would they want—need to hear and see from us, the Family of God?
Imagine, Jesus taking the stage on Sunday, addressing us all—rebel-saints.
"You, my son, my daughter, you wandered in here confused. You're looking for something else, something other than what the world offers.
"But you can't get past the brokenness, the disappointment and the pain. I want to tell you something. I fed the 5,000 for you to show you how I alone can provide all your needs. I walked on water to show you what it takes to follow me—you must step out of your boat and walk in the way most unknown.
"I healed the blind so you could see me. I held off the stone-throwers so you could turn from the way of pain and follow me.
"This morning you look for a way. I am The Way. In this Way you'll find righteousness, 'a righteousness from God that comes through faith in Me to all who believe.' Believe in Me today. Do a one-eighty on the path you're on and yoke up with me—it's easy, the burden is light. It's light because I carry it for you."
We fall into wholeness on the other side of the cross, the empty tomb. We step into wholeness by way of belief and that step is the most dangerous. And it is also the most glorious.
"Genuine total surrender is a personal sovereign preference for Jesus Christ Himself," says Chambers.
Today, we remember Golgotha. The day Jesus became a whore, a murderer, a thief, a liar, a swindler, an adulterer and the Father turned from Him. Darkness covered the earth. The temple veil ripped. The dead woke and proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God.
On this day Jesus ended the rebellion and paved the way to glory through the crimson wood and dirt on the place of the skull. Salvation draws us to Him. It will draw the visitors on Sunday to him. It changed the world. For He Himself is salvation. He alone is the Way.
Timothy Willard is the author of five books, including Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life and the forthcoming The Life-Giving Adventure of Chasing Beauty (Eerdmans, 2019). He has collaborated on over 20 books and has written, consulted and served as spiritual director for organizations such as Chick-fil-A, Catalyst, Q Ideas and Praxis Labs. When he’s not riding the trails in the Appalachian mountains you can find him by the fire with his three daughters and his wife making up stories about Tom the back yard badger. He lives somewhere in the south Charlotte woods.