Jeff Vanderstelt, from the 2012 Verge conference:
“we’ve got to lead them to do what only Jesus can do”?
Y’know, he stopped reading after he ‘read some more’
Because what Jesus says NEXT (after reminding us that we do things empowered by the Spirit, (duh, who denies that?)) is
“If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven”
So we have a mission to go into the world declaring the sins of people are forgiven, authorized by Jesus.
Many would complain, as they complained to Jesus about the lame man
“Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
But we know that those who have the Spirit have authority on earth to forgive sins, just as Jesus was given that authority by his Father.
Epehsians 5 says “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… in the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies”
Yes, empowered by the spirit, but the actually calling IS to imitate Jesus to people.
Take up a cross, etc.
wow, there must not be many good posts in the blogosphere to share this one.
This is only a brief clip and is embedded in a wider evangelical conversation about the nature of “incarnational ministry” so I want to be generous here. But there seem to be several problems with this. The first three that spring to mind are:
First, when a Pastor challenges others to “be Jesus” to people, does he really expect those people to fulfill the role of the second person of the Trinity? I think not.
Second, didn’t Paul encourage the Corinthians to imitate him as he imitated Christ? That sounds like “being Jesus to people” to me.
Third, everything Jesus did, he did by the power of the Holy Spirit. Asking people to “be Jesus to others” is actually asking them to live in radical dependence on the Holy Spirit, as Jesus did. I am not sure how that would cause us to miss the work of the Spirit (as Jeff V claims).
I doubt anyone has ever taken that saying to mean that we should go and atone for the sins of then world. Rather, it clearly means that as the body of Christ we are to continue the mission of Jesus, making his kingdom present on earth, by being his hands and feet. The church IS the body of Jesus on earth and are to act as such.
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Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.