30 More Reasons that Jesus is Better Than I Think

(visit blogpost from 12/19 to read 1st 30 reasons)

31. I cannot get underneath his mercy. I can dig and dig and dig with my shovel of sin. But no matter how deep I go, I never hit rock bottom on his mercy.

32. I can never outrun his love. No matter how fast Wily Coyote ran, the Roadrunner just ran faster. My failures never outrun his patience; as fast as they run, his love runs faster.

33. He never misunderstands me. Never interrupts me. Never misjudges my motives.

34. He likes me. Not just loves. Likes. Whatever else ‘friend’ means, doesn’t it at least mean that?

35. Adam was supposed to multiply physical children throughout the nations and finally to overcome the world (Gen. 1:28). He failed. Jesus came, to multiply spiritual children throughout the nations and overcome the world. He succeeded (Matt 28:19; John 16:33). I was born in Adam. By grace I have been placed in Christ.

36. His death means my death is a beginning, not an end. A door, not a wall. An entrance, not an exit.

37. He makes me human again. He didn’t come to make me superhuman, a superspiritual being who only ever lives and prays and praises in a disembodied state. He has angels for that. He came to give me back my humanity. He understands and delights in the fact that I am a human being. He is not disappointed that I need sleep, food, and the bathroom. Through him I was made this way (Col. 1:16). He himself experienced all the same things.

38. He does not hold over me his deliverance of my helplessness. He delights to deliver. It is who he is.

39. He does not bring pain into my life to coldly punish but to gently help. He brings pain to clear away the static in my communion with him. He was punished so that all my pain is not punitive but paternal.

40. My union with him means that even self-inflicted pain can only ultimately work out my glory and beauty.

41. When I am prayerless, he is not. He intercedes for me. And because in Gethsemane his prayer was unanswered, every prayer he makes now on my behalf is answered.

42. His undentable record is mine and cannot be taken away, even by my own ongoing failures. It was God, not me, who united me to him in the first place. It is God, not me, who is alone capable of un-uniting me from him. And because justice has been satisfied, God never will. The universe would have to come undone for me to be separated from Christ.

43. I cannot experience a temptation he has not (Heb. 2:18).

44. Every heart-stabbing poem, every story of redemption, every novel that evokes longings, every reading of Tolkien and Wendell Berry and John Donne and a thousand others who make the tears flow—it all points to and terminates on him. He is the only one in the universe that is not a pointer to something else. Everything else points to him.

45. His death means my body will one day be restored to me and this time will not run down. Cells will replace cells, I suppose, as God created us—but without resulting in wrinkles and balding and stiffness and aches.

46. His promised second coming means that I need not secure perfect justice now against those who have wronged me. All will be put right. One day all resentment will evaporate.

47. He was born in Bethlehem. Out of the way, backwoods Bethlehem. I am freed to live and serve in an unknown place. Significance is not sacrificed; worldly significance is sacrificed.

48. He withdrew to pray and be alone at times. Flawless ministry does not mean being perpetually available to people.

49. ‘And they all left him and fled’ (Mark 14:50). Had he lived today, every last Twitter follower would have un-friended him. So that he could be my ever-present friend. They all left him, so that he could say: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb. 13:5).

50. Had he blogged today, no one would have blogged more wisely and no one would have received nastier anonymous blog comments. And he would be as patient with them as he is with me.

51. He loves weakness. He works with weakness. He is repelled by strength. That qualifies me for his help.

52. His grace is sufficient. It needs no Dane-generated supplement. All he requires is need. Nothing more, nothing less. Desperation. The bar of divine favor is low, so low that the proud cannot get under it.

53. David said Yahweh is the Shepherd who makes him lie down in green pastures (Psalm 23). Jesus said he is the Good Shepherd (John 10). It is supremely in Jesus that God makes me lie down in green pastures. Jesus leads me beside still waters. Jesus restores my soul. My weary, depleted soul.

54. Jesus gathers up all the various and seemingly disparate threads of promise and hope and rescue and longing that dot the landscape of the Old Testament and snowball down through the centuries of redemptive history. The virtue of every OT saint is filled out in him, and the failure of every OT saint heightens the longing for, and is paid for by, him.

55. He is the perfect prophet who not only speaks God’s word to the people but is God’s final Word. He is the perfect Priest, who represents the people to God. He is the perfect King, who represents God to the people.

56. The whole Bible is his, and about him (Luke 24:27, 44; John 5:39, 46). The Bible is not a manual for life, not a guidebook, not a rulebook, not sage suggestions, not even a doctrinal repository. Not mainly. At its heart, and cover to cover, the Bible is the Word of God about the grace of God in the Son of God for the people of God to the glory of God. When I open the Book, I get him.

57. If he is the firstfruits, then when I look at his raised invincible body eating fish and able to appear in locked rooms, I am looking at my future. I am a part of the one single harvest of resurrected embodied invincibility of which he is the firstfruits, the first ingathering (1 Cor. 15:20-22). The resurrection of the dead has already begun. The first instance is already among us.

58. When he walked out of the grave, Eden 2.0 dawned. Against OT expectation, the old age continued steamrolling right alongside the dawning new age. This is why this world can feel like heaven one day and hell the next. But the overlap of the two ages also means there is still time, still a chance, for any who recognizes he has been born into the old, hellish age to lay down his arms and be swept up into the dawning sunrise of the new age.

59. And one day, even the horrors of the old age will die away. We will pass through the wardrobe into Narnia. Middle-earth will be cleansed and the Ring destroyed. We will be home at last. ‘I will bring them home,’ God said (Zech. 10:10). We will weep with relief. We will see him face to face (Rev 22:4).

60. All because he refused the glory he rightly deserved to enter the hell and mud of our world to grab us and drag us, kicking and screaming if need be, into the new order, the new world of shalom and floruishing and light and wine and non-frivolous laughs. All of sheer grace. All to be simply received. Available to anyone who refuses to pay for it.

-Dane Ortland (http://dogmadoxa.blogspot.com)

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