I was listening to a recent interview with Greg Boyd and he said something that really gripped my imagination. He said the Church is supposed to be a giant version of Jesus.
As his body, the Church is the ongoing incarnation of Jesus. Therefore, our role is to be a “giant Jesus.”
Does this sound like too haughty of an expectation? I think Jesus himself held a similar expectation:
“However, it’s the truth that I’m telling you: it’s better for you that I should go away. If I don’t go away, you see, the helper won’t come to you. But if I go away, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong on three counts: sin, justice and judgment. In relation to sin — because they don’t believe in me! In relation to justice — because I’m going to the father, and you won’t see me any more. In relation to judgment — because the ruler of this world is judged.” -John 16-7-11
How will the world be confronted in regards to sin, justice and judgment? Through the work of the Spirit living and working in Jesus’s followers.
Jesus’ followers will receive God’s Spirit. The Spirit, who is Jesus’ living presence in each of them, will transform the community of Jesus’ followers into a giant version of Jesus. Through the radically counter-cultural, post-resurrection, New Creation-launching life of this Spirit-filled community, this “giant Jesus,” God’s Spirit confronts the world and its false powers in three substantial ways — in relation to sin, justice, and judgment.
First, the Spirit-filled lifestyle of “giant Jesus” proves the world wrong in regards to sin. The world is heading in the wrong direction and thus “missing the mark,” which is “sin.” The Spirit-filled life of God’s New Creation embodied in Jesus’ followers points in the right direction.
Second, the Spirit-filled lifestyle of “giant Jesus” proves the world wrong in regards to justice. Jesus’ resurrection is God’s ultimate act of justice, of putting all wrongs to right. The Spirit-filled life of Jesus’ followers continues to confront the world’s passive ignoring and active implementing of injustice.
Third, the Spirit-filled lifestyle of “giant Jesus” proves the world wrong in regards to judgment. The “ruler of this world,” who is at work behind all governments, institutions, and powers, has been judged by Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Through Jesus, God has been made King and Lord of Creation. Therefore, “giant Jesus” continues to live the Reality that God is King and continually judges the “ruler of this world.”
This is only one passage that depicts God’s work through the community of Jesus’ followers. There are so many more that are as equally captivating to the imagination.
So I would encourage you to take a moment and imagine what our country would be like if the Church in America were actually a living giant version of Jesus. What would that actually look like? How would that change the activities and discussions currently taking place among Jesus’ followers? What hindrances and sins would we need to throw off so we can run this race set before us (Heb 12:1)?