Unquestioned assumptions. We all have them. We simply assume certain things to be true and never question those beliefs.
Like the fact that the sky is blue (do you know why?). How gasoline makes a car run. Why so many things taste like chicken? 🙂
Or John 3:16.
It’s the Bible verse you see on a sign in the end zone in NFL games. And one you are bound to see during the March Madness tournament, if you haven’t already. And if you are reading this blog, I am guessing you heard it dozens of times over the years at church:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16 (NIV)
That is arguably the most famous Bible verse of them all. But have you ever thought about what the key verb is saying? What it means when it says the Father “gave” His Son?
One of my favorite worship songs is Good Good Father. It’s simple chorus is actually quite profound. You’re a good good Father… it’s who You are. And I’m loved by You… it’s who I am.
But here is a tough question: was He a good good Father by what He did in John 3:16?
When it says the Father “gave” His Son, that is talking about the Cross. It’s talking about the fact that Jesus was crucified on a day we now call Good Friday.
So here is a question. It’s a TOUGH question. And I want to ask it in strictly human terms. So put your theology on the shelf for a moment.
Would a “good good father” have his son or daughter killed?
Think about it.
If you are a parent, you know the answer to that question. And the answer is NO WAY.
If anything you’d do the opposite, right? If you are a good mom or a good dad and if someone had to die, you would give up your life for your child in a heartbeat, right? I know I’d give up my life for Faith, Evelyn, or Elizabeth if I had to. And so would Kellie.
That’s what good parents do. And we are far from perfect. So shouldn’t a perfect Father do the same?
And yet, that isn’t what John 3:16 says. It says the opposite. It says the Father “gave” His Son. Which means the Father offered His Son to be sacrificed.
Feeling any theological tension right about now? 🙂
And of course you can say, “Yes, the Father did that to Jesus, but He did it because of His love for US!” Well, that doesn’t sound very loving to Jesus, now does it?
When I chose to write this blog, I decided to raise these questions but leave them unanswered… for now. To invite you to think. To encourage you to love God with your mind. To wrestle with assumptions about the Cross you may have never questioned.
And… to invite you to our new series at The Eastside Vineyard!
This Sunday I am launching a sermon series called Reconsidering the Meaning of the Cross. Now thru Easter Sunday we are going to look at the Cross — and the Empty Tomb — in a unique way. Questioning unquestioned assumptions about some of our core beliefs. With the hope that the answers you learn will help you experience the goodness of the Father heart of God in a way you never have before.
So please join us! Everything kicks off March 26th with my sermon titled The “Wrath” of a “Good” God??? The Eastside Vineyard Church gathers at 10:30am inside Shelby Jr. High (51700 Van Dyke // 2 blocks north of 23 Mile). More info at tevchurch.org
I hope to see you Sunday! And be sure to bring your “thinking caps!”