Jesus, the Last Adam, engaged in an interesting moment after his resurrection that Luke chronicled this in his gospel memoirs in Luke 24:36-45:
“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.”
I find this moment to be powerfully important in a day when too many people think that Jesus is only concerned about the eternals and all this mortal life is just wood for the fires of the afterlife. Jesus chose eating some fish as His convincing proof of being who He said He was. Like any man I know, after a long day’s work, He asks: ‘Is there anything to eat!”. So mundane, so earthy, so, well, humanish. Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Earth, He is the Incarnation, the God-man, the ladder between both worlds. The unifier and sanctifier of our normal lives. He makes the mundane, miraculous! What He touches is made sacred…flesh, womb, family life, work, friendship, walking, conversations, religious gathering attendance and even…eating. The Last Adam picks up where the first Adam, failed. Seeing Jesus in this light, helps us get free from all that funky, fractured fundamentalism that sees people as only ghosts, unembodied souls, floating around waiting for some destination.
I am not saying that eternal life as presented in the gospel isn’t essential, it is, we must be born again, saved from our sins and place our trust in Christ for our full salvation. But I hope we can see, that we also need our understanding about the nature of eternal life expanded too. We have eternal life now and it extends perpetually, that is an issue not only of destination but of quality in the here and now.
We want to see Jesus in the Psalms. We need to ask for the Lord to ‘open our minds to understand’ as well. Ultimately we are all after wisdom. we desire to know who we are in light of who God is. We long to understand our place in the chaos of the cosmos. We want to discover how to live meaningful and fruitful lives, how to give voice to what is inside us and to create a world worth leaving for those we love. We are driven to understand the mysteries of this natural world and the realities of the eternal world.
We want meaningful answers to the big existential questions of the human heart like:
• Who am I?
• What is the meaning of life?
• Is there a God?
• How do I define right and wrong?
• Is there truth?
• Why do people suffer?
But we also want to understand how the truth of the Bible fits into all the small moments of our lives like:
-Raising stubborn kids
-Depression and anxiety
-Choosing the right job
-How to have friendships that last
-Dealing with addictions,
-How to handle our lusts?
-How to manage anger and disappointment?
-What to do with betrayals of trust?
-How to face raising children in the age of terror?
We want a Jesus we can find on the seashore cooking breakfast as well as a faith that can withstand all the rigorous academic realities of university life.
We want to know what to do with our same sex attraction, our gambling habits or our desire to hire a hitman for our crazy ex!
We need to learn how to pray when we feel a million miles away from anything spiritual.
We also need to know how to show up for yet another business meeting when our hearts and minds are drenched in the glory of our morning devotions and we could care less about deadlines, budgets and marketing matters.
Thankfully the Psalms and the other wisdom books are provided for those of us who find ourselves face to face with the mundane more than the miraculous, the frustrating more than the fantastic! For us who seem to have more battle than the victory, panic than peace. We need a spirituality that can stand up to a love life of ‘swipe lefts’ and a prayer book for those more fat, floppy and frigid than fit, firm and frisky!
I challenge you today to take the life you have and give it to God. Pray and sing with the words of your real life with all it’s beauty and beastliness, delight and disappointment, ecstasy and emptiness, raises and overdrafts, the success and the suck.
Gather all that life up and place it on the altar of your unwashed kitchen table, light the incense of a marlboro red, pour out a drink offering of folgers dark and let the jaundice or joyful Psalms pour out of your soul to the Lord. That is the pathway towards wisdom, or at least it’s the first step towards it for people like you and me.
(Selection from my sermon: Created For Creation on Psalm 8. You can listen to it here: http://www.jacobswellspokane.com/?p=976)