John Lennox speaks about the evidence Christians have for their belief in Jesus as Lord...
Thursday, April 02, 2015
"When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased," Luke 3:21 & 22Jesus went to the river to be baptized. During a Jewish baptism, the person being baptized enters on one side of the river or baptismal tank, dips into the water until completely covered to symbolize cleansing and repentance and then stands up and steps out, leaving behind the old way and exiting on the opposite side. When Jesus came out the Holy Spirit, looking like a Dove, landed on Him. Doves are easily startled and will fly off at the slightest provocation. Can you imagine walking around with a dove on your shoulder? How carefully you would move?
And God announced, "You are my Son, whom I love; with You I am well pleased." This is the last thing we are told that God said to Jesus before He was led by the Spirit to go into the wilderness and fast forty days and do battle with the devil. When He emerged triumphant from his duel, Luke tells us that Jesus returned to Galilee "in the power of the Spirit," verse 14. Jesus wasn't feeling tired or run down, He was feeling invigorated and on fire. The Holy Spirit had gone from resting on Him to residing within Him. And He created a stir just by walking past someone because Luke tells us that the news about Jesus spread throughout the land. Jesus had entered into His destiny.
The great overarching theme of the Over the Edge science fiction novels is the human quest to find God, to find meaning and to enter the joy and exhilaration of unity with God in thought and purpose. Many of the characters are representatives of Jesus or types of Jesus. This should not surprise any believer for becoming part of the Body of Christ, living as His representative in the earth is the calling every Christian has on his or her life. Human beings were created to be God's Image Bearers in the earth, to one another, to our families and to the public at large. And Jesus' life, death and resurrection makes this possible again after it was lost during Adam's fall. To be God's Image Bearer is what it means to be "created in the Image of God," Genesis 1:27.
When a person becomes a believer in Jesus as Lord, he goes through a baptism, which the physical ceremony is meant to portray in the material world. He leaves behind his old self, his old way of thinking, his old life and is immersed in Jesus and His death to emerge on the other side in Jesus' resurrection power and live a new life in fellowship and unity with the Lord, Ephesians 4:24. The heroes of Over the Edge portray what this might look like when applied to the situations in which they find themselves. Advanced science and technology might shape how the challenge may look or what means the character has available for dealing with the challenge, but these accoutrements do not change the charge God has given every being created in His Image: be My Image Bearers.
As soon as we begin pursuing our destiny, what Stephen Pressfield calls, "Resistance," or what Christians call, the destroyer or the accuser, will come and test us. Resistance is a fitting name. The first thing Jesus faced after He enjoyed the mountain top experience with God at the river was Resistance. The entire satanic challenge was more than a tempting to turn stones into bread or gain notoriety by flinging Himself off the temple wing, it was a challenge to God's statement, "You are my beloved Son and I am pleased with You." Adam faced this same challenge in the Garden of Eden--will you remember God loves you and is pleased with you, Mr. Adam? Or will you doubt His generosity and goodness as I, ha Satan, the Challenger do? Where Adam failed, Jesus super-abounded in success. He remembered God loved Him, He remembered who He was and came out of the contest invigorated, confirmed and seated in His destiny. Challenges come and are intended to be tools we use in co-operation with God to confirm and seat us, the combatants, in the realization and fullness of the dreams God has set before us, to confirm and fix us in our destiny and in His Grace. Remember that when Resistance comes--and it will come, just as soon as you make even the smallest step toward your destiny and calling.
Believers in Christ--be encouraged. The Holy Spirit, the Power that made Jesus a force to be contended with while He resided here and a Person who transformed the entire fabric of the individuals who encountered Him, the Holy Spirit who empowered Jesus who has changed world systems, this same Holy Spirit has settled on you like a Dove and would reside within you transforming you into a powerhouse for good and glory for God. As Image Bearers of the Most High God, we are called to represent Jesus to everyone around us. Take up the charge and go forward. Failure only means you have an opportunity to learn how to do it better. Victory is assured if you do not forget who you are in Christ, if you do not forget who He is and that this One who created the entire universe and sustains it by His Word, this One loves you and finds you pleasing. He can do this because He has not only died for you, but as you; He not only was raised for you, but was raised as you and has seated you with Him in Heavenly realms. You are His sibling, a joint-heir to all He possess. Do not fear. He loves you more than you can imagine.
It is my hope that you, dear reader, will find inspiration in the Over the Edge stories to stir you up to take on your calling with new vigor. Let's conquer whatever territory lies before us for the Kingdom of God and claim it for Him.