Jesus never tries to convince us of the existence of God. What Jesus is concerned with, what Jesus consistently tries to convince us of is not the existence of God. What Jesus consistently tries to convince us of is the need for God. For you who are well, Jesus says, for you are healthy, holy, righteous, self-satisfied, for you who are getting on with the business of living, for you, Jesus says, I have very little to offer. But for you who are sick, diseased, crippled, anxious, lonely, fearful, troubled, heavy-laden, blind, deaf, mute, (am I forgetting anyone?) for you, Jesus says, I have your medicine. “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.”But unlike visiting a physician, Jesus is not talking about putting a Band-Aid on your booboo. Jesus is not talking about sewing patches on torn garments, or pouring new wine into worn-out wineskins. Jesus is not talking about twisting yourself into a pretzel through prayer and fasting so that God will come out of hiding and bind up your wounds. Jesus is talking about new garments, new wine in new wineskins. Jesus is talking a about brand new life. In another place, Jesus says, we are born again.
But if we are going to be born again, we all know what has to happen. If we are going to be born again, first of all, we have to die. And none of us want to die. If I die, I won’t be me. If I die, I won’t exist. I may not like myself, or even certain aspects of myself, but I’d rather live this way, than not be me at all!
Jesus knows it won’t be easy. But Jesus assures us that though we are dust and it is to dust we shall return, death is not the end. When we die, literally or spiritually, it’s not that we lose ourselves, or, become someone we are not, or, even cease to exist. To the contrary, when we die, we awaken to find that we have in fact become more ourselves than ever before. I will be more me, and you, you will be more you than you ever thought possible. A brand new life; abundant life. And all because we recognized our need for God in this one. Amen.
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