Before anyone knew

God brought all things

  • Scripture tells us that God the Father brought all things into being … Before anyone knew anything about the big bang, how atoms collided and light burst forth through dark space and eventually water formed and plant life and animals and eventually human beings evolved into being… Before we had Darwin or Einstein… poets centuries ago looked out over the grass and the blue sky and the gentle wind and wrote down a story of how it all came into being and that scriptural account of how God brought all things into being just so happens to correspond pretty well with what science has revealed for us…

    In our scripture… we hear that God first made

    Our scripture tells us that God the Father brought all these things into being.

    So today in our scripture, we find the disciples standing around wondering if Jesus, the Son, could give them a glimpse of this awesome Creator God…. Since they are so close to Jesus, who is the Son of God, maybe he could show them something of the Father, the Creator…

    Jesus is a bit exasperated by their request and explains that he doesn’t need to part the clouds and show them God’s smiling face in the sky. Jesus explains that God, the Father, speaks through him and…. God, the Father, works through him. So, he tells them that if they hear his words and see his works they are hearing and seeing God, the Father.

    So what does Jesus say and what does Jesus do that reveals the true nature of God? What do we know of God through Jesus?

    Much like in our modern day, during Jesus’ time, people ran after fame, power, money, and status. People also believed quite strongly that if you did not have power, status, and money then it must be your fault.

    The gods brought a drought and you lost your vineyard and all your money. You must have done something wrong to offend the gods. Your fault.
    You are sick… then you must have done something to deserve it. Your fault.

    In this culture people thought that it was a waste of time to do anything for those who were at the bottom. This meant that widows and orphans and those who were disabled were left to fend for themselves. No soup kitchens, no food pantries, no shelters, no wheelchairs.

    In this setting, in this culture, one of Jesus’ most central messages was that God, our Creator, does not actually care about the status, power, and fame of this world… God only cares about whether or not you have loved one another. He tells his followers that among all the rules in the Bible, the two most important rules are: to love God and love your neighbor.

    Then he tells this story of the Good Samaritan. A man is injured on the side of the road and some people who could help him walk past him, but a Samaritan, an outcast, a low status person stops for the man and goes above and beyond to help save the man’s life. Now we use “good Samaritan” as a phrase in our common language to describe someone who is doing good things for those in need. This is a familiar concept to us because of what Jesus said.

    So, what do we learn about God, the Father, from Jesus’ words and teaching?

    We learn that God values love above all else. We learn that the God who brought creation into being loves us and wants us to love one another above all else.

    This was such a counter cultural message that it actually turned some people away…

    So Jesus says to us today, if you can’t believe because of the words God speaks through me… if you can’t believe because of the message I have been preaching over and over again about how much God loves you and wants you to love others… then believe because of the works God does through me.

    So what are the works that God does through Jesus? What do we learn about God through what Jesus does?

    Scripture tells us that Jesus performs many signs and wonders and if you look at these signs and wonders, there is a thread of intense compassion throughout all of them. Among many other works,

    Jesus heals a blind man who is begging at the side of the road, a man who has been forgotten, ignored and taunted.

    He multiplies loaves and fish to feed the hungry crowds of people who have gathered to hear him speak.

    When his disciples wake him up for fear of a terrible storm that is rocking their boat, he immediately calms the storm.

    God works through Jesus to alleviate suffering, to feed hungry bodies and hungry souls, and to alleviate fear and worry.
    None of what Jesus does is for status or power or money. Instead, God worked through Jesus to provide compassion again and again. Jesus says, if you cannot believe when I tell you God loves you and wants you to love others then believe when I show you God’s abundant compassion, mercy, and love.

    Look at my works and see how much the Father loves you.

    Jesus then goes on to tell the disciples and all those who gathered that whoever believes will also “do the works that I do.”

    What does that mean? It means that God works through us also! So just like we can know God the Father by looking at Jesus’ works, others can come to know God the Father by watching what believers do….

    Jesus is telling us here that when we believe, God the Father, who brought forth light, evolved colliding atoms into a complex human mind and a simple blade of grass… When we believe, God the Father and creator of all works through us. And he works through us not for status or power, but to increase love in the world he created. He works through us to bring compassion to a hurting world. Our God wants to work through us to show people that they are loved, that they belong, and that God is a God of mercy and compassion no matter what.

    I don’t know about you but I don’t always feel like God is working through me… sometimes I feel like something else is working through me… but definitely not God’s compassion.. So sometimes I hear messages like this and I think I need to go out and put in another couple days at the food pantry… That might be where God is leading you, which is great… But that is not exactly Jesus’ invitation in this scripture today…

    Today I think Jesus is asking us: In your every day life are you aware, believers, that God wants to work compassion and mercy through you.

    When you are in line at the grocery… stuck in traffic… watching your kid play sports… waiting for your doctor who is now running 30 minutes late…. Sweeping or making dinner at home

    Wherever you are, are you aware that God wants to work his compassion through you for the people around you… ?

    And by definition we are really not going to do this well or perfectly 100% of the time… we are imperfect humans… I heard one pastor say recently that sometimes its really about how you recover when you have treated someone poorly …it’s about how you allow God to flow through you after that sin…

    I want to say that it is also about God’s desire to bring about His compassion through us despite us… Yes we don’t get it right 100% of the time, but that does not deter God… God the Father who brought all of this beauty into being wants to work through us despite us… and have you ever had that experience… I know that I have… there are Sundays when I am tired or I’m going through something and I just have to stand back and thank God for working through me, because that for sure was not me just there…

    If you have been a believer for a long time, you have had this experience and for those who are newer to faith… this is something that you will experience… this incredible work of God to bring compassion to the hurting even when you are running on empty or you have bitterness in your heart…

    God the Father, creator of all spoke and worked powerfully through Jesus and Jesus’ message for us today is that he also wants to work through each of us to bring love and compassion to His hurting creation.

    So, wherever you are in your life and throughout your day, invite God to work through you, follow God prompting, and know that God will work powerfully through you despite you to offer compassion and love to those around you...