June 15, 2010

Touchdown Jesus Burns to the Ground

If your church has an extra $250,000 sitting around doing no good, you can use it to build yourself a sweet six-story statue of Jesus that makes Him look like a football referee. Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio, had one of these, built to inspire drivers along Interstate 75 just north of Cincinnati. This colossus was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame and on Monday it was hit by lightning and burned to the ground. The steel frame is all that is left.

So, how should we interpret it when God in His wisdom ordains lightening to burn down your expensive giant Jesus statue? I'm sure that people have different theories.

Perhaps God did not want to be represented as something that I would be inescapably tempted to kick a field goal through.  Or perhaps God is trying to send a subtle message that there are better uses for a quarter of a million dollars. It's hard to say.

If I were an atheist I would find it very deliciously ironic and satisfying that "God" choose to burn down His own statue. Seriously, if there is a God, how could he choose to dishonor himself like that?

This isn't an explanation, but here is a thought: God the Father didn't treat this statue of His Son any worse than He treated His real Son.

God the Father "did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all" (Romans 8:32). Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would be "stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4). Although He was innocent, "Yet it was the Lord's will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer" (Isaiah 53:10). We, as sinners, are the ones who have rebelled and like sheep have gone astray, but "the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).

This is not "divine child abuse." Although God the Father delivered up the Son, Jesus also did this willingly (John 10:17-18). Yet the Bible states "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith" (Romans 3:23-25 ESV). A propitiation is a sacrifice that satisfies and absorbs the righteous wrath of God against sin. God treated His Son as a sinner so that He could treat sinners as His sons.

The state of the Son was struck by lightning. The real Son was struck by the wrath of God, for our salvation.

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