Inspired by Galatians 1:11-24
“For I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel that was proclaimed by me is not of human origin; for I did not receive it from a human source, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:11-12 (NRSV)
Sometimes it seems as though the Christian message is constantly under attack. Those who don’t believe in Christ point out how biblical claims can be followed to extreme and ridiculous conclusions, hoping to discredit the gospel and those who proclaim it.
For example, if one were to take the Sermon on the Mount literally and apply it universally, everyone who had an angry thought against another person would be as guilty as a murderer and everyone who had a lustful thought towards another would be as guilty as an adulterer. Jesus’ commands to turn the other cheek and give to everyone who asks would dismantle every nation’s military as well as the world economy. This does seem extreme and ridiculous.
But is it really? The world today is full of people cultivating angry thoughts against others, and many of them act on those thoughts. People tear each other down and make themselves feel better by watching others suffer pain and humiliation. The world today is full of people who objectify others. Sex has become a commodity to be bought and sold, and individuals are reduced to nothing more than means of sexual gratification.
Standing militaries assume the existence of people who are committing such heinous crimes against others that they must be utterly destroyed. The world economy is based on the assumption that there are not enough resources for everyone, and only those with money can be secure. These assumptions make sense in the world in which we live.
But the gospel proclaims a different world altogether. The gospel assumes the best of humanity, where anger isn’t nurtured, people aren’t objectified, crimes against humanity aren’t committed, and everyone has enough to meet their needs. This is not the world we live in. This is not a world we can accomplish on our own. But this is the world that God envisions for us, and this is the world that Christ can make possible.
Those who attack the gospel attack it from a human perspective, but our gospel is not of human origin. Humans have such limited vision, but with God, all things are possible.
Let us pray. Omnipotent God, you desire a better life for us than we can envision for ourselves. Help us to live up to your expectations, that we may enjoy the peace and security that is your will. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.