The 5 Words Jesus Never Said

The funniest statements are often the most profound:

We were having dinner years ago, and laughing and having a good time as a family. My youngest brother got “snarky” about something towards my dad, which I’m sure my dad deserved in part. It was all good family dinner time fun. As a retort to my brother’s witty comment, my dad responded with the 5 funniest words I have ever heard, because they seemed so true:

“Shut up… I made you!”

Which is so funny, because it is so true, and yet so false…

Fast forward 10 years to me on Skype with a student, proctoring a quiz for interim marks, and I see this statement on his T-shirt:

Life isn’t about finding yourself
Life is about creating yourself

How nice that sounds. Go make your own destiny. Be whoever you want to be. You can do it! Follow your dreams!

What a profound lie… what a serpent-eden lie.

2 years ago, I probably would have responded to that statement with a resounding, “Yes!”. i used to say, 10% of life is what happens to you, 90% is how respond. Isn’t this just a restatement of the “Invictus”?

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

Oh how we quote this poem as we march into the depths of Hades, into the pit of Sheol, and we don’t relent. We won’t relent. We can’t relent! And over the radio we start to hear that old familiar tune…

Welcome to the Hotel California
Such a lovely place, Such a lovely place…

What profanity we as humanity speak, and don’t even realize it.

And now The Truth:
My parents didn’t make my little brother… oh sure, they provided the raw potential of the genetic makeup that would ultimately define so much of my brother, but it was just random chance that those genes would combine in the way they did to make up who this person would be… A roll of the dice… a casting of the lot into the lap…

Right? Right?

To quote the profundity (not profanity) of the great doctor who penned the Lorax…

UNLESS

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from Yahweh. – Proverbs 16:33
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. – Psalm 139:13

You can’t create yourself…
You can only find yourself…
or be found by Him…

How far is God willing to go to make us into who He wants us to be?

[Queue suspenseful music – something from Gladiator should do]

Probably the hardest passage in the Bible for happy go lucky, americanized, invictus-quoting church-goers like me is Romans 9. Because I look at it and just see a very terrifying picture of God, and forget to look for Christ. Is Christ in Romans 9?

Let’s go look…

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. – Romans 9:17-24

And we say… what? This can’t be in my Bible! No way is that my God…

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

But yet let’s go back, and ask… where is Christ? Where is our Saviour?

This is not just some distant imperfect god in Olympus playing a twisted board game of Risk with us little people. Who made you? Who formed you into who you are oh clay?

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. – Hebrews 1:1,2

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. – John 1:1-3

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. – Colossians 1:15-17

So who made you a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath?

Jesus Christ our Lord

Now before you lose your faith completely… look deeper. Go further up and further in. God also made the physical body of Jesus. Jesus has always existed, but not in the flesh. Here is a questions worth asking:

Jesus Christ born of the virgin Mary… vessel of wrath or vessel of mercy?

Remember that old english word… propitiation?

Propitiation means the turning away of wrath by an offering. Propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness – Romans 3:23-25

So who was Jesus Christ? If ever there was a vessel prepared for wrath, before the creation of the world, it was Jesus Christ:

knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
– 1 Peter 1:18-20

All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the beast], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.
– Revelation 13:8

So this scary God of Romans 9, is the same God who poured out his wrath on His own Son, not holding out anything back.

Every lustful thought, every angry word, every curse against God, every proud Invictus moment of my life, every time I lost my patience and yelled at my kids, every moment of unbelief, every lack of trust, all of my past, present and future sin was imputed to Jesus. God didn’t spare one drop of the righteous anger that I justly deserved when He poured out his full cup of wrath on Jesus Christ.

But it doesn’t stop there…

Ever wonder what this means?

What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?
– Romans 9:22

Imagine Jesus staring into the eyes of the Pontius Pilate as he said, “I wash my hands…” and then staring out at the crowds of people shouting “crucify him! crucify him!” and looking into the eyes of the soldiers as they pounded the nails through his flesh into the cross, and hearing the jeering words “come down, if you really are who you say you are!”

And here He is looking at the clay that He himself had formed… and not just any clay…

The clay that He had parted the red sea for…
The clay that He provided manna and quail for…
The clay that He provided a serpent on a pole to heal them…
The clay that He gave a promised land to…
The clay that had upheld with the word of his power time and time again, and…
The clay that waved palm branches and then 5 days later shouted…

“Crucify Him!”

Or have we forgotten that Christ is in the old testament as well… His name is Yahweh.

And what did Christ do?

He ENDURED
with MUCH PATIENCE

Why Jesus? Why did you not utter those 5 words, that you only have the right to utter?

“who are you, O man…”
“who are you, oh clay..”
“who are you, thing molded..”

“Shut up, I made you…”

Why did he not? Read again verse 23 and 24:

And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory, even us, whom He also called, not from among Jews only, but also from among Gentiles. – Romans 9:23,24

Even us? Even me? Gentile? Proud? Sinner?

So there is only one question left to ask.

Who am I?

for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
– Romans 9:11-13 (emphasis added)

So let’s ask the question… who am I?

Am I Jacob? Or am I Esau?

What does it mean to be loved by God? Go back just a few verses to the most amazing promise in the Bible:

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (emphasis added)

Why is Paul convinced? Do you want to be convinced like Paul is convinced? Do you think it is just plain coincidence that this promise is sandwiched between Romans 8:29 and Romans 9? Paul wants to convince us.

You can be convinced as well, if you would take that last bastion of self-ness, our will, our thoughts, our paths, our ways, our directions… and give it up… surrender it to God:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
– Proverbs 3:5-6 (emphasis added)

I think therefore I am? I think not…
He spoke, therefore I am…

Jacob or Esau?

If you are Jacob, there is but one response:

EUCHARISTEO

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One thought on “The 5 Words Jesus Never Said

  1. Maybe I don’t know enough about the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism theology, but is this really a coming out? I love the gospel in this post. And I love that you don’t shy away from the difficult passages, like Jacob and Esau.
    Here’s a thought – after we were reflecting on the Lamb of God in Scripture during Easter service – Jacob and Esau came to mind. It’s not explicitly a lamb, but a wooly quadruped’s skin covered Jacob’s arms when he went to see his father for the blessing. Where is Jesus? … perhaps?

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