The Cost of Perfection. Real Living, Part 2


The Straw Market in Nassau, Bahamas, can be overwhelming at times. Between the noise, the heat, and the multitude of sellers and their wares, it's hard to know which way to turn. So many of the vendors are so eager to sell their goods that they would sell their mother-in-laws as a bonus, if they could! Everyone has different tactics and different prices, and bargaining is the tool and delight of all merchants. So often, when we asked, "How much?", the answer will be, "$10.00 (or $20, or $50), but I'll sell it to you for $5.00 (or $15, or $35).

One elderly vendor, however, stood up among the raucous. She was smiling all the time, and she seemed totally at peace. Although she welcomed bargaining, she would not utilize the usual technique of most. Her prices were fixed, but also not as high as others.

This is what attracted my wife to this vendor, where she purchased a purse for our niece. As she was personalizing the item in question, I noticed a straw fan embroidered with the following words: "Jesus Saves".

"Are you a Christian" I blundered out.

"Yes I am" she answered proudly. "An' if I'm right, you are too!"

I was astonished. "How do you know?"

She laughed and said "Didn't I see you on public television yesterday?"

"Public Television????"

Oh yes... We had visited a dynamic Baptist church the previous day, and sure enough, there had been a TV crew. Just like a row of four pigeon peas sticks out amongst a pile of pinto beans, I'm sure we hadn't been difficult to notice!

In all reality, followers of Christ always stick out. Is it possible it's because they know how to live life to the fullest? "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10 NIV). Is it possible that Jesus' influence attracts others to you the same way bees are drawn to pollen?

A month later, a Bible text caught my attention and it all made perfect sense: "For the law appoints as high priests men who are weak; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever." (Heb 7:28 NIV)

Jesus was "made perfect forever." In other words Jesus was made more than perfect. How is this possible? How can one become more than perfect when perfectly being perfect? I wondered how this could be. And then I realized that God had never experienced temptation to its fullest extend, nor did He ever experience hopeless death.

I could see the devil rising up in his pride and turning heaven into cahoots by accusing God falsely (Accusation in his specialty. If you don't believe me check Rev 12:10): "You have never done any dirty work (what about creation?). It's so easy to be perfect when being cozy all of the time!" (How often don't we tend to accuse God falsely when disaster hits us? Does the devil's influence rub onto us?)

And that is what Jesus did. He left all the splendours of heaven behind. His worship team was standing back aghast! The inhabitants of other worlds were in shock! What was He doing? Who in their right mind would leave all of this behind to become a poor baby born in a dirty stable full of animal slobber? Yuck!!!

They were even more surprised by His stay on this rebellious planet. He was taunted, mocked, tempted mercilessly by the evil one, abandoned and cruelly crucified to die of a slow death of asphyxiation. Nobody could understand it, even less the devil. "Why would He do such a thing?"

The evil one was horrified when he realized Jesus' plan: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV) It was too late by the time he became conscious that he had been defeated (see Heb 2:14) by his own false accusations!

Indeed, God is willing to do the dirty work, and without a doubt, He is willing to die a cruel hopeless death! But why would He be willing to do such things?

Because of love! God is so vigorously in love with us that He was willing to face all of these horrible sufferings, even death, just for us!

"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!" (Phil 2:6-8 NIV)

This is what made Jesus more than perfect!

"Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him." (Heb 5:8-9 NIV)

"God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering." (Heb 2:10 NIV)

There is a purpose for suffering, as long as we let it draw us closer to God and all of His creation!

And now Jesus is willing to share this perfection: "By one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." (Heb 10:14 NIV)

How does He do that?

"Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted." (Heb 2:18 NIV)

"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." (Heb 4:15-16 NIV)

Real living? It's only possible through our more than perfect Redeemer who willingly shares His perfection with us.

"Are you a Christian?"

"You bet! Jesus is indeed shining through!"

P. S. No one will ever be able to knowingly accuse God any longer! Who else would be willing to suffer a cruel death to save an ungrateful specie of people?

Rob Chaffart

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