An early driver for the vision for Redeemer Church is the redeemer himself, particularly Jesus’ incarnation. John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
There are three movements in this short verse. First, Jesus “became flesh.” This means that he left what was comfortable. He left the beautiful satisfying confines of the Trinity to come be our Redeemer. Jesus “became flesh” and thus experientially knows the human experience. He knows what it means to get tired and be tempted to be irritable. Jesus has experienced betrayal. Our Redeemer has been the object of judgmentalism and hatred. He left what was comfortable and became the missionary-God to deliver us from sin and death. He also took upon our human skin meaning he got inside our ways and language and look and culture…all in order to redeem us. Jesus knows what it means to leave what is comfortable.
Second, Jesus “dwelt among us.” He didn’t just come down a fully grown human being, spend a day telling us what to do, then paid for sin, then boogied out as fast as he could. He lived in the mess of human existence for over 30 years?! I am constantly hot and love the A/C, and I am taken aback that he didn’t choose 2013 to incarnate himself. No, he chose a filthy point in history that didn’t even have A/C?! He lived in the heat and mess and the grind of life and relationships. Jesus knows what it means to come and remain and dwell in the mess of human existence.
Third, he “became flesh” and dwelt in such a way that everyone, even into the present, saw “his glory.” He didn’t just hang out and have fun with his friends, but he lived with them in a way that brought glory to God. There was intentionality to his dwelling. There was a point to his hanging and living. Jesus’ dwelling lifestyle pointed others to redemption. Jesus knows what it means to reach out to neighbors and have the hard conversation with a loved one and how to throw a party to get to know people better.
Jesus is our example. I know that no one at Redeemer Church will actually be Jesus for someone or follow his example perfectly, but I pray that we strive to be conformed to his image. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to mold and shape us in a way to live incarnationally. I pray that we all figure out what it means to leave what is comfortable, and dwell, and do it all in a way that brings glory to Jesus. I want us to be more than friends to people. I want us to be the best type of friends to people, the type that points them to Jesus.
We want to be a church that constantly leaves what is comfortable to become missionaries, the type of missionaries that dwell by living and loving those around us, and do it all with the purpose of pointing those around us to the glories of Jesus.