Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come,your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
In a recent sermon I discussed how the gospel of Jesus speaks into and relates to the tragedies of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the 5 Dallas police officers killed. In an effort to help others form a gospel-centered perspective I have included the points of the message below.
Jesus knows about suffering
… so we can go to him when are in the midst of suffering both personally and culturally.
1 Peter 3:18
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,
But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
Jesus knows about racial tension
… so we can look to him when struggling with questions of race and grace.
John 4 – The Samaritan Woman
Luke 10:25-37 – The Good Samaritan
Galatians 2:11-14 – Racism in Galatia
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. 12 For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. 13 And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. 14But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
Jesus knows about being wrongfully treated
… so we can cling to him when we are treated wrongfully trusting that his kingdom will bring perfect justice one day.
1 Peter 2:21-24
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Jesus knows about shocking tragedies
… so we can lean on his power and leadership when our earthly leadership fails to provide satisfactory answers with eternally minded perspectives.
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus knows how to show mercy and he knows the penalty for sin
… so we can show mercy to those who have wronged us because Jesus shows mercy to us in our rebellion.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus knows about living in a wicked world
… so we can navigate this broken world with an eye looking toward God’s perfect kingdom that has broken into this world and is manifest through the Spirit of God in us.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.
Jesus knows about dying at the hands of wicked people
Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
Jesus knows about the glories of heaven
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
The gospel speaks to suffering saints and also to a weary world—and the message is one of hope. The hope of forgiveness for our sins. The hope of eternal life with God. The hope of escaping our just punishment for our sin and being given what we didn’t earn in Christ. The hope that in a wicked world, we can actually be the humble righteousness of God in Christ and messengers of his Kingdom in the midst of pain and tragedy.
What do we do now?
We pray for those in authority to embrace Christ and become filled with God’s wisdom and faith in Christ.
1 Timothy 2:1-2
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
We take personal responsibility to live out the principles found in God’s word, always beginning and being rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
We are people of God’s kingdom
He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.
- You, the people of God, have the very power of God in you. Part of God’s deity lives in you.
- You have the power to do justice, not with a sword, but the word of God. You have the power to bring justice with love because Christ lovingly showed us the way when he gave his own life for us. He gave us forgiveness and opened doors of relationship with God by laying down his life. I will lay down my life for this cause in this life.
- You, the people of God, have the eternal wellspring of love and kindness within you. You are not imprisoned to using words of hatred and division. You have the power of God in you to return kindness for slight. You have the power of God within you to build up while those around us tear down.
- You, the people of God, have the ability to walk with humility like our savior because he lives in you.
- You, the people of God, have the presence of God within you to speak life, love, and liberty into family life, community development, business, art, education, law, and politics.