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Jun 23, 2019

Clothed in Christ

Clothed in Christ

Passage: Luke 8:26-39

Speaker: Chris Schaefer

Series: All

Category: All

Naked, alone, shackled and bound! Breaking those shackles only to be driven by his demons into the wild! No home of his own to rest, to find peace. Not even remembering his own name because he had lost his own identity and could only identify himself by the name of his demons. Living among the dead because he was dead to any sense of life. So naked, so vulnerable, so lost, so broken, so alone!

Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee to get to this man.  Jesus comes to him. And as soon as Jesus gets out of the boat, this naked, vulnerable, broken man meets Him.  He falls to his knees before Jesus. In all his nakedness, in all his brokenness, completely vulnerable, this man offers himself to Jesus. It is to this that Jesus has come. It is to the vulnerable, the broken, the alone, and the lost that Jesus brings the good news. To us! Jesus has gone so far out of His way just to get to this man. To seek him out. To meet him among the tombs and demons that are his life. 

Jesus continues to go out of His way to come to us too. He comes to us as we are and always loving who we are. He didn’t ask the man to go away and clean up his act and come back later, Jesus took him for who he was and healed him.

Having been healed, this once naked and vulnerable man sits at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind. He knows love. He knows he is no longer alone. Jesus has sought him out to heal him, to love him. This man didn’t heals himself.  He didn’t do anything to deserve it. He simply went to his knees before Jesus in all his nakedness and vulnerability.

Henri Nouwen says it beautifully, “Jesus wants us to receive the love he offers.  He wants nothing more than that we allow him to love us and enjoy his love. This is so hard since we always feel that we have to deserve the love offered to us.  But Jesus wants to offer that love to us not because we earned it but because he has decided to love us independently of any effort on our side.”

The man that sat at the feet of Jesus, sits in Jesus’ presence now knowing the love that Jesus had come to offer him. He was naked and vulnerable and has been made new by Jesus. He is new, baptized into a new life. Without even the use of water, this man was truly been “baptized into Christ” by Jesus Christ himself.  He was baptized in Christ and has clothed himself with Christ. 

How is it then that we too are baptized into Christ and have clothed ourselves with Christ? 

Think of your favorite old shirt, pair of comfy pants, sweatshirt or that robe or blanket you just can’t get rid of? The piece of clothing you put on when you just feel really crummy. How does it make you feel? Comforted? Secure? I would guess it makes you feel better. This is what being clothed with Christ feels like. 

We are naked and vulnerable before Jesus. The love that Jesus offers us, surrounds us. We can sink into Jesus spiritually just like we sink into that favorite robe, sweatshirt or blanket. 

We are made new!  How do you feel when you put on a new outfit? That brand-new dress or suit? Especially after you feel all nice and clean after a good shower? You feel new and special! So too do we feel new and special when we move into a new relationship with Christ when we clothe ourselves with Him.

As we are clothed in Christ, we are all one in Christ.  We are Children of God in faith. “We are no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female” as Paul says. When we are clothed in Christ, we put on the same clothes.  We all kneel before Jesus naked and vulnerable. We are clothed with Jesus whether we look different on the outside or not because we all started out naked before we were baptized. Whether our baptism was many years ago or just a few months ago, we must continually be vulnerable before Jesus.

And how can we be vulnerable before others? How can our love for each other flow from the love we receive from Jesus when we are clothed in him? 

Differences in our gender, ethnicity, race, or socio-economic position does not magically change simply because we have all been clothed with Christ. But it does mean that all those things are secondary. It means that we are to look at what is first and foremost! That “all of you are one in Jesus Christ” as Paul says. There are no exclusions here. Not where you are from, or who you love, or where you went to school, or where you live or work, or where you worship or even if you are democrat or republican.

Today, we hear so much about our different traditions throughout the Christian Church. Traditional vs Evangelical vs you name it! We need to see that all of us are clothed with Christ. Now sometimes that is hard, I know. But we must work hard to see the Christ in each other whether we agree with their politics or the church they worship in.  

A man walked into a Presbyterian church and sat in the front pew.  When the congregation stood to sing, he lifted both his arms high into the air and swayed.  When the pastor prayed, the man was nodding his head, raised the palm of his hand to the heavens and mumbled loudly. No one knew what to think. Finally, one of the elders walks down the aisle and says, “Mister, what is your problem?” “Problem”, he says, “I don’t have a problem. I’ve just got the Holy Spirit, that’s all”. The elder looks at him and says “Well, you certainly didn’t get it here!” 

 What do we get here?

Do we get that we are clothed in Christ? Or do we see ourselves as broken and lost among the tombs and demons of our lives?

We can receive the love that Jesus offers us. We can come before Jesus naked and vulnerable, knowing that no matter who we are that we are loved. Knowing that Jesus goes out of his way to come us offering a love that we can be clothed in!  That we can sink into. Living into a new relationship with Him.

Do we see each other first and foremost as the same in Christ?  

We can take the love that Jesus gives and let it flow from us to each other.  No matter who “the other” is. Realizing that we are all one in Jesus Christ. That we are Children of God. 

Amen

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash