|Down to the River of God|
Many of us see Christianity in an anthropological sense being created or founded or expanded by a religious leader, whether Jesus or Paul. The amazing uniqueness about Christianity was that it was not initiated from human effort ie Jesus came from a virgin birth being the Son of God. It was not human becoming/ascending to be God, but God being incarnated in human form.
Jesus deliberately located His church not in a major city, or populated area. In the modern context, it would be locating the church out in the hills where it would take some effort to reach and not near any public transport. Often, we have to seek God, to go down river to pray and seek the presence of God. It is a often journey where we loose ourselves and all that we have that God becomes central again. In the high mountains and the desert places, in the emptiness of life, we can see God.
The claim by Jesus that He was God and in the beginning was with God is unique amongst all religions because it could be easily challenged during Jesus' ministry on earth. Jesus verified His standing by amazing acts of miracles on a regular basis when hitherto the Prophets only had few incidents of the miraculous. But Jesus was doing it day and night resulting in people coming far out into the desert to seek Him.
No one in his right mind would claim that he was God because it could be easily disputed. When John was in jail near in the end of his ministry knowing that the end is near, he needed reassurance and comfort that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God. He sent out his disciples to verify the claims and the reply from Jesus was:-
Mat 11: 4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. 6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
This Gospel of the good news of the Salvation in Christ alone was later expanded by Paul and was again unique in a religious world where you have to give a big sacrifice or be 100% obedient by the religious laws for having any chance of reaching heaven ie a saint, and even that is not guaranteed.
The Gospel message was simple, based not on our human efforts and works, but simple faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus and this would have offended many. It takes all the doing away from us, and puts it all on a one time event at the Cross of Calvary.
In the midst of many religious faiths worshipping other deities, Jesus proclaimed He was the light of God in heaven amidst the darkness of the land where literally gods were created and worship by mankind after their own making or after the deities in the spirit world where many commune with. Jesus was the light, the way and the truth to God, and this was very offensive even to the Jews.
When Jesus died at the Cross of Calvary, the religious leaders of the land would have been so glad because Jesus had increadible credibility and brought heaven to earth. He had connected the dots from earth to heaven, whilst they were preaching a judgement day in heaven for the judgement of their sins.
However, heaven was not on earth, and Jesus had to die. His death and "mortal" remains would have invalidated the message because it showed Jesus to be mortal and His claim to be God a lie. The resurrection of Jesus with an empty tomb was so important because it was the final affirmation of Him as the Son of God and that we too, in Christ, will return to heaven when we die.
Jesus left spiritual portals to heaven with the promise at the end of time to come back, got many religious folks very worried because they had put Jesus to the Cross. There was no tomb or relic to worship, no remains and no descendents to take on the leadership role. The only remains were an empty Cross and an empty tomb, and the promise of a return.
Jesus left the possibility of spiritual portals connecting heaven, the rivers of grace from the throne room of God. We can call on the name of Jesus in the spiritual realm and enter this river of grace by faith in His completed works at Calvary. He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us and to guide us in our spiritual journey.
The river of grace is not necesarrily at the church or at St. Pauls at the Vatican. The move of the Holy Spirit of where He will appear is not determined by us. We are to desire the presence of God, and that presence can come where we are when we exalt the name of Jesus above all names, and come into a rest at the finished work of the Cross and not struggle on.
Be at rest and be blessed, be at rest in the rivers of grace where the abudance of life and spirit flows. The work at the Cross is finished. We are in Christ, and are His beloved. It is His faithfullness that matters not ours. It is His grace and mercy and love that breaks through our deepest darkness when life is but a raging storm.
Our part is to step into the river of God and to begin dancing and rejoicing again, for the presence of God is here for healing, revival and abundance of life.