For starters, we think Jesus of Nazareth was one of the greatest teachers who ever lived. The Gospel of Luke records one of Jesus’ first recorded sermons and we are told the people “marveled at the gracious words coming out of his mouth” and that “his words had authority.” We are also impressed with the way Jesus graciously interacted with sinners, offering them things like “living water” and the “bread of life.” He didn’t approve of their sin, but he also didn’t leave them condemned. Instead, he offered them a better kind of life—true life, abundant life, a life of meaning and purpose. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus is described as a servant, not one who came to be served but one who came to give up his life for the sake of others.
But at the end of the day, we think Jesus of Nazareth was more than a great teacher, a nice guy, or a good example to follow. Jesus was sent by God for a very important and necessary mission. Let’s go back to the beginning . . .
At the very beginning of our existence, the one true and living God created a world that was perfect and completely at peace. The ancient Hebrews described it with the word Shalom. The people God created enjoyed relationship with him and all of their needs were perfectly met. And then something tragic happened. An intruder, the great Adversary of God, introduced doubt, confusion and shame into God’s creation. We humans shook our fists at God and demanded our own way. Some call this the Great Rebellion. You can read about it in Genesis 3. After the Great Rebellion, things have never been the way they were intended to be.
Even if you’re not a Bible-reading-kind-of-person, you can look around and see that there is a lot of brokenness, destruction and violence in the world—and yes, even sin. The great Adversary of God continues to bring doubt, confusion and shame to men and women all over the globe.
But there is good news. Jesus of Nazareth was sent by God to begin a large scale restoration project. Jesus is on mission from God to restore Shalom to God’s creation. He does this one person at a time; the Bible calls this New Creation.
Jesus invites men and women to join him in his global restoration project, to bring peace and justice back to the creation—and to remove doubt, confusion and shame. One way to talk about this is to say that Jesus is a King who is bringing a Kingdom. The New Testament calls it a Kingdom of righteousness, joy and peace.
At Southport Pres, our desire is to follow Jesus, the King, and join him in what he is doing to bring God’s creation back to its original design. In fact, we think that joining God in community and cultivating His creation is what makes us fully human—we think it’s why we were created in the first place—and is what fills our lives with meaning, hope, and joy in ways that we could have never imagined.
We hope you will join our community—a community of people, united with Jesus, seeking to bring about the Shalom of God, on earth as it is in heaven. We hope you will join us for multiple conversations, for we didn’t come to these convictions ourselves in just one or two. We hope you’ll ask questions, share doubts, fears, sorrows, all because we believe that in the person and work of Jesus Christ, there is an eternal home to be found, a citizenship in a just and righteous Kingdom of peace, and a promise of hope and joy in this life and in the life eternal.