Pride and Cowardice
Alex Enabnit – Programming Coordinator
This weekend we started our summer series called “Pixelated” that is all about seeing Jesus within the context of the entire Bible.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “pixelated,” here’s the definition:
Pixelated: of an image on a computer or television screen: made up of a small number of large pixels that produce a picture which is not clear or sharp.
We can see pixelation all around us, but truthfully, the Bible – and even God – can seem pixelated at times. This whole series is dedicated to helping understand the bigger picture of the Bible by looking at an Old Testament passage through the lens of Jesus. In this first week, we looked at a story that is probably very familiar to you: the Tower of Babel.
In this story, we see the whole world under a single language rallying to build a tower in Genesis 11. Their motivation is mentioned in the passage; first, they want to make a name for themselves. Second, they want to avoid being scattered throughout the earth. The problem with this is that it goes against God’s plan for humanity. In Genesis, God wants people to “be fruitful and fill the earth,” a command that is repeated several times in the first few chapters. So God confuses their languages so that they will spread out according to His plan.
We have tendencies like this also. Oftentimes we want to play things safe, staying within our comfort zones, when God is actively telling us to get out of our comfort zones. As Jeremy said in the message, we need to “make friends with the butterflies,” meaning we need to get used to that uncomfortable feeling when doing something God wants us to do, despite our hesitations.
So that’s the Old Testament passage; what does this have to do with Jesus? Reading from John 12, we see a passage where Jesus talks about His death that actually relates to the Tower:
John 12:27 “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”
John 12:32“And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
In other words, Jesus isn’t running from the pain He knows he’s about to experience, because in verse 32 we read that through His sacrifice on the cross, He will draw everybody to himself. Jesus’ death on the cross concludes the scattering that happened at the Tower of Babel; now that the whole earth is filled with people, it is time to gather together around Jesus. He transcends every language, nation, people, or tribe, so that no matter your background, if you follow Jesus then you have something in common with every other follower of Jesus. How cool is that!
Yet many of us still build towers for ourselves, either from fear or pride. Maybe it’s about keeping them out (Muslims, homosexuals, refugees) or maybe it’s about keeping our status protected (salary, car, job performance). But Jesus invites us to join Him around the cross instead, because the cross focuses God’s goodness over the blur of pride and fear.
Verses and quotes from the message:
John 5:39; Genesis 11:1-9; Genesis 1:28; Genesis 9:1; Genesis 9:7; John 12:24; John 12:27; John 12:32; Acts 2:1-4; Revelation 7:9
Big idea: The cross focuses God’s goodness over the blur of pride and fear.
Glory – Phil Wickham
One Thing Remains – Jesus Culture
Jesus Paid it All – Elvina Hall
You Move – Central Music