[Originally posted on January 22, 2014]
By Jacob Toman
In Luke 19:47 the tension between the religious leaders of the day and Jesus is at the boiling point. Jesus had not only gone around the countryside of Israel teaching, healing, preaching, and pointing the people back to God-but now he was in Jerusalem, in the temple courts-in the seat of the political power for the religious leaders. For all the scheming, hatred, and plotting, we are told in Luke 19:48 that the leaders couldn't kill Jesus "Because all the people hung on his words".
This Jesus leaves no room for debate-either he is the antithesis of what you consider human, or he is the epitome of what you consider human. Either he is the total sum of all that is offensive, arrogant, obnoxious and deceptive, or he is the beautiful savior that rules daily with your every need in mind. This Jesus that the Pharisees hated is the same Jesus that calls to all who are weary and promises rest. Do you desire rest? Rest from your hurts, troubles, pains, sorrows? Do you desire escape from the tragedy of your life? Do you hope to forget the past, leave the present and accept a brighter tomorrow? Do you desire to be at peace with the governing authority of this very real universe?
The people hung onto Jesus' words. In our movement today of Christians entering into the gospel mission field of the gaming community, I wonder if perhaps we have swung a bit far on the pendulum. Are we more excited about our gaming, than our gospel? Is the Jesus we worship in our work and rest the Jesus that we cannot live without? Is he the ruler of the universe, the destroyer of death, the conqueror of sin? Or is this Jesus that we proclaim a "Bro" that we can get along with? A father figure to imagine and replace our own broken memories of home? Is this Jesus a savior, or a Saver? Is he the picture we desire to be painted, or is he just a screenshot to be tweeted and forgotten?
I know in my own life I have the privilege and responsibility reaching the church with the message that Christ is the one who delights in our rest-the message that God made man on the 6th day and then provided rest on the 7th day (Genesis 1:31-2:3)-Mankind didn't have to work very long before God in his grace provided rest for his people. The joy of sharing the potential gaming has in the life of the human is a great one, and I take it seriously as my calling to educate the church about gaming and the gamer community. But my passion, and our passion as a movement must be balanced with remembering that it is Christ who died on the cross, Christ who rose from the grave, and Christ who charged his people with the command to "Go and make disciples" (Matthew 28:19).
In our lives, are we more focused on our freedom to enjoy gaming, or are we more focused on the one who gives us that freedom? Do you identify yourself more by the recreation you enjoy, or the one who enjoyed recreating you? Let's hang onto the words of Jesus with more ferocity, passion, commitment, joy, and love, than our hobbies. Let's remember as we work the mission field of gaming, that it is Christ who has called us, sent us, and enables us to do all things for his glory.