If you ever live in a men’s dormitory you will notice there is only one thing that is on in the lounge: football. At night the lounge turns into a make-shift NFL stadium with long rows of padded seats filled with the butts of passionate fans – usually wearing jerseys, and hopefully wearing pants. This has all become normal to me; I don’t even bat an eye at it anymore. Even though I’m not really a football guy, I still take a look at the television from time to time. As I walked through the lounge one morning, I was shocked not to see the TV screen displaying oversized men knocking heads – I saw something different. For the first time in months the channel was on a nes channel – the inauguration was on. Guys were crowded around watching our new president take the reins of the nation. As college students, we are in an interesting place in our lives. We are trying to balance classes, clubs, a job, maybe another job, and some of us are still trying to figure out how to do our laundry, yet at the same time we are beginning to concern ourselves with something else: the future. The election cycle has ended, the commercials have stopped, and I don’t have to worry about what excuse I’m going to use this week to miss another debate. Watching our new President take office brought a question into my mind, “How did we get here?” The question was not prompted by a negative or positive emotion, but more of a genuine curiosity. I couldn’t help but think back to a message I heard at BSU given by Rusty Osborne, who gave a message about a pioneer. Lewis and Clark were pioneers in North America. They set into motion the machine that would eat up a continent, and as the dominoes continue to fall, we find ourselves amidst the chain reaction in a place we call 2017.
As I asked myself how we got to the place we were at I thought of the pioneers of our nation, and I couldn’t help but think about the pioneer of our faith: Jesus Christ. In 1804 the Pacific Northwest encountered the hard leather boots of foreigners for the first time when Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark to explore the Louisiana Purchase. Likewise, the world encountered the boots of God for the first time, when God sent his Son to personally meet those who he would purchase in thirty-three years. Jesus set into motion the fulfillment of the Old Testament, while simultaneously capturing the hearts of men, and representing a perfect Christian existence. The path through the world was overgrown with thickets and foliage, his children could not see through the forest, they needed a light, they needed a guide.
The pioneer of our faith has forged a path through deaths forest. Jesus gleaned through the thick branches of legalism, and cleared the path toward a relationship with the Father. He took the hard path for his kids. He came as man, and He came as God – 100% and 100%. Man had to clear the path before him, yet only God could clear the path for him. Jesus came as the God-Man to make the sacrifice only man should make, yet only God could make. Jesus cleared the path for His people, but not without His own struggle.
Jesus became the perfect pioneer because of his suffering. Jesus knew what suffering felt like. He knew suffering on a level his children will never know. His human nature fell prone to batter, but his divine nature made Him incapable of failure. He existed as an undefeatable pugilist – constantly taking punches, yet unable to fall. Christ’s expedition left Him bruised and scarred. The very inhabitants He came to make a home for killed him. Yet, He used His own blood to purchase, not the land, but the people of the land. He came back to reign over His people, and He came back to change their heart and heal His settlement. Christ reigns, Christ atones, and Christ knows the pain His children feel. He is our king, He is our priest, and He is our Pioneer.
September 1806 Lewis and Clark ended their journey. They made it back to Saint Louis and left the Pacific Northwest behind them. The Pioneer of our faith has made it back as well, but one day He will return. Today was a hard day in the settlement: Christians were oppressed, people starved to death, and people are not yet in subjection to Christ. One day Christ will return, our Perfect Pioneer will return, and He will purge the land, and He will bring the New World.
As a college student, sometimes it’s hard to look into the future. Sometimes it takes the TV flipped to the news instead of Monday Night Football to serve as a reminder that the world really isn’t all about me. I caught myself looking at the world like I look at the lounge in my dormitory: I don’t even bat an eye. All day I see people lined up, butts in seats, legs on sidewalks, hands waving at me. Isn’t there more? Shouldn’t I see those people as my brothers and sisters? People to encourage and people to love? I may not be a football guy, but I want to be a Jesus guy. I want to be the different channel. I want to cause someone to stop walking in the lounge of life and ask themselves what the difference might be. I want to make people look toward the future, and toward our coming savior.