The media has been all abuzz the past week over the shooting death of Trayon Martin. Those who embrace the media spotlight have given their opinions and have tried to call attention to a variety of issues. Unfortunately, this young man's death will now become a media circus rather than a flash point of change in our culture. Rather than be another pundit to give my two cents' worth, I found one vibrant topic in all of this: The Hoodie. There was a Million Hoodie March and Hoodie Sunday in some churches yesterday and the Miami Heat took a team photo with all of the players wearing hoodies. This one piece of garment has become an object lesson - Some would say it is an object lesson in bias and how people wearing hoodies are misjudged. Others would say it is an object lesson that shows if you look like a gansta, don't be shocked when you are treated like a gangsta. The rhetoric is becoming heated and will probably get much less civil in the next few days and weeks. However, on a national scale we are seeing an object lesson on safety, trust and truth.
On a much smaller scale, our church had an object lesson on Sunday evening. Steve and Janie Sue Wertheim from Jews for Jesus presented the "Christ in the Passover" to our congregation. The Passover Meal is an object lesson God gave His people to help them understand and trust Him more. Perhaps the most vivid object lesson for us was the eating of the horseradish "sandwich" made with matzo. Last night at bedtime, I could still taste the horseradish because I am not used to such hot food. This taught us that we should remember the pain and tears of slavery. However the afikomen is perhaps the most powerful object of the entire meal. It is the piece of matzo that is broken, wrapped in white linen, then hidden for a time. The children then try to find the afikomen and redeem it for a prize. Jesus was broken for our sins, wrapped in white burial linen, buried for a short time and then redeemed for us. When we have the Lord's Supper, Jesus tells us to remember Him whenever we have this ordinance. It is an object lesson to remind us of the price which was paid for our redemption from sin.
In Romans 5:8, God tells us of the greatest object lesson every given to mankind. This passage says "God demonstrated His own love for us in this way; while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Those outside the church wonder why we have crosses in our church, wear crosses around our necks and make such a big deal about the cross. The cross is an object lesson of God's love for us. While we were turning our backs on God, God was busy turning His heart towards us. The cross is a reminder that Jesus became sin so that we might become the righteousness of God. Without the cross, there is no salvation. No one is good enough nor righteous enough to earn a spot in Heaven. We all come to salvation in the same way: Receiving God's gift of eternal life in Jesus. The cross become an object lesson of what only God can do and has done.
This same Jesus expects those who purport to be His followers to be object lessons to the rest of the world. He tells us in Matthew to "let you light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father which is in Heaven." We become an object lesson, not by wearing a cross or a hoodie with catchy Jesus sayings on them. We become an object lesson by allowing Jesus to invade every aspect of our lives and slowly change us to mirror His love, dedication and peace. A classic hymn reminds us "They will know we are Christians by our love." America today is in desperate need of that which only Jesus can provide. The Church has lost a hearing because the Church would rather imitate the world than Jesus. But when we follow Jesus, the world takes note (Just like in Acts 4:13 which says of the disciples "They took note that these men had been with Jesus"). What kind of object lesson are you showing to the world today?