Sunday, August 16, 2009

Why Jesus Anyway? - Come On, Does it Really Matter?

I received an email from a fellow that I belong to a Facebook music group with. He basically said, "Why not just worship god-- what's all the noise about Jesus?" This blog is a response to that email. Keep in mind it's hard to answer any theological question without doing one or more of the following.

-1 Agreeing that the Bible is the written and infallible word of God.
-2 Answering the question intellectually. God knows there are a hundred denominations that interpret the Bible differently- or we'd all be the same denomination. The argument would have to be orderly, and pretty persuasive.
-3 God would have to revel himself personally to you.

If you are looking for a treatise on the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus, I suggest that you Google it. There are a lot of writers out there that have far more education then this suburban software geek. If you are looking for the reason that Christians think that the Bible is true, you will encounter hundreds of web pages that will start out like this, "Let's see what the Bible says about itself." But if you are looking for a real God, one that does what He says He is going to do, that I can help you with. You see, without point number 3, the first two are just talk-- most of which you have heard.

My Facebook friend said that I make Jesus sound really cool. I think that that in itself is a testimony to the difference between religion, and relationship with God. The Bible is very clear about who Jesus is-- well if you look into seriously.

Depending on whether you have been in a main stream Christian church, having received any basic teaching-- or have followed a liturgy, are a Muslim, a Jew, an atheist, or participate in some other religion, who you perceive Jesus to be, will vary greatly. Most Muslims regard Him as a prophet, Jews saw him as a great teacher, atheists -- a good man, some the son of God (but not God) and varying other intellectual and hopeful characterizations. Add to that some sort of perception of heaven and hell, and you've got yourself politics on steroids-- umm, I mean religion.

I'd like to start with point 3-- it's the safest ground to be on for dope like me. And, for some perspective, I'd like to toss in one verse because of point one -- well even if it's not true for you-- it's short, humor me. :o)

Revelation 12:11 They overcame him [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb [Jesus] and by the word of their testimony.

Let me give a layman's interpretation. What Jesus does in you and me (if we let Him) is more powerful than any religious debate! If you read the story of the woman at the well, the Garasene demoniac, the woman taken in adultery, or the paralytic who walked, those testimonies changed lives and caused others to believe. Why? Because there was no other explanation. These folks were well known in their villages and towns for either, being sick or sinful. Even if you don't believe any of the Bible stories have even a shred of truth, let me relate the following story from Sunday School well over 40 years ago.

The teacher (my mother with a degree from Yale!) was talking about the Israelites crossing the Red Sea-- "the tide went out" she said. And the story ends with the entire Egyptian Army being drowned to death as the "tide" supposedly came back in. Well, unless you live on the St. John's River at the Bay Fundy, tidal changes are generally a few feet. The closer you get to the equator, the difference between high and low tide is mere inches. Next time you are not too busy, check out a tide chart for the Red Sea. I'm going to go with God making a way for 5,000,000 Jews to walk across the Red Sea on dry land. But I have digressed.

Many of us, even Christians, have a perception of God out there in the sky-- a great spirit that we send our hopes, perceived needs, and wishes to, based on our day-to-day lives. Ask yourself this, how could that ever work on any reliable basis? There has to be some sort of real God that we can touch and relate to, or we are just a clanging religious gong.

I can hear the minds spinning-- but how do we know that the Bible is true, or accurate, or written by God? We test God, that's how. What, you don't think that He is up to the challenge? Maybe empty religion isn't, but the living God -- Jesus is. After all Jesus is the only god out there that is still living. The rest have tombs with bones in them.

The Christians who read this may quibble with my "test God" hypothesis because we are not supposed to test the Lord thy God. But that is for Christians and Jews-- but you read your Bible and knew that any way. I think that if you don't know God, you should do some experimentation. We should have faith in what we have not seen you might say. Hmm... that was Thomas-- and He saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. So what was it that Thomas had not yet seen? God raised someone from the dead in his presence-- came right out of a tomb after a few stinky days dressed in grave clothes!

What we need to have faith in, is the unseen power of God - not the hope that He is out there in some spirit form possibly listening to our desperate requests for help. The 12 apostles turned the known world upside down with power, not just preaching and trying to be persuasive. And if you don't believe in Jesus and His power, I suspect that you have either never had the opportunity to, or seen the power of the His Holy Spirit in action. And if you are a Christian that has never seen a healing, heard a true prophecy, or seen someone delivered from a serious addiction in the twinkling of an eye -- and still believe, than you have a lot more faith than I do!

In the end, it is the testimony of others that persuades us, and then experiencing God first hand that changes us from mere followers of religion (for which there are many), to believers in Jesus Christ who love others, and bear supernatural fruit for the Kingdom of God.

Here is a brief list of blogs that I have written about my experiences with God if you have time to read them.

- Came to Believe
- My Personal Healing
- A Time of Ministry
- Prophetic Word
- God Has a Sense of Humor
- Me and a Car

If you'd prefer a book about this wonderful and awesome power, I suggest you read this one: Like A Mighty Wind - it's cheap (and so am I) and available from Amazon. And while I am suggesting testimonies, here is another by Kathryn Kuhlman. You are never going to come to grips with a real live God until you understand that He is powerful, loving, and not made in the image of man!

If you are looking for my Biblical reasoning for what I believe, that is HERE.


photogr said...

I like this David.

How can we know that the bible is true? There are 1000 prophesies from God and Jesus. Over 500 have come true. that leaves over 400 to still come to pass. That sounds like a good batting average to me. Even beats Nostradamus predictions.

Healing powers. I don't believe that any one was healed by a mere man or woman yet. Not since Jesus gave the power to the Apostles have I witnessed that kind of power, yet I yearn for that gift.

Today I saw a man with a cripling affliction and it was difficult for him to come into the Burger King to eat.It appeared he had this since birth from what I could tell. I felt compassion and I felt an urge to pray for him and to heal him but I resisted that urge for fear of ridicule. I feel I do not have that gift or will ever possess it.

Perhaps I did not have enough faith in God yet to be so bold as to say through God you can be healed. But yet those ( especially children)with afflictions grieves me terribly. My heart goes out to them.Perhaps I sould seek out this K. Kuhlman.

Yes Jesus is God as it is written in scriptures.

Anonymous said...

David, nicely said. We who call ourselves "Christians" often do more damage than good by hitting people over the head with confusing doctrines and irrelevent, ancient rituals. We are not going to convince people that way, and in truth, God is the One who has power to "change hearts", not us. When we follow Jesus, our lives are changed forever in visible, real ways. I guess for me it all boils down that quote (I've no idea who said it or when) "we may be the only Bible that people ever read". Thanks again, David, for sharing His power and His love. Peace.

Tony C said...

I read through this twice. The first time without going to the links. The second time I went to each link...very nicely done.

I struggled with the absolute validity of the modern Bible for a number of years. I couldn't get past the history of King James or the paradox of fallible men writing a perfect text.

Ultimately, I had to break down my imposed barriers of what God could or couldn't do and realize I don't and won't ever completely understand God. That's why He's God.

I think that epiphany was your #3 for me.

Great dialogue David. Very conducive to soul-searching reflection.

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