Today we start a new Sunday Series. This series is an important one because our culture has become more and more pluralistic. Those of us wo follow Jesus do believe that Jesus is the Way, which does imply there people who need to know why we believe that. This series will use a handful of books on who Jesus is and how we can show people Jesus Christ as the only true Savior. Are your ready? Let’s begin. As we get into this, I am looking for feedback and comments. If you have a question, please post it here also.
There are constant questions about what is true, how to defend truth, and how to share Jesus in a culture that appears to be intolerant toward Jesus Christ. This means we will all benefit from a proper understand of Jesus.
Foundations – Where to start
Who is Jesus really and how He is marketed, so to speak, are often two very different things. This comes down to a quest for truth and our response to it. Of course, people are asking the question, ” What difference does it make what you believe?”
This leads to a variety of conclusions, depending on your answer. Eastern religions have become more popular and worldviews are being shaped by feelings and ideas, but not truth.
“If, when I am sleeping, I am a man dreaming I am a butterfly, how do I know that when I am awake I am not a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?” – Chinese philosopher (from Ravi Zacaharias’ book “Why Jesus?”)
With ideas like that, we are moving further from absolutes and more toward relativism. As a Christian person, we need to know how to answer these claims, not by winning arguments per say, but by understanding who the real Jesus is, following Him, and letting Him direct our thoughts about life.
This whole thing became very clear to me when I talked with a friend of mine who had given up on Jesus Christ. I asked him what happened and this is what he said:
“I had too many questions about God that I couldn’t answer objectively because I was always afraid of the consequences of those answers. Whether it was related to the accuracy of the Bible or the doctrine of predestination. I wrestled with that stuff for a while. So I decided I would look at those questions objectively without the assumption of God influencing how I perceived everything. I started reading a lot, atheist books, new age-ish books with a touch of science, and Christian apologetics. I wanted to see if I would come back to the conclusion of Christianity. I didn’t find much historical backing for biblical stories and I found that there was a lot of contradictions. I didn’t want to believe in Christianity for their sake or for the fear of hell. I didn’t have many other good reasons so I stopped believing.”
This illustrates well our culture today. If people don’t like the answer, they just look elsewhere. Yet, the truth is right in front of them. If someone looks for truth, the conclusion is always the same. If they look at who Jesus really is, there is never a variation in that yet, so many will just ignore that because either they don’t know, or don’t care or both.
The Irony of Truth – It is always truth
In John 18, Pilate is having an interaction with Jesus. He is on a quest for truth.
“Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.” – John 18:33-38
Pilate wants to figure out who Jesus is. Jesus answers his question in who He is and Pilate misses it. This is exactly what people are doing today. They might ask the right questions, but they don’t like the answer. So, they ask it again and again, getting the same answer they don’t like. So, the thought goes, if the answer cannot be found in the historical Jesus, maybe a guru will help.
Ravi Shankar’s take on Jesus: (for example, also from Ravi Zacharias’ book)
“Jesus is the only way. Jesus is love. Jesus has many names. He is Buddha, he is Krishna, and he is you. Your name also belongs to Jesus. Do you really think that your name is yours? Jesus is the Son of God. He inherits what belongs to God. Do you inherit what belongs to God? Then you belong to Jesus. Isn’t it? What do you say?”
We see how confusing a position like this is. We all have issues, questions, problems, pain and hope to find meaning in life. In the real Jesus Christ are the answers to this all, not in the Jesus that is marketed to us by gurus.
Truth is knowable, it is constant. We will pick this up next week. Please let me know what you think below.
“Now this is eternal life: that they may know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17:3