In our recent Sunday Series, we have looking at how the world views Jesus Christ and who He really is.
Today – Can we really know the real Jesus when there so many ideas and feelings out there? Isn’t it better to simply pick and choose what we want to believe about Jesus?
Is the Empty Tomb Irrelevant? Is the resurrection just a metaphor?
Marcus Borg (Jesus Seminar) in the book “Fabricating Jesus” says this:
“For me, it is irrelevant whether or not the tomb was empty. Whether easter involved something remarkable happening to the physical body of Jesus is irrelevant. My argument is not that we know the tomb was empty or that nothing happened to his body, simply that it doesn’t matter.”
Borg’s explanation is that Jesus’ Resurrection is simply a metaphor and the Easter story only lives on because followers of Jesus continued to experience Jesus as an experiential reality after his death. It was thought that Jesus was experience by people in dramatic forms, feelings and mystical experiences.
The bottom line is that Jesus was not literally risen, but instead He lives in our hearts.
There is a problem with that. Besides that the Bible teaches the resurrection, we also know that if you base your truth on feelings it will be all over the place.
This is exactly what has happened. People have picked and chosen their own Jesus based on their experience, or what they feel and not on who He actually is.
Zen Christians/Christian Realists/Christian Atheists/ Christians with goddess worship
Lee Strobel in his book “The case for the real Jesus” quotes a Washington Post article on this self- fashioned spirituality –
“Now they commune with a new God, a gentle twin of the one they grew up with. He is wise but soft-spoken, cheers them up when they’re sad, laughs at their quirks. He is, most essentially validating, like the greatest of friends. And best of all, he had been there all along. We discovered the God within. That why we need God. Because we are God. God gives me the ability to create my own godliness.”
But, while doing what is perceived to “work” might be appealing, there still is a message of truth. There still is the ability to reason, think and know what is morally write and wrong. This has to come from somewhere outside of us.
“Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.” – Romans 2:14-15
There is a moral law at play that we’d have to suppress our conscience in order to act against. There is an inherent sense of right and wrong in the world, even with the presence of evil. Of course feelings could justify any behavior, but there is a sense of wrong deep down.
This shows the problem with feelings. Feelings will conflict and cannot change objective reality. Following feelings does not change who we are, or how we are designed. It doesn’t make certain things true or right.
So, it begs the question, which Jesus is the right Jesus?
Believing in the right Jesus
Feelings, ideas, smart sounding philosophies do not hold any weight against God’s Word. The need we have is for a simple, pure devotion to Jesus Christ. We do not need a mix-and-match Christ, but the one the gospels proclaim.
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.” I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.” – 2 Corinthians 11:4-6
The question today is often: “Who is Jesus to you?” That is the wrong question. The real question is : “Who is Jesus?”
What we believe about Jesus doesn’t affect who he is. The choice we make is to either live in fantasy land and make up whatever we want, or we can look at who He really is and fall at His feet in worship.