Saturday, February 02, 2013

Who do you say Jesus is?

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Challenging. That's what the paragraph above is to mankind. Whether we are approaching Jesus historically or spiritually, we've got to deal with His claims. Mr. Lewis basically gives us three choices concerning Jesus: (1) Jesus was a liar, to be disregarded as a crazy person; (2) Jesus was of the devil, to be rebuked and refused; or, (3) Jesus was exactly who His works and words made Him out to be, and that is God of very God, and, then, the only response is to bow humbly at His feet, seeking mercy.

When we come to Jesus, we've got to deal with Him, and respond. 

Isn't it that way with everyone? We encounter someone -- even an idea -- and we weigh it; we consider it. We think on it. 

Invariably, someone will ask me what I think of some movie, or a singer. I know better than to simply settle for a visceral response. (After all, though my heart is central to my entire being, the Lord must rule it and inform it. If He doesn't, even in the moment of decision, it will act deceitfully!) I know I've got to weigh something or something. 

Take a singer, for example, it's one thing to weigh their talent. Many are talented; sure, I may not enjoy their genre, but it's easy to confess they are talented within their genre. But, it's more than that...

I've got to weigh the words they are saying, and what they attempt to convey through their words and actions in relaying those words. You know what I mean, right? It's one thing to say something with words, but often body language tells what the words are really saying. I remember my grandma riding in my car with me in the late 80s and hearing Salt N Pepa's "Push It." She HEARD it, but didn't have a lewd mind. She asked, "Push what?" My eyes got big, and I changed the channel and the subject -- QUICK. Even if the flesh wasn't so lewd, the video would make it real clear what they were pushing.

But, think about it, we consider the words. I think IF YOU CAN SPEAK AND UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE OF A SONG it's utter hogwash to say, "I just like the beat" and to use that to indicate you don't listen to the words. Wait...I'm chasing a rabbit (sort of), and that's not what I want to do.

My point is simple, we often assess things and keep them or discard them. Sometimes, we don't think through things enough. We'll just go along and get along and take this and that without giving much thought to the implications of what we are allowing to shape our thinking and activities. 

It seems we think through some things, but not through others. It seems we'll investigate some things, but totally ignore the implications of others. 

I think we should seriously investigate Jesus. We should think about Him; consider His claims.

I think, when it comes to Jesus, we are totally unwise to EITHER accept or reject Him without serious investigation. I mean, hey, it's not like He was George Washington... 

George Washington is an interesting guy, right? I think so. I think he's worth studying. But, in studying him, it's just knowledge. He doesn't claim to be able to save me or even to help me. He doesn't claim to be God or a god. But, before we endorse him in any paradigm at all, or ignore him, we'd do well to know about George Washington. 

Some folks are crazy. Really. I mean, we'll buy records, or follow their lives on a "reality" show and basically endorse who they are and what they stand for without really even knowing them. But, many of us disregard other things on a whim.

READ THIS: And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. (Mark 8:27-30 ESV)

Like I said, I don't think it's wise to ignore Jesus. However, it's also not wise to claim to follow Him without seeing what He says, what He claims about Himself and what He commands His followers to think, do or say. 

Investigate Jesus. He either is who He said He was, or He was a lunatic. Take your pick, but we cannot deny that He has had an impact on mankind, so we'd do well not to simply skip-to-the-lou on past Him. 

If He is all that He claims to be, we've got to deal with that!

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