I saw something interesting on Facebook the other day.
A friend of mine is about to lose another friend to cancer, and this person (who I don’t know) isn’t saved. So my friend posted a prayer request, for wisdom and peace and, above all, his salvation. A handful of loving responses came in, which said things like, “Praying!” and “I’m so sorry for your loss.” One of the responses – which was no less loving – caught my attention.
“The Jesus I believe in will love him and accept him regardless.”
“The Jesus I believe in.” As if there were a selection of Jesuses to pick from. Here’s my Jesus; what does yours look like?
C.S. Lewis, in his book Mere Christianity, said:
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.
We’re talking all or nothing here. If he’s divine, worship him. If he’s a liar or madman, put him out of your mind right now.
Another thing: if he’s divine, learn and obey his teaching. That’s part of worship.
Jesus said that it was almost impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Mt 19:23). He said that sons of the kingdom – Hebrews – would be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth (Mt 8:12). He said that it would be better for some men to have a millstone hung around their necks and be drowned (Lk 17:2). There’s no getting around any of that. He said it. If you believe in Jesus, you believe in these sayings.
My point being this – you can’t make yourself a Jesus. You don’t go into the pantry and grab some morality, some good teaching, some pacifism, and skip over divinity or righteous anger or the atonement.
If you believe that Jesus was insane or a liar, so be it. But if you believe he is the Son of God, then you’ve gotta take the whole package.
In the end, there is only one Jesus. And there’s only one place to find him: God’s Word.
The Real Jesus by Downhere (a fantastic song):