MISTAKING JESUS’S IDENTITY
Jesus Christ means different things to different people, and what He means changes how we see and live our lives. For better or worse, Jesus’s name does not lack an impact on a person; the only difference is which impact is made.
When Jesus is merely viewed as a moral, scrupulous wise man, we strip away the divinity of His biblical and historical biography. In order to leave Him this way, we must ignore or resist the opposing Biblical accounts that He was more than just a man; that He was God incarnate (Mark 14:62). For a man accused of blasphemy, who preached with wisdom, love, and truth, healed the sick and forgave sinners—we cannot label such a man as only a “nice man,” or a “moral teacher.” Doing so acknowledges such a man existed, that He did powerful things, but that He was merely human. This makes us sound more incredulous than the claims themselves. How can we let such pertinent, epoch-making details go, but adhere to the reality that He truly existed and interacted with humanity as is documented in the Bible? (Mark 2:10, Matthew 4:23-25)
Let us remember the three main arguments: Jesus was either a lunatic, a liar, or He is Lord. He cannot be all three.
WITNESSING JESUS IN THE WORLD
Sadly, in today’s world, the church body can sometimes be more intimidating for unbelievers than the very theology of Jesus as Lord. When people purport to be Christian but do not speak life-giving words into the lives of others, or do not make themselves available for prayer and the support of their community, then as a result, those who question or deny Christ witness the barrenness of an underwhelming claim to a weak faith.
While it’s disappointing when a secularist only holds firmly to their belief in themselves (or some semblance of a non-religious theology [i.e. the love of “Mother Earth,” etc.] ), what is more unnerving, are those who claim to have faith in Christ’s divinity, but live like they don’t know Him personally. When what we are looking for are answers in this crazy world, and what we find and experience is hypocrisy, Christianity begins to look like religion on Sundays, and less like an invitation to relationship with the risen Christ during every moment of every day.
What the Christian needs is do is not pull away from living a godly life in Christ, regardless of the rest of the world; to persevere in these challenging times when fear and influence from the enemy taunt us at every turn. The unbeliever takes note of the actions and responses of a believer, to witness if and how faith works in the life of those who claim to be led by a loving God. Are we asking God to move through us so profoundly, that the unbelieving people of the world could witness the change God makes in our hearts, and our lives?
CHRISTIANITY IS STILL ALIVE AND WELL
The story, truth, and authenticity of Jesus is not weaker now that there is more testing of faith than before. The Bible is not any less valid and real now that the world is facing fear and worry over COVID-19. Jesus Christ has not stopped speaking even when people start to question His influence on Earth. God has not stopped loving even though people have died.
Christianity is not about how often we visit the church building, but how we love others like Christ in every-day interactions, wherever we go. It’s carrying Jesus Christ in our hearts when we, or someone we know, is suffering. Christianity does not change if people do not turn to God during struggle and pain; trial and tribulation. People change over the course of time and life experiences, and we sometimes forget God’s character never does. It’s not God who deceives us, but man-made religion; we get deceived by the influence of others who have been deceived by the enemy in this corrupted world.
REMEMBER GOD IS FOR US
What the world needs is the reminder that we are never in control, and that that should be a relief because it means Jesus is. We need more surrender and less resistance; more love and less pull from love; more persistence in how we pursue faith in Christ. Life is breath-to-breath, and that is the humbling reminder that God gives us our lives as a gift of His love for our existence. When we see life through God’s eyes, we can see beauty in the ashes. We can see hope in change, and even in darkness; peace in the midst of strife and loss; love in the midst of the sting of poignancy.
There is nothing more that we need than receive the love of Christ where it matters most, where our life choices shift from ourselves to His will for us. There is no one we need to trust more than God Himself. Take some quiet time to remember who God is, what He did through Jesus on the cross, and that salvation is ours through His grace, not our effort. Let gratitude be our heart posture, and may our fears fall to the foot of the cross, where Christ redeems us out of the shadows and willingly roots us shamelessly into the light of His presence.