Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed

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New! It is a word that we love. One of my ‘weaknesses’ is that about every 2 years I start to notice new cars …  even though my transportation is perfectly good, it’s the ‘new’ thing that captivates me. This week I replaced my 6 year old computer with a new laptop. Yep! The old one was still working, a little slow, but just fine, however, I figured I ‘needed’ a ‘new’ one.

New cars, computers, and phones are one thing, but ‘new’ truth is quite another.  Many are suggesting that our Christianity is in need of a re-working, that we might need to get the message to better fit our world if we want to keep our churches open. What about that?

New methods to present an unchanging Gospel are great. Given my season in life, even adapting to new methods, however, is proving a little more challenging.  The difficulty is in discerning what is just an adaptation and what is an attempt to re-write the Truth of God.  So many would turn Jesus into a great Teacher, the Gospel into moral maxims.  The Truth is that He was God in flesh, the Perfect Man, who died on the Cross, and Who was raised, bodily, from His grave to live forever as our Savior, King, and High Priest!   It is that Resurrection that substantiates His claim to be ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’  We are not just changed by learning a doctrine, we are transformed by an encounter with a living Jesus who makes us, though dead to God, alive in the Spirit.

I am a Christian because Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and hundreds of other people gave first-hand testimony that a dead man returned to walk with them. Some might say, “Jerry, that does not sell in our scientific age. Dead people do not rise from the grave.” Except that Jesus did, which was, is, and will be the proof of our faith. If Jesus did not come back from the grave, then His claim to be God come to Earth was bogus and we must give him a place among other spiritual teachers of history. We can then treat his words like those of any other philosopher/teacher; free to pick and choose what we like, mixing and matching them with those of the Buddha, of Mohammed, of Confucius, and our Grandpa! The troubling issue of “Truth” is gone, replaced by “preference” which allows each one of do whatever is right in our own eyes! How convenient for a society that worships autonomy and choice!

Here is what Paul declares about Jesus. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20, NIV)

Has the Gospel been misinterpreted, twisted, and bent by some?  We cannot ignore the fact that Jesus has been made the captive of those who use Him to control, enslave, and enrich themselves! The Church, through the ages, has made some choices that are awful, ugly, and inexcusable – often ‘in the Name of Christ.’  But, that does not invalidate the Gospel.

If you are wrestling with faith, go again to the testimony of the four Gospels, written by men who knew Him, who heard Him teach, who saw Him alive after the grave!  They show us a Man who gave us a real NEW way to live – to love God, to love others. Jesus did not hold onto power for Himself. He gave Himself away. And, yes, the majesty of His claim to be the Judge of all the earth lies in His willingness to be the Servant Savior of all. He is the Man of the Cross as well as the Lord of the Universe. None of us need fear complete trust, total submission, to One who would leave a perfect Heaven, endure scorn and rejection, who would challenge people intent on using power to oppress, and ultimately die for the very people who rejected His message. Such a Man has demonstrated so great a love that I willingly accept His judgment, willingly bow myself before His Truth – because that which He demands of me is not designed for His good, but rather to give me life! He said, “It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” (John 6:63, NLT)

Don’t be duped by those who, in the name of truth, would rob you of the Truth. Yes, they may well have confused the religion, the letter of the law that kills, with the Gospel that liberates and gives life. They may even believe that they are doing us a service by freeing us from ‘silly superstitions.’

The word from the Word is Jesus’ prayer for you and me. Meditate on it today and feel the power of the Spirit and Truth!
Speaking to His Father, the night before His crucifixion, He prays for us-
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.

I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.” (John 17:13-17, NLT)  This is the Gospel of Christ!

______________ 

What A Beautiful Name

(Worship at the link)

 You were the Word at the beginning
One with God the Lord Most High
Your hidden glory in creation
Now revealed in You our Christ

 What a beautiful Name it is
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a beautiful Name it is

Nothing compares to this
What a beautiful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

 You didn’t want heaven without us
So Jesus You brought heaven down
My sin was great Your love was greater
What could separate us now

 What a wonderful Name it is
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a wonderful Name it is

Nothing compares to this
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a wonderful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

 Death could not hold You
The veil tore before You
You silence the boast of sin and grave
The heavens are roaring
The praise of Your glory
For You are raised to life again

 You have no rival
You have no equal
Now and forever God You reign
Yours is the kingdom
Yours is the glory
Yours is the Name above all names

 What a powerful Name it is
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus Christ my King
What a powerful Name it is
Nothing can stand against
What a powerful Name it is

The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus
What a powerful Name it is
The Name of Jesus

Ben Fielding | Brooke Ligertwood © 2016 Hillsong Music Publishing (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

 

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