Foreword:

Ever wonder what God might have to say to YOU today? Here are things to ponder, and things to receive into your heart. If you have a question, put it in the comments. I respond as much as I can.

A note for all my readers: I've been experimenting with YouTube videos for Bible teaching for a while, and I'm working through Revelation here. My YouTube videos are currently short studies in Matthew, and at present I'm posting videos on Revelation as well. Both appear on the blog, which is turning into a Vlog. I encourage you to subscribe to my YouTube channel for better coverage.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Meditation #2: Does Jesus Matter?

He certainly does.
While there are those who insist that Christianity is merely an ancient superstition, with no basis in reality, uncounted millions of people disagree with them, and worship God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
Why do they do that? Why is He so important to so many?
To the true Christian, Jesus is of the greatest importance because
He is not merely the "Founder / Leader of a great religion;"
He is not only the Teacher who is followed (at least in lip-service) by millions,
He is not just the Miracle-Worker whose works ring powerfully through the annals of history;
He is not just "The Way and the Truth and the Life;"
Nor is He only "The Shepherd of the Sheep, the Good Shepherd,"
And He's not merely the "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
He is all these things, but with the true Christian, it's personal.
He's MY Good Shepherd
He's MY Leader.
He's MY way to God.
In other words, with the true Christian, believing in Christ is a very personal matter that brings him into a relationship that transcends religious behaviors and observances. It's stunningly simple, easy to do, but resisted and forgotten by many among us.
I wish I could somehow communicate this to the atheist--that to me, Jesus is as real as my own breath, as real to me as my body, and it's all because of Him actually entering into a relationship with Me that I had no right to hope for, not in a million years.
I think that if I could communicate this to people who don't believe in Him, they might seek Him and find Him for themselves, and experience the reality of God's own dear Son.
Christianity is not about the mistakes Christians make, the sins they commit, the failures they have, the evil they do; all of these, it is true, have been used as arguments against Christianity, and they are valid to some extent, in that they say "Christians fail."
My response to that is, "So what?" Jesus never said His followers would be perfect.  In fact, His commands and teachings assume they won't be.  Even His twelve Apostles got yelled at from time to time--for their lack of faith, their lack of commitment, their lack of understanding, and quite a few other things.
That does not invalidate their relationship with Him, nor does it invalidate my relationship with Him, or yours.
All it says is, "Christians are sinners."
Well, Duh!
If they weren't sinners, why would they need a Savior? If I wasn't a sinner, I could go to heaven all on my own. It's my sin that makes me "fall short of the glory of God," and I NEED a Savior.  That Savior has to be one who can give God reason to forgive me for my sins, one who can pick me up and lead me into a better life than I could have chosen for myself, one who can pick me up, dust me off, and send me back on the true path after I've really fallen, or the whole thing--the whole Christian thing--is no good. If I can't be sure I'll get to eternal life after this, why bother to believe?
So I do believe, and perhaps you do as well, not because someone smarter than you or me told us it was the thing to do, but because we've both partaken of the personal miracle that started when we believed in through His Son, Jesus.
Please don't ask me to explain.  Explaining what happened to me at my conversion would be like me asking you to explain the origin of the universe, or like me asking you to explain why the stars are fusion powered, or where the oil we use to produce gasoline in our cars really comes from.  You cannot do any of these things, because you can't go back in time and watch it happen, so you don't really KNOW.  Same with conversion.  Even though it happened to me, and it's the "real-est" thing I've ever experienced, and even though He's been real in my life ever since, I cannot tell you what happened. I know I entered a permanent relationship with Him.  That I do know. The theologians (and I am one of those) tell you all kinds of fine words that supposedly explain it all, but they don't.  It's kind of like being alive.  You know you're alive, and you can see that other people are alive, but you really don't know what "alive" is.  You are there. You are conscious. You feel, and think, and love, and hate, and hurt, and cry.  You have children (some of you), and you rejoice that they are alive, devastated if they die, but what is life?  We don't really understand it.
In the same way, I can't understand my eternal life, my relationship with God, but I for sure know it's real.  It's as real to me as any other part of my life, and more real than some.
I know I was forgiven of my sins.  I could FEEL God's acceptance so many years ago.  I could tell that I was / am different.
Am I still a sinner? Yes.  In spades.  For me, sin is an inescapable reality, and I know I'm not perfect. So what?  I try, and will keep doing so until He takes me Home.
Christmas is what started all this.  When Jesus came, He changed everything.  He filled all the ancient prophecies with reality.  He made my life--the spiritual life--possible.
For that, I am grateful every day, and often every hour, because He is so dang REAL.