Sunday, October 29, 2006

What Do You See?

Then came the Feast of Dedication at Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly."

Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one."

John 10:22-30
Who is Jesus? One thing that I have learned is that the way people answer that question speaks more about themselves than about the person and character of Jesus Christ. German Liberals of the 19th Century gave up their belief in the authority and veracity of Scripture so they went about their Quest For The Historical Jesus, and it just so happened that the Jesus they "discovered" looked a whole lot like a 19th Century German Liberal. There have been several such "quests" since then and every time, without failure, Jesus comes out looking a lot like the ones on the quest.

This is not limited to ignorant scholars in ivory towers - common, every-day folk do the same thing all the time. When I hear right-wing Republicans talking about Jesus it is amazing how their Supply-Side Jesus seems to fit right in with right-wing Republicans, and when I hear left-wing Democrats talk about Jesus it is amazing how Jesus seems like a Birkenstocked dude who'd be perfectly at peace within the realm of left-wing Democrats. Someone once said that in the beginning God created man in His own image and man has been trying to return the favor ever since. I especially find it humorous when people decry "annoying absolutism toward the delusional" while they themselves display and annoying absolutism toward the delusional. Jesus said, "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand" while someone else says, "Jesus is not the way to eternal life. All Life is Eternal." Who should we believe? The Creator of the universe or some guy with an opinion? For the Christian it is not about our opinion, it is about the Word of God, the very words of God. It is not my opinion of Jesus that determines that which is really real - my opinion is irrelevant - it is Jesus' own words that reveal who He is and what is the nature of eternal life. Jesus is the one who gives eternal life according to Jesus, the question is whether or not you trust Him.

Do you trust Him?

What do you see when you look at Jesus? Do you see an idealized version of yourself or do you see the risen Savior? Do you see a good man or the Creator of the universe? Do you see someone who would put the Republicans in their place or the One who will judge all of the world? What do you see when you look at Christ? Do you see the One who suffered that we might be reconciled back to the Father? Do you see the One who laid down His life so that we might have eternal life? Do you see the One who is the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God? What do you see?

My Lord and my God.

May the LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who wants you to see Him as He truly is,
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

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