I spend a lot of time trying to understand why people do the things they do. That question of “why” just fascinates me. It allows us to go deeper into just about any topic. Along these lines, the one question that I find the most interesting is, “Why do people find so many different ways to reduce Jesus to something so much less than He actually is?”
There are entire religions whose primary basis of their faith is to strip Jesus of His divinity, reduce him down to just a man, and do everything they can to discount His resurrection. I hear people say things like, “The things Jesus did in the bible were not meant to be taken literally,” or even, “It was written by man so obviously there are mistakes and errors in it.”
I have thought long and hard about why this is the case. Anyone who honestly looks at the facts will see that Jesus was a very real person. The bible was not written as a fictional story, but as a historical account. The phenomenon of Jesus’ short, 3-year ministry that COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED the world is possibly the most compelling evidence that Jesus truly was performing miraculous signs and that He did indeed rise from the dead. As if all of that were not enough, everything the bible says about Jesus resonates with the truth that is already written on our hearts. The gospel connects with our hearts the way that a newborn baby instinctively longs to be near its mother. All the evidence points in one direction, but people constantly try to pull in the opposite direction.
At the same time, it’s not like Jesus came with an undesirable message. It is completely advantageous for every one of us if Jesus is who He claimed to be. He came to us as a savior, promising us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. So why? Why do people want so badly to diminish or even destroy His gospel?
I have wrestled with this question for a long time, and, at the end of the day, there is only one answer that makes sense. If Jesus is who He claimed to be, then believing in Him will instantly transform our lives. If we believe Jesus is who he said He is, then we are automatically out of excuses. If we accept this truth, we then have a responsibility to live in accordance with it.
If Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth to die for our sins and then be resurrected from the dead, then we have no excuse for living a status quo, fear driven, complacent life. We can no longer just go along with the ways of the world to avoid any uncomfortable situations. We can no longer make decisions purely on how they will affect us in this life, but we have to consider eternity. We have to love others even when they don’t deserve it, and we have to be willing to sacrifice our own wants, desires, possessions, etc. to share that Good News with others.
So many people don’t want Jesus to be who He claimed to be because it will force them out of their comfort zone. I sometimes pretend Jesus isn’t who he claimed to be, because I don’t want to follow where He is leading me. I am afraid of what other people will think of me if I follow Him. I don’t want to give up some of the things He wants me to give up. I want to have control of my life. I want to be comfortable and complacent.
However, if I believe in who Jesus is and what He said about me, then I will constantly be challenged to overcome these fears. I no longer have that excuse to shrink back and hide because of my insecurities. Jesus gave me a reason to step out and fight despite those insecurities.
Today I just want to propose two questions to everyone reading this. Please take some time to truly reflect on these questions:
- Do you truly believe that Jesus is who He claimed to be?
- How does the answer to that question affect the way you live?
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
“Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these” (John 14:12).
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).