What is it that so many see in Jesus?
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What do I see? Hope!
More than anything I hope that Jesus is who He said that he was.. you know the Son of God, the Risen King, Lord of Heaven and Earth. Why?
That would mean that the warm and engaging and intimate down to earth person that I've come to know through the gospels is in complete control; the one who gave His life for mine has been resurrected just as He said. I can think of no better person in all of history to receive this honour.
That would mean that life here today has tremendous meaning and resource. The life we live there tomorrow has deep fulfillment and un-imaginable joy. It is this hope that keeps me going even when things are not so analytically apparent.
That would mean that in this world of hopelessness I have a world of new hope. Hope that I can take comfort in, comfort that I can extend to those around me struggling to stay afloat in the midst of this storm. What I now suffer I gladly suffer for Him.
That would mean that all of the harm we've caused one another, all of the words said, all of the deeds done, all of the time wasted, even all the time spent running as far as we could from God, these sins would be cleansed away and atoned for simply by His all sufficient grace. We'd have a new start, a new path, a new outlook and desire.
That would mean that I am not alone, that there is body of other hopeful followers side by side with me to share this walk with. We can talk, we can pray, we can worship. A fellowship we can break bread and celebrate God's goodness together in.
That would mean God's only begotten Son is my teacher, is my counselor, is my mediator, is my good shepherd and grand protector. That He would love me to this extent is nearly un-fathomable, far reaching, life changing.
All of this and more, because He is my hope!
But is hope real?
I cannot yet prove to you that Jesus is all of this, this can only be proved at His promised return. I can show you however that the hope in Jesus has changed so many other peoples lives.
Account after account of personal testimony, tangible proofs that broken heart has been mended, that the questioning minds have found answers, the battered and abused weary souls have found an anchor and a peace. Many have seen only the urgency of the need for themselves to grab hold of His hope in their own time of crisis.
We are not talking about a few occurrences, we are talking about a great many people deeply touched. So many in fact that most are willing to suffer the persecution of others in light of this hope.
Are they all crazy then?
One might say "faith can't be proven". Certainly the effects of hope can be measured.
I never have understood why it is some one would feel the need to try to talk me out of my hope in Jesus; to try to talk me into a more intellectual approach that is well....hopeless.
To hope that the Son of the very God would become flesh, dwell amongst us, suffer at the hands of our carnal hearts and mind, die for our sins and be raised to the glorious throne of the Father is a hope beyond all others.
It is not just a hope for that future heaven, it is a hope that radically affects our daily living, exhorting us by His example to love with His love, live with His abundant living, serve others with His sacrificial service. All of this by His grace.
Those who are critical of the Bible are those who have yet come to know Jesus as an intimate living person. To them He is a book, a list of do's and don'ts, a pack of crazed irrational followers, a cold distant ideal never to be obtained.
Believers in Jesus are not satisfied with the "all paths lead to God" argument because anything less than the hope we have in Jesus cheapens the very notion of hope.
- Consider that if all paths lead to God then:
- One man can work his way to heaven and another can slumber his way.
- One man can sacrifice his way to heaven and another steal his way.
- One man can execute justice on the behalf of others and another oppress.
- One man can heal and encourage another can rape and brutalize.
- One man can set his own terms of atonement, another can refuse any terms.
Hope in Jesus Christ suggest rather that:
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