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Cross Examined
by Milton Hooper
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When the movie, ďThe Passion of the ChristĒ was released there was a flood of controversy stirred up about it. There were some who were condemning the movie because they felt it was anti-Semitic and others criticized the accuracy of the Gospels.

I saw the movie and was extremely moved by it in ways I canít really describe. Of all the accounts of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus I have heard in my lifetime of church, this movie far exceeded any of that. When I left the theatre, there were no feelings of anti-Semitism or questions about the accuracy of the story; to me it was fairly simple. Jesus Christ paid a huge sacrifice for us all. The real controversy is whether or not we accept or reject Jesus.

We all have to realize that there is more to this life than our jobs, our finances or even our families. Above all these things, we must make a choice. The choice we make about Christ will affect our destiny. The choice is what makes us unique from the rest of Godís creation. He gave us a free will to decide. When God created us, He wanted to experience a true love from His creation; something much more different from the angels in heaven or the animals on this planet. God wants to be loved by us. Why else would He have made a way back to Him through His Son, Jesus? When Adam and Eve sinned, it created a separation between God and man. After years of laws and sacrifices, the method of paying for a personís sin was broken. It needed a major overhaul. The only way was for God to live as a man and become the perfect sacrifice one time for all time.

How do we view Jesus? Some will argue that Jesus was only another prophet. He was a good man, a radical in His day but not the Son of God. Critics place Jesus on even ground with Mohammad, Buddha and others. What makes Jesus so different? Jesus is different because He alone claimed to be God in human form. A common misconception is that some of the leaders of the worldís religions made similar claims, but this is not the case. Buddha did not claim to be God. Moses never said that he was God. Mohammad did not identify himself as Allah. Yet Jesus did. It was about teachings but of the teacher himself. (John 14:6)

Another huge difference from all the other religious icons is that Jesus conquered . This places Jesus far beyond these other men. Jesus is still alive today. It is sad that we live in a world where most people would rather believe that Elvis is alive and that Jesus is . Regardless, it still comes down to a choice. We either make a decision to follow Jesus or we choose to follow our own path in this life. One thing is for certain Ė regardless of which decision we make, we had better be sure that we are willing to risk eternity on that choice.

The decision to follow Jesus is a wonderful choice to make; however, the choice is not without problems. Living Godís way is certainly easier to talk about than to do. We all have old patterns of behavior that we find hard to overcome. Itís hard to trust God when another way looks more appealing. wonít make it easy to follow Christ. He stands as our accuser whispering in our ears on how unworthy we are and how we will never make it. This is the living sacrifice we make in the choice to serve Christ. We really arenít worthy but Christ makes us worthy. If we place our faith in other prophets, is not worried. A man who has placed his eternity based upon a man has already predestined his own destruction.

There will come a day when we will enter into the courtroom of God. God will be the ultimate judge. When we stand before God, will Christ be our defense attorney or will we be forced to defend ourselves? With the choice of Christ, He is our defense. (1 John 2:1) The most intelligent person in the world will not stand a chance defending themselves, thinking there is a loophole or technicality in Godís judgment. Without Christ, we have no defense.

Through the course of time, man has complicated the plan of Salvation. The denominations and organizations that have been established only confuse people in their eternal decision. This isnít about rules, regulations or dress codes to be holy. It is about Jesus Christ. He lived the life, paid the penalty for our sin, and conquered the grave. (1 Cor. 15:53-57)

For most of my early years I believed the teachings of my church was the measure of my relationship with God. If you dress appropriately and went to church every time the doors were opened then God was pleased. It took me a long time to break from that humanly holiness thinking. Thereís more to God than just a perfect church attendance or a ďholyĒ hair style. When God questions us at the eternal judgment, those things will not matter to Him. All that He will want to know is if we have a relationship with Jesus. If we have a relationship with Jesus, we will act appropriately.

If we were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict us? Would Jesus be our defense attorney? If you have not already done so, now is the time to get Jesus on retainer. It doesnít cost you anything. He has already paid the price.

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