Almost everyone recognizes that Jesus was an important person in history and acknowledges His teachings – at least the teachings they know about – as worthy of respect. Even the great religions of the world feel the need to find a place for him somewhere. After all, He is very difficult to ignore. Some Buddhist have acknowledge him to be an enlightened teacher; Hindu’s like Gandhi see him as a great teacher and guru; and Muslims exalt Him as one of the great prophets. Even some New Age leaders call Him the Cosmic Christ, while atheists accept that He was an important historical figure.
YET, when it comes to His teaching they have been very selective – everyone seems to like the Golden Rule, and the Sermon on the Mount – often ignoring His exclusive claims and hard sayings. Jesus would never have been happy to be an add-on to another system, because He didn’t come to start another religious system. He came to make it possible for all of us to have a personal relationship with God that is up close and personal.
C S Lewis, who wrote the Narnia books, was an atheist until he decided to take a serious look at the claims of Jesus. He examined the exclusive claims of Jesus and came to the following conclusions. He felt that we must decide whether Jesus is a LIAR, a LUNATIC, or the SON OF GOD He claimed to be. If He was a liar, then He is not a great teacher but a charlatan. If He was a lunatic, then we can’t take him seriously. But, if He is who is says He is then we better pay attention and hear what He has to say. That is what Lewis did and why he became a Christian.
The Apostle Peter was the first to realize that Jesus was no ordinary teacher when He said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Later, when some followers left because they didn’t like some of the things Jesus taught, Jesus asked His disciples, “Will you leave Me too?’ Peter again came to the front and declared, “BUT, WHERE WOULD WE GO, FOR YOU HAVE THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE?”
His followers convictions would be seriously tested in the coming days when believing in Him became a matter of life or death. Sadly, but understandably, they all deserted Jesus to save their own lives when He was arrested and killed – Peter even denied knowing Him three times. BUT then the resurrection changed everything because it proved to them once and for all that Jesus really was who He claimed to be. Suddenly, they became bold proclaimers of the good news about Jesus and the church was born.
The first Christians – called followers of the Way – took seriously, the clear but audacious claims of Jesus that only He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. ONLY a resurrection explains their willingness to stand by that conviction, despite the threats of suffering and death. AFTER ALL, NO ONE DIES FOR A HOAX OR SOMETHING THEY DON’T TRULY BELIEVE.
If Jesus is who He says He is, then He is alive today, and YOU need to accept Him as your Savior and Lord.
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