BEFORE AND AFTER JESUS
Jesus announced that He was the way to the Father and that He was God in person with us (Jn.14: 6; Mt.1: 23). He also promised to be with us constantly (Mt.28: 20). No one has made such claims.
Recently, I heard two Christian leaders stress the idea that we must seek the Lord while He can be found, based on Isaiah 55: 6 and like Jacob, we must wrestle with the Lord and hang on until He blesses us (Gen.32: 26). I have tried that idea and I did not find the satisfaction. In fact, I found that I was unable and unfit to find God. Like Thomas, I did not know the way nor what I had to do (Jn.14: 5) and like Philip, I too had to be shown (Jn.14: 8). Jesus’ answer to Philip became my answer; namely, “If you see me, you see the Father” (Jn.14: 9).
The idea that man can find God is unreal. The Prophet Ezekiel was informed, “I myself will search for my sheep and look after them” (34: 11). It was God that found Abraham, Jacob or David and not the reverse. There were dreams, manifestations and visions but no incarnation of the divine. For that reason there is no other name in heaven or on earth, but the name Jesus that man must accept to be saved (Ac.4: 12). It is because of Jesus that Christianity differs from all religions.
Jesus has also become the cause of strife and division. Peter was the first to strike a blow against Jesus’ enemies. Jesus ordered Peter to put away his sword (Jn.18: 10-11). With that act, Peter of all people stood in the way of what Jesus was sent to do. He had come to bring peace on earth and good will among men (Lk.2: 14). The world uses the “sword” to establish peace while Jesus used the “word” or the “good news” (Jn.14: 27). This too is a clear distinction between what Jesus believed and did from some other religious founders. He even differed from what Moses believed and did. Moses and most Hebrew leaders depended more on the sword than on faith.
We do live in a culture that is in the process of bypassing Jesus. Clergy talk about an “owner’s manual” and pray “in His name.” I do believe, they mean the Bible and Jesus. But what do people think our clergy mean that have not been exposed to Christian teaching? Are we leading them to heaven or elsewhere? Those of us that still hang on to a Jesus do no longer see a resemblance to the One in the Gospels. The world no longer trembles at His appearance for what it has done and is doing to Him. The Jewish people already had an event like that (Zech.12: 10) and the world is still facing one like it (Rev.1: 7). That should not surprise us for Jesus predicted that faith in Him would almost disappear (Lk.18: 8). That too is different from other religions. None of them is afraid to speak of their founders and no one dares to put them out of existence. It is a sobering reality. What shall we face after Jesus?