Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's not paranoia if Someone is really after you...

Unlike any other revelation of God, the person Jesus provides the clearest, most specific picture of GOD PURSUING US.

Other religious initiators (Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, etc.) identify themselves as teachers or prophets. None, except Jesus, claim equality with God. In so many words, Jesus said, “God exists and you're looking at him”.

Though Jesus referred to his Father in heaven, it was not from a position of separation, but of very close union, absolutely unique among humankind. He said that anyone who had seen him had seen the Father, anyone who believed in him believed in the Father. He said, "I am the light of the world, he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."

Jesus claimed divine attributes: the ability to forgive sin, free us from our "mind parasites" / habits of sin, and give us eternal life. Others point to their words, Jesus points to himself. He didn’t say, "Follow my words and you will find truth." He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through me."

Jesus provided extensive proof of his divinity, routinely performing miracles – spontaneously healing people from blindness, deafness, physical deformities…even raising at least a couple of people from the dead. He exercised power over the material world – creating food out of thin air…enough to feed vast crowds – and power over nature…such as walking on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends, etc. Many followed him because he constantly met their needs through miraculous acts. He said if you don’t want to believe in me based on what I'm saying, at least believe in me based on what you are seeing.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, Jesus demonstrated God as gentle, loving, patient, aware of our self-centeredness and shortcomings, yet deeply desirous of a relationship with us. He revealed that although we are all sinners deserving nothing more than the punishment of a Holy God, his Love provided a different plan, one that made possible an actual relationship with him. Taking on the form of man, he himself accepted the punishment for our sin…ON OUR BEHALF. Sound ludicrous? Perhaps, but what loving father wouldn’t gladly trade places with his child in a cancer ward if he could.

It is said that the reason we can even love God is because he first loved us. Only through Jesus do you see God reaching toward humanity, providing a way for us to have a relationship with him. Jesus proves a divine heart of love, meeting our needs, drawing us to himself. He is nothing less than God in flesh…in action.

Anyone who doubts the existence of God, really needs to investigate Jesus Christ. It is written that, "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." God does not force us to believe in him, though he could. Instead, he provides sufficient proof of his existence for us to willingly respond to him - the earth's perfect distance from the sun, the unique chemical properties of water, the human brain, DNA, the number of people who attest to knowing God, the gnawing in our hearts and minds to determine if God is there, the willingness for God to be known through Jesus Christ.

Although we know God by faith, it is far from blind. Blind faith is what you exercise when turning away from the One who has so abundantly and clearly revealed himself. Many claim that they need more concrete proof before they will believe, but they are liars – for many who witnessed God “in action” first hand, still turned away. It’s free will, stupid…not lack of evidence.

(FYI - This represents my attempt at paraphrasing a number of other authors, who I know won't mind).