I’m back! Last weekend was consumed by my water heater, which I ultimately gave up on and replaced, so I couldn’t find time to post.
I’d like to add to the Why Follow Jesus series today (first post Here).
I realize I live in a post-Christian time; most have “been there, heard that, done that.”
Most have already at least brushed shoulders with Christianity and for various reasons decided it’s not for them. In response to most of those reasons I would say you didn’t have to leave, and maybe you can take another look.
What I want you to know is you don’t have to be a “none” because of your thoughts on the Bible, evolution, social justice, politics, etc. You can still follow Him and see: where it takes you, if He’s all people say, what He’s about.
I don’t feel the need to convince you to believe all the things I believe. I believe the Bible is inspired and Holy, but if you don’t I’d still love to see you give Jesus a “follow.” I just want to convince you that he really did rise from the dead. That is the cornerstone of Christianity; not the Bible, not creationism, not any other beliefs or miracles. If he didn’t stay dead then there’s something worth considering, everything else aside.
Christianity is not the Bible. The Bible is a birth certificate. Long before those texts were catalogued together The Way (nickname for Jesus’ early followers) flourished while being sandwiched between an empire and religion trying to stamp it out. Apparently the message of Jesus was irresistible to that empire. I believe it still is.
If I had to guess I’d say your objections lie more with “the Bible says” than Jesus. We have beat that horse long past dead. There was a time when that phrase was good enough for the community at large.
Something happened 2000ish years ago. God waded into our mess. A man said some crazy things and made crazy claims. He claimed to be the Son of God and predicted His own death, burial, and resurrection. If someone can pull that off I’ll go with whatever he/she says. His own brother ended up convinced Jesus was exactly who he had claimed to be. So did Paul, a Jew who was determined to destroy The Way one day and a follower of Jesus the next. Thousands of people believed based on witnesses who saw and interacted with a resurrected Jesus. Many of those witnesses gave their lives; it wasn’t because of what they believed, but what they saw. When Jesus was arrested and crucified there weren’t any believers. They abandoned him and all hope. If he didn’t rise there wouldn’t have been any The Way or Church. We wouldn’t be having this conversation. What changed? They saw him again, just as He predicted, proving His identity.
Here’s something you don’t hear very often: following Jesus is evidence based.
It’s okay to follow Him and see how it goes for you. Jesus invited all sorts of people to follow him. They weren’t screened first to see what they believed. They were free to turn back if they desired. Some stayed (until the crucifixion); many left. Thousands came later, against all odds. You don’t have to put away your brain or get it all together to follow Him.
What if Jesus rose from the dead?
What if, despite what you may think about Christians, religion, the Bible, science, creation, miracles, or anything else, He was and is exactly who He claimed to be?