Does Jesus not really surprise us anymore? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Awhile back, I wrote a post on why Christianity isn’t appealing. I get why unbelievers don’t like the message of Christianity, but what I don’t get is why we who are believers sometimes don’t seem to blink at it. We talk about the God of all creation who loves us immensely more than we can know and forgives us for everything and yet it seems that pales in comparison often to everything else in our lives.
Last night I thought about this more when driving home from an event my wife and I started talking about a Jesus mythicist. I gave the quote that has been said that if Jesus had never existed, we could never have invented Him. Jesus is just too amazing a figure for that. C.S. Lewis once said that the things Jesus said were the most amazing things ever said by human lips.
Could it be that here in the West, we have heard the story of Jesus so much that it never really amazes us? Many of us have grown up hearing the gospel for as long as we can remember and so we take it for granted. Do we need to look at what we believe again?
Atheists will often get us on for the outlandish things we believe. We believe Jesus was born of a virgin, (Which I do affirm) that He walked on water, that He raised the dead, that He multiplied bread and fish instantly, and that He rose from the dead. Granted there is good evidence for this stuff, but we should consider that to an extent, we do believe some things that on the face are hard to believe. These are definitely claims that would be hard to believe and if we heard them from some other position could be skeptical as well.
Yet Jesus did all of them.
We could consider that an ethical message like the Sermon on the Mount is still transforming us today. We could consider that His very life has been one of the greatest drives to moral living if not what I would contend, the greatest drive. We could consider the way He astounded His opponents every step of the way as something incredible.
We could actually be surprised by Jesus again.
We do have a downside sadly that when we go to the text, we who have grown up with it have this background here with many assumptions. It’s kind of like how I often wish we could approach texts for the first time again. Could we come to Romans 9 without debating Calvinism and have it without thinking about whether we believe in it or not? Could we approach Revelation the same way?
Then let’s also remember that this was done for love by Jesus. Love of God and love of us both. We are truly forgiven. Some of us might think we don’t have much to be forgiven of, which means we probably have more than we realize. We could all rejoice though who are Christians that our debt is paid. We are forgiven. We are promised eternal life. We are loved by the holy Trinity.
This doesn’t mean there will never be times of sorrow and sadness in our lives. Paul reported about despairing to the point of death even. It does mean that it doesn’t need to dominate us. We can always point to multiple blessings in our lives when we think about Christ.
After all, there could be a great danger that if we don’t do this, we take Jesus for granted. We act like what happened was no big deal. Of course, Jesus did this, because He’s Jesus, but God was never under any obligation to forgive us for everything. If He wanted to condemn us all to Hell and spend eternity with just Himself and His angels, that would have been entirely allowable. No one could say He had done wrong. He owes us nothing.
Any maybe, just maybe, if we can realize this, we will take it more seriously than before. We have all been given grace abundantly. Perhaps those of us who are Christians should live like we really believe it.