Why would we, along with millions of others around the world, follow Jesus?
Some would say we’re all ignorant, duped, need a “crutch”, or we just follow Him because our parents told us to.
We know many intelligent, strong, clear-thinking people who count themselves as followers of Jesus. The idea that they are all ignorant, gullible, weak, or blindly accept what they were told by their parents or their church just doesn’t make any sense.
They have reason to believe that Jesus and His claims are real.
God reveals Himself to us in several ways. His creation, Jesus, and the documents of the Bible are three of them. There are many historical, philosophical and scientific reasons to support the existence of God, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and the reliability and accuracy of the Bible record.(*)
He also reveals himself personally through His Spirit.
“God maintains a delicate balance between keeping his existence sufficiently evident so people will know he’s there and yet hiding his presence enough so that people who want to choose to ignore him can do it. This way, their choice of destiny is really free.” – J.P. Moreland
We believe the world in which we live is best described by the Christian narrative, which is actually one big story about Jesus. A world that is broken and filled with broken people who are predisposed to selfishness, self-righteousness, and rebellion.
God created us with the ability to choose whether or not to accept a relationship with Him. We broke that relationship and keep breaking it by disobeying and rejecting Him.
God’s perfect justice means we deserve death for our sin and rejection, but His mercy and love mean that He wants us all to be reconciled to Him.
Where His perfect justice and mercy meet is at The Cross of Jesus.
Tim Keller puts it like this:
“The gospel says you are more sinful and flawed than you ever dared believe, but more accepted and loved than you ever dared hope.”
We don’t like to hear that we are all “sinful and flawed” but it’s hard to argue with that when you look at the world around you. It’s even harder for each and every one of us if we can truly and honestly look at our own flaws.
Jesus lived a perfect life and did not deserve the death the rest of us deserve. He took the sin of every one of us on Himself and suffered and died in our place so perfect justice and holiness can be satisfied on our behalf.
He defeated death by rising from the dead and intercedes for us all. By accepting His sacrifice we can be forgiven and stand guiltless before God. In His mercy and love, He gave us this opportunity to be reconciled to Him.
Our hope is in the same resurrection that was experienced by Jesus. We have hope in a bodily resurrection and eternity in heaven with Jesus. We also have hope in spending eternity with everyone else in our lives who follow Jesus.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV
There is hope and joy and peace in Jesus, both in our time here and after death.
We don’t have to work to do all the right things before we can receive His forgiveness. He did all the right things on our behalf and He offers forgiveness to all who believe in Him.
“Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man [Jesus] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.” Acts 13: 38 – 39 ESV
Many will tell you that following Jesus is restrictive, but what He actually offers is freedom. Freedom from blame, freedom from guilt, freedom from fear, anxiety, sin and death. Freedom from eternal separation from God.
When you accept Jesus, you free yourself from searching for meaning in other things that do not fulfill. Wealth, fame, reputation, sex, relationships, education, beauty, health, family… these can all be wonderful things, but ultimate meaning comes from relationship with the one who made you.
“Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” – St. Augustine
There is hope for the hopeless, rest for the weary, wholeness for the broken, forgiveness for the guilty. No matter what we have done, or not done, you can come to Him just as you are.
The song by Crowder called Come as You Are sums up this idea beautifully:
This is why we and so many others are passionate about following Jesus.
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
Most of us tend to focus on the exclusivity of this statement rather than think about whether or not it’s true. Truth, by its very nature, is exclusive. If a statement is true, its denial cannot also be true. Don’t let your hangup with the exclusivity claims of Jesus prevent you from experiencing His truth.
Christians and churches will fail you. Friends and families and spouses will fail you. Jesus will not. Consider His claims and decide what you will do with them based on Him, not the failures of others.
May God bless you on your journey.
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The following videos are a great start if you want to hear more about what it means to accept Jesus:
(*) Resources for answers to philosophical, historical, scientific and logical questions about Christianity, God, Jesus and the Bible: Click Here