What if Jesus turned out to be just a normal guy? Or worse, just another crackpot with a messiah complex and a lust for power and a flair for theatrics?
What would you do (as a believer or not) if proof arose that, instead of being the son of God, he turned out to be nothing more than the son of . . . Joseph.
That’s a question we eventually all face, whether you ever cross the line of faith or not. In fact the entire past, present and future of Christianity rests on the answer to that very question. But I’m not wanting to instigate a major philosophical debate here. I’m talking more personally.
What would you do? Would anything change about the way you live your life? Right now, today? Why, or why not? Do you think living the way Jesus asks us to live is nothing more than a “get out of hell free” card? Or more of a moral compass? Or a waste of time?
I’ve been thinking about what it means to have “faith like the disciples” lately. That’s a popular topic among some Christian circles; having “faith like the disciples”. I think that’s also a very unfair comparison and/or expectation for today’s believers to aspire to. Sure, we’ve been given the Bible, and I’m sure we can spout volumes of historical documentation to the truthfulness within those pages. But we weren’t alive during those times. The Gospels–in fact most all of the New Testament books–were written by first hand eye-witnesses to the life and times of Jesus. Imagine the awe and wonder of being one of Jesus’ disciples, or even being one of those people healed by Jesus or one of the children blessed by Him. How much easier would it have been to witness all these signs and miracles and believe that Christ was exactly who He says He was. And yet today we’re supposed to have faith like that?
That’s a pretty tall mountain, don’t you think?
Here’s a scenario I think resonates more deeply with people today, whether you have any kind of faith in Christ or not . . .
Imagine being a disciple of Christ the day after his crucifixion.
How’s your faith now?
The one, or the One, who you’ve put all your belief in, all your faith and hopes, has just died . . .
. . . Like a normal guy.
NOW what do you think, believe, or hope for?
Even before He died, while he was still on His way to the cross, Peter was all, “No, I’m not with him! I don’t even know him!” Three different times! (How often have we ever done that?)
Imagine, after His death, the trust and conviction necessary to keep believing that Jesus truly was who He said He was. Could you do it? Did they? Do you think there may have been a few doubts? A few questions? Maybe a little anger? Disillusionment?
I do. It sounds kind of like me sometimes.
I mean, how could you not? The disciples were human after all, and Jesus was supposed to be . . . God! Now He’s dead. How hard must it have been to maintain the level of faith and belief they had when He was alive? To maintain any faith at all?
Like C.S. Lewis has said, Jesus either was exactly who He said He was; the Son of God: Or he was a lunatic; a crackpot with a messiah complex and a lust for power and a flair for theatrics.
He didn’t leave room for anything else.
He wasn’t just a “nice guy”. If He isn’t who He says He is, look how many people he misled . . . and continues to mislead to this very day.
He wasn’t just another prophet. You don’t lay claim to be the Son of God, the Messiah and the king of the Jews as just another prophet.
You and I have a choice, as does everyone, as to whether He is who He claimed or not.
No, I’m pretty sure I don’t have the faith of a first century disciple, unless you want to talk about that first day or two after Christ’s death. But I guess even having “some” faith is the whole basis of belief in the first place. As long as it doesn’t end up being the sum total of your life’s quest for answers. “Some” faith is a good starting point for further growth; a further seeking of answers.
And you and I have a choice.
And you’re to have the faith like a disciple.
And it’s the day after He was crucified. Now . . .
What would Jesus you do?