The problem with explaining Christ

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IN SPIRIT
By Bob Walters

 

It seems much easier to believe in Jesus Christ than to explain Jesus Christ.

Or perhaps that’s backward … it’s easier to explain what Jesus is than to believe what Christ came to do.

Or perhaps both are missing the point.

The truth is, neither explaining nor will believing in Jesus Christ sufficiently attach our lives to the eternal glory of God. Nor will our explaining and believing persuade a skeptical outside world of Christ’s mission, goodness, grace and truth. The world insists on proof, generally distrusts faith and – saying “Thanks anyway, I have my own” – mostly shuns the existence of God’s perfect, ultimate, glorifying truth.

As much as we Christians are called – and ache, really – to explain, to share and to persuade others of the importance of a life in Christ, explaining and believing won’t get the job done. My favorite professor in college taught philosophy and could explain seemingly anything, but made it abundantly clear he didn’t actually believe in anything. And we all know simply “to believe” in Jesus is not a final answer: Satan has more belief in and understanding of who Jesus is than any of us possibly could (Matthew 4:1-11). Even atheists can explain, and even Satan believes.

What, then, sets a Christian apart as an effective witness for Christ? Let’s consider the example of Jesus’ witness for himself.

Jesus spent very little of his time on earth trying to explain who he was. Many asked, including the demon-possessed man (Matthew 12:23), Pharisees (Matthew 16:1), Sanhedrin priests (Matthew 26:63), Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:11), even his own disciples (Mark 8:27). Jesus mostly answered either with shrewd parables, questions or some elusive form of “It is as you say.”

Jesus knew who he was, and made every effort to show others – by his actions, answers and miracles – he was “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6) of God Almighty. Jesus referred to God as “My Father,” but to himself as the “Son of Man.” Jesus kept his earthly focus on glorifying God with his actions, not on explaining himself with his words.

Certainly, we are “to be prepared to … give a reason for the hope that you have,” (1 Peter 3:15), but a Christian’s joy, trust, faith, hope, love, peace, patience, kindness, perseverance … and belief … can all be explained in two words: Jesus Christ.

What’s easier, simpler and truer than that?

 

Walters (www.commonchristianity.blogspot.com) observes that much of the world shuns Jesus who saves, and accommodates Satan who destroys. Talk about “backward.”

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