Kind of a Big Deal
Everywhere I travel, there seems to be an odd fascination with one man. His picture is all over the wall or the fridge; this is how I am tipped off that people are thinking and talking about this guy a lot. It’s not Crowie or Macca, the Raelerts, Andy Potts, or the Brownlee brothers. He’s been around a lot longer. It’s Jesus
In St. George, it’s the Mormons. In Birmingham, there are Protestants, and in Boise they are non-denominational. Why, even out East I still find the Mennonites in Lake Placid (or maybe those are orthodox Jews…anyways). One homestay host is a V.P., another a Ph. D in Biology, another a Ph. D in chemistry, yet another is a police officer, another is a college student. But the fascination still remains- it seems to traverse age, education level, socio-economic status, and occupation.
Jesus is kind of a big deal. Even in a sport that can consume our time, thoughts, and (especially) our cash, there is still a big interest in Jesus in the triathlon community- Pro, Age-grouper, volunteer, fan, and homestay host alike. We pray at Ironman banquets, and at Rev3 you hear worship music. Wildflower has Campus Crusade for Christ all over the place, and numerous Christian organizations are very active in triathlon- Fellowship of Christian athletes (FCA), Multisport Ministries, and Tri 4 Him to name a few. Consideration of who this man is or was cannot be easily dismissed.
Some say he was a good teacher. To that, Jesus replies, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” Some say he is useful for some people if they feel it helps them, but is not useful for others. To that, Jesus says, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” (emphasis mine). The repetition of “the” carries the same meaning we would ascribe it like when we call someone “the man” – terms like “supreme,” “preeminent,” the only thing that really counts,” or “kind of a big deal” could carry the same meaning. Following this, Jesus statement, concludes, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” If that isn’t a chilling statement, why did I just have to put my arm warmers on?
Still others think that Jesus is on his throne in heaven, angry at them, issuing commands and expectations, while offering no real help. To this Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” So just what is going on here, is Jesus demanding something or offering something? Because many are confused on this point.
Yet others assume that if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds, then Jesus will love them, accept them, and grant them admittance into His heaven. According to Jesus, this is the grossest distortion of them all. The gospel of Luke records:
He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.’I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'”I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
My point today is not to give a philosophical proof for the existence of God, or provide evidence that Jesus rose from the dead, or even to provide a clear explanation of the gospel. All these things I can and will do, but that is not my aim here. My simple question is, “do you really know Jesus?”, and my appeal to you is, “get to know the real Jesus.” Don’t rely on hearsay, rumor, or conjecture. Don’t even rely on what your parents, priests, or pastors told you when you as a kid. Go to the primary source documents. If you don’t know where to start, start with the Gospel of John.
“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” – John 3:17