No matter how compassionate; no matter how dedicated; no matter how well-meaning a doctor is: if the protocol he is following with an acutely ill patient is not the correct treatment for the disease; that patient will still die.
So it is with our world, I think.
People are searching. They want to know what this life is all about. They can see the beauty in the world, but they can also see the brokenness. And they wonder how it got this way and if there’s anything they can do to fix it. I’ve asked these questions. You probably have too, and as you’ve probably discovered, there’s no shortage of answers.
The problem is, most of these solutions don’t address the heart issue. Our world isn’t messed up because of a lack of social programs, or a deficit of tolerance, or a failure to get in touch with our inner child through transcendental meditation. Our world is messed up because every single one of us has a terminal case of sin sickening our hearts and minds and it causes us to do some really awful things to one another.
We can try hard to be a better person in an infinite number of ways, but it’s like throwing a band-aid on a gaping wound. It won’t solve the root problem. So what is the answer? Well, the Bible tells us Christ’s death on the cross in our place is literally the only rescue from our great dilemma. We must place our faith in him and repent of our sins. This is how we are made right with God and pass from death to life.
Why believe what Jesus when he says he is the only way to the Father? Our only chance of reconciliation with God and a future in heaven? Our only hope of a new heart here on earth that desires to obey God and love others as ourselves?
Because that dude died and then walked out of his grave three days later, proving he was who he said he was.
Many have claimed to be God. Only one put his drachmas where his mouth was.
Listen to what Paul says:
1 Corinthians 15:3-9
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, as though I had been born at the wrong time, I also saw him. For I am the least of all the apostles. In fact, I’m not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God’s church.”
Paul had been on zealous mission to eradicate this Christian faith (think Die Hard with a Yarmulke) when he encountered Christ Jesus on the road to Damascus and was dramatically converted. He spent the rest of his life proclaiming the gospel. He goes on to say:
1 Corinthians 15:17-23
And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless and you are still guilty of your sins. In that case, all who have died believing in Christ are lost! And if our hope in Christ is only for this life, we are more to be pitied than anyone in the world. But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.
Guys. Jesus is the only way because he was telling the truth. And there were lots of eyewitnesses to corroborate the story. This is why it is so, so important to get this right! Because if Jesus has proved he is God, that means we have to take the rest of what he says seriously! If you reject Christ, it doesn’t matter how many puppies you adopt and drive around in your electric car. You can be totally sincere, but if you’re sincerely wrong, the outcome will be the same. If you reject Jesus, you will stand in front of God and you will be judged on your own righteousness. And you will go to hell. I hate saying that, but it would be unkind and unloving to lie about it.
Guys. It’s not me saying this. It’s what Jesus said. The one who loves us so much he went willingly to be tortured and die on the cross to save us from our sin. The one who got up again and proved he could.
Jesus will never prescribe us anything other than himself for our condition because, quite simply, nothing else will work.
I am thankful for Christmas. Because without it, we’d be utterly lost.
Love you guys.