As I’m writing today it is the beginning of Holy Week, the week when the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Prayer and arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, the trial, the crucifixion, burial, the Resurrection, and the discovery of the empty tomb are celebrated by Christians worldwide. The celebrations look different, depending on the church and country, but for all it is a time to reflect on the enormity of what Jesus did.
For some people, it is just another holiday to celebrate. In the US, most people attend church on Easter with their families, enjoy a large dinner and fill Easter baskets for the children with chocolate bunnies and toys. Candy filled plastic eggs are hidden for a search by the eager youngsters. Often these Easter egg hunts are hosted by community organizations with no ties to any religion. We’ve gotten so used to celebrated holidays that the real religious significance is overlooked, much like Christmas.
Last week, I was sorting out some books in my office and came across one entitled “Why Jesus?” It is a great book written by the apologist Ravi Zaccharias, but it made me ponder for a moment the question; “Why NOT Jesus?” I mean, why not believe in Jesus?
As some of you know I am a Christian apologist, as well as a writer. So, giving answers like why NOT Jesus is right up my alley. That is, after studying for my Masters in apologetics, I really can not understand anyone who does not believe that Jesus is the Savior, who died and rose again. The history, not just from the Bible, but other historical sources, is just too true not to believe. Yet, many still continue to resist the idea. Its like believing the earth is still flat, despite the evidence to the contrary.
I suspect, the reason why so many resist Jesus is because of their encounters with His followers, not with the evidence for the historic Jesus. Or it might also be that they like it when they agree with one of Jesus’ teachings, but not all of them. They like to pick and choose which ones to follow and which ones to ignore. It’s like they enjoy the chocolate Easter candy, I mean who doesn’t?, but they do not like the Easter story. It’s too complicated. They fear that they are not good enough, like God won’t love them or approve of their life choices. Or they fear they might have to give up one of their bad habits, you know the stuff God calls sin.
So , they enjoy celebrating for the chocolate, the food and the party, but do not commit to Jesus. Sadly, they miss that Jesus died for those sins, the ones they think God doesn’t see or is mad at them. They miss the big picture of what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t die for perfect church going people, He died and rose for those who fall short- way short- like me. His death demonstrates just how much God, Yahweh, loves us and the lengths He will go to redeeming us, coming down from Heaven and taking on the physical body, dying a real physical death, but defeating death by resurrecting. Jesus is not in the tomb, He is living. Christians do not follow a dead guru, like other religions, but a living God.
Or maybe they let the fear of change keep them from trusting Him completely. Instead they want to continue in this tension between trying to live this life on their own, without the secure knowledge of what happens after we die, and with the letting go of their trying and uncertainty and trust Jesus’ death and resurrection for themselves.
This world has enough tension already, so why live in this tense state? Why not trust Jesus this Easter and experience your own death to life spiritual transformation, instead of coming to the party just for the chocolate?
The writer of Hebrews offers this hope; “So also Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await Him.” (Hebrews 9:28, Berean Study Bible)
And the apostle Paul adds; “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)
So, let me ask again what are you waiting for? Why not Jesus?- God Bless – Nancy