There's a thingy on internet that's easily accessible called "Words of Christ". It's on the sidebar of my blog, and I repost the daily words of Jesus most nights on Facebook. Here's a recent verse that brought on a question that I tried to answer from my own experience and from trying to know Jesus and follow him:
"Words of Christ": And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am [Christ]; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. (Luke 21:8)
The Facebook comment read: "After reading this, I wonder why the people that practice Judiasm believe Jesus was a profit. If he clearly says he is the son of God, then they should either believe it totally or reject him totally. Am I right?"
My answer: Hard question. Thank the Lord for Bible Gateway.
I believe it is a clear choice, and each person must find his or her own answer.
I searched "thou art the Christ". All 4 gospels had something to say:
Jesus Christ, Jesus is the Christ, Jesus is the Christ - the son of God, Christ, the Savior of the world, the Christ of God, Christ the Son of God, Christ the Lord, the name of the Father - and of the Son- and of the Holy Ghost, Christ, the Son of the living God.
That brash, man's man, Peter, spoke out when Jesus asked "Who do YOU say I am?" Peter said "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
It's a very personal, individual decision.
Jesus said "... this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."
I read once that Luther finally concluded that salvation is exclusively by God, and that all man can do is want salvation, and even the wanting comes from God.
For me personally, it's a matter of heart, by faith, by hope, by love.
This earthly existence pulls us so hard. We trust in earthly life and these frail bodies. I've been blessed by a few health problems. Illness has strengthened my belief that Jesus is the only way. I've read the Bible and respect it. I love to analyze and dissect. I love to argue and discuss - hoping to bring more clarity to myself and others. I love words and their means to communicate.
The Bible is important, but without the guidance of the Holy Spirit who speaks to our hearts and our inner selves, all the words of the whole world are meaningless.
Getting back to your comment, you have put the finger on a religious confusion that's alive in the world, and, sadly, alive in many churches. Being a good Jew is not the same as being a Christian - a follower of Christ, the Son of the Living God.
Many, if not most, who heard Jesus were Jews and had been taught in the Jewish tradition by the religious experts (the preachers, if you will). In John 6 we find the words "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?" In verse 66 it says "From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him."
The temptation of Bible study, church life, and trying to walk better each day is to become a Pharisee, to become one of those people who Jesus criticized most. I know. I lived it. The temptation continues.
After so many words...
YES. It is a clear choice. We don't mealy mouth and beat around the bush with Jesus. We must accept Him or reject him. Simple, but hard. No in between. No being lukewarm.
Jesus is the good news, the gospel. All scripture is profitable, but for beginners I recommend the book of John and the other three gospels, if he or she really wants to know Jesus and who He is. Read the rest of the Bible, too, but don't get lost and confused by anything that is not of Jesus.
Mrs. Perry in English class once quoted something like "I've written you a long letter because I don't have time to write you a short one."
William A. Ricks
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