This is Day Fourteen of Christ Church Manchester’s lent devotionals, where we are breaking down the book of John. Written by Andrew Dowdeswell.
John 7: 25 – 52:
The old CS Lewis musing goes something like this: Jesus is either mad, bad or the Son of God. It’s up to us to come to an informed and insightful decision on who we believe Him to be.
The point is that Jesus did truly exist. He did truly walk on Earth 2000 years ago. He did truly proclaim that He was the Messiah, coming to give forgiveness of sins and bringing new life. He did truly interact with those around Him: the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees, the gentiles, the tax collectors, the Romans and the Greeks.
That is something that, believer or unbeliever, is an undisputed fact.
What is not so set in stone is whether what Jesus claimed about himself was indeed representative of the truth. Lewis states that either Jesus was lying – and thereby bad – speaking in full knowledge that he was not the saviour that He revealed himself as and as many believed him to be; that Jesus was mentally unwell – mad – wholly believing these apparent ‘truths’ about Himself, even though they were false characteristics; or that he was indeed who He said He was: the Son of God.
We see in John 7 that, very much like today, there are many different interpretations of Jesus’ teachings regarding His own identity. This very sectioned is titled: “Division over who Jesus is”.
That is a very powerful and poignant message. In a society that is becoming increasingly secular, growing more and more individualised, departing further and further from the teachings of Jesus, distancing itself from the idea of a deity in the sky, it is a given that when we proclaim the name of Jesus as God, there will be division and opposition.
That does not mean that we should roll over, admitting that, as much of society would have you claim: ‘everyone has their own truth’; ‘truth is personal to each and every man and woman’; or ‘this is my opinion and that’s yours and both are equally valid’.
However, it does mean that we should not be surprised if people disagree with our beliefs. We should respect their opinion, love them as God’s children but also be willing to be steadfast and unwavering regarding the identity of Jesus Christ.
It is a fine line to tread; one that I will get wrong more times than right. But in bringing Jesus to the world, it is something we will face and must be prepared to deal with. Thankfully for us, God’s on our side.
Written by:Andy Dowdeswell