I sometimes wonder how well Jesus would be received if He came to the earth in this day and age. I’m not talking about His promised Second Coming, but rather if He and His message were being heard for the first time right now. The gospels tell us that He ruffled quite a few feathers in the religious establishment back then. So many in fact that those very same ‘religious’ leaders plotted to have Him killed. I hope we as leaders who follow Him would be less territorial; yet even so I’m sure there would be many meetings of church boards and committees formed to discuss what was going on!
I’m more intrigued to know how every day folks would receive His message in this enlightened time. His message of love and forgiveness resonated with many when He walked the earth; so much so that we are still talking about Him 2000 years later! Would it today? After all, Jesus didn’t teach a complicated system. It can be boiled down to this: Love and obey God, love others, and be as forgiving as you have been forgiven.
The Good News of salvation because of His death and resurrection is straight forward. It is just as straight forward when dealing with sin. That’s where I think the greatest resistance would be today. Jesus taught that sin was an affront to God; it is what keeps us separated from Him on an eternal basis if it is not dealt with by trusting in Christ’s forgiveness for salvation.
It is here that I believe today’s culture would take exception to what Jesus was telling them. You see, the things that are going on in our society aren’t all that different from the vices and problems people had 2000 years ago. Granted, life seems to happen at a faster pace now than it did then, but that doesn’t change the basic things still confronting people. We may call them different things and certainly technology puts all sorts of things out there in the moment, but the condition that plagues humankind now is the same as it was then.
What is that condition? The seeking of gratification of our desires above all other things. Frequently, these things are not in line with what God has in mind for us. When we follow these unhealthy desires, we are then in disobedience to God. In a word, we sin. Generally, our culture doesn’t like that word. What current society champions is that individuals have the right to do whatever and whenever he or she chooses is. Scripture would define this attitude as selfishness.
We as humans have gained almost immeasurable wisdom over time. Our understanding of how things work, the progress in science and medicine have made our lives quite comfortable in many ways. Unfortunately, I do not believe we have learned how to consistently put the needs of others before our wants. Nowhere does this seem more evident than in our society’s embracing of the breakdown of traditional sexual values. Current culture calls this being progressive and open. But these thoughts are a contradiction to what Jesus taught, hence my belief that He would meet considerable opposition if He were bringing His message of obedience to the Father to the world today.
Today’s ‘anything goes’ mentality has become so pervasive that it seems to ostracize someone like myself and others like me, who proclaim as unchanging truth what the Bible teaches. God clearly states in the Book of Genesis that He created humankind male and female and that marriage was to be a union of the two into one. The physical aspect of biblical marriage is designed to not only have us pro-create but also to have it be such a pleasurable act! How far we have fallen from our Maker’s plan for marriage and His over all desire for us to live in peace under His headship.
This is but one example of the ever-widening gap between what is acceptable in today’s world and what God intends for people who willingly follow His decrees. As I look at the places where I minister, I see much pain, disillusionment and despair. Much of the pain and suffering I am called to bring comfort to is the result of lives lived, and choices made, that are outside of God’s desires. If I were to see that current lifestyle choices were bringing true peace and happiness, I might re-consider my stance on biblical truth.
However, it is not happening; and because I know that our God is a God of love, I will continue, with His help and to the best of my ability, to minister that godly love at every opportunity. One of the ways I do this is to gently explain that God has not arbitrarily set up rules for our conduct, but rather He has only our best interest at heart. The lifestyle God wants us to live is good for us!
Please know that I hold no judgment against anyone who is caught up in the lies of today’s society. I am simply to follow the example Jesus gave, to minister His love to folks right where they are in hopes that they can come to experience the freedom His truth is all about.
I started this blog out wondering how Jesus’ message of love would be received today if He were to be delivering it personally. History shows that mankind, for the most part, has refused to embrace the call of obedience to the Word of God. People, having not really changed much over the millennia, would undoubtedly harbor the same doubts that they did when Jesus walked the earth.
Don’t let this dissuade you! I believe the power of God to transform lives is still active today. I know this to be true because He did it for me! It is that hope that there are others who will receive the loving forgiveness of the Savior that motivates me each day. Jesus has already come to deliver the message of salvation. I need only be a carrier of that hope and in so doing let others see that the power of God is readily available, for everyone!