No matter where you turn these days it seems everybody is talking about religion or faith. Even those who boast of no religion are talking about religion. Now, as a minister this should be good news. Nobody is more interested in good news than a minister.
So, it may seem a little shocking to some people to find out that I'm not as excited about this as some people are.
Sure, I'm all for talking about faith and religion out in the marketplace, so to speak. Personally, I think it rather important to talk about these issues and let people know the benefits of faith. And, I'm not afraid of comparing religions.
I must confess I am not a little bit amused by some; particularly those in television journalism who talk about faith and religion quite learnedly, as if they knew what they were talking about. Listening to these journalists talk about religion and faith is like listening to a thief lecture on the virtues of honesty. It's all right for other people but don't get personal about it.
Several years back one journalist did a TV documentary, The Search for the Real Jesus. In this television special the journalist, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, treated Jesus as though he was the abominable snowman or the Loch Ness monster of Scottish fame or the next Democrat president.
This journalist had no idea of what he was really looking for.
Lately, in New York City (where else could this happen) somebody unveiled a chocolate statue of a nude Jesus. What I want to know is where do people get inspiration for things like this? Willy Wonka?
I have not seen the statue except for clips on television. I'm not sure why people think this is the statue of Jesus for the simple fact there are no photographs of what Jesus looked like. Anyone who thinks they know what Jesus looks like is highly suspect of any moral stability.
In the interest of fair play, I would like to make a suggestion here. If they want to do the chocolate statue of Jesus, they should also do similar statues of other religious leaders.
For example, I recommend a caramel statue of Buddha, a fudge statue of Muhammad, and for the atheist I recommend a cotton candy statue of the Joker of Batman fame (we just might find the Joker's real joke).
Most People's idea of Jesus Christ is a combination of folklore, superstition and guesswork. Very little of it is rooted in verifiable truth. For one, they begin by tossing away the Bible as irrelevant, a blatantly irreverent thing to do.
Nobody does this in other areas of investigation. If someone were going to investigate the life of William Shakespeare, for example, they would not throw away the works of Shakespeare. In fact, that's exactly where they would begin.
Imagine someone writing the biography of William Shakespeare and completely disregarding the established facts about him? Nobody would take that investigator seriously.
If anybody wants to know anything about Jesus Christ, the first place to start is the Bible. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out.
Many people today have a variety of misconceptions about Jesus. They portray him as colorless, harmless and almost apologize for him. Most people's idea of Jesus is that he is something of a milquetoast personality. Nothing could be further from the gospel truth.
Where people get this idea is beyond me. Just a casual reading of the Bible would bring a person to the opposite conclusion. If Jesus Christ would suddenly appear to the average person, and by that I mean a television journalist, it would be the most shocking thing that person would ever experience.
When the apostle John saw Jesus on the isle of Patmos he had a different reaction. "And when I saw him (Jesus), I fell at his feet as dead." (Revelation 1: 17 KJV.)
A recent movie perpetuates this misconception of Jesus Christ. Sure, there was a time, a brief time, when Jesus allowed men to beat and humiliate him. There was a point in history when Jesus allowed himself to be crucified as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
Because of that, many people think he still is that way. Consequently, people's view of Christ is one of sympathy. What they don't realize is that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead on the third day and is now sitting at a right hand of God the Father. This is the gospel.
If anybody wants to know what Jesus Christ is like now, read what John saw as he recorded it in Revelation 1:13-16.
"And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
This is a picture of the resurrected Christ in all his heavenly glory. Suddenly to encounter him would cause any man or woman to fall on their face in worship.
James L. Snyder is an award winning author and popular columnist living with his wife, Martha, in Ocala, Florida and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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