When Jesus came to planet earth, He was received with mixed reviews. Some did receive Him. Many did not. Some accepted His teachings and were glad. Many heard and did not believe. Whatever the response was to Jesus, no opinion was neutral. His presence summoned a positive or negative response. Either you love Him or you don’t. Or worse, you try to kill Him.
This is still the case today. People may not have a strong opinion about Buddha but they do about Jesus. Jesus is either a stumbling stone or the Cornerstone. He must be one or the other. He must be worshiped or rejected, scorned or enjoyed.
The Apostle Paul spent many years scorning Jesus, competing with Jesus, frustrated with Jesus. This is what he calls himself in I Timothy 1, “…..formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” The change for Paul came through a revelation of Who Jesus is. Jesus is the only Way to the Father. Jesus does not get in our way to God. Jesus is the way to God. (I Timothy 2:5).
So then instead of stumbling over Jesus’ perfections, Paul accepted Jesus’ holiness given to Him as a gift. This catapulted His praises to God, His service of God, His adoration of the King of the ages, the immortal, invisible and only God. (I Timothy 1:17). He went from a persecutor to a proclaimer.
Do you think of Jesus as a way to God among other ways or do you think of Him as the only Way to God? Or perhaps put a better way: Have you ever set out to be good without first remembering that your only goodness is from and through and because of Him? Have you ever set out to please God without first accepting that God’s pleasure with us is because of what Christ did for us? I am guessing you have. I know I have.
The simple alternative to competing with Jesus is to rest in Jesus. He is our Lord, our Life, our Goodness, our Savior. He is strong and mighty to save. And He is on our side, in us, with us, for us not against us. With this kind of clear vision of Jesus, we will not stumble over His commands. We will run. (Psalm 119:32)
Happily learning to run with all of you,