When Jesus is speaking to the crowds, or His disciples, or His close group of Apostles, so often I think, what does that mean?? And the Gospel makes clear that they are often as perplexed as I am. Although, these were a people educated in the ways of the Torah and the Prophets and they were on the lookout for their Messiah in a much more acute way that the average Joe today so perhaps I don’t give them enough credit. Yet even when He speaks out, plain and clear, on matters of messianic importance, not in the more difficult parables, He is not necessarily understood.
At the end of today’s Gospel, Saint John writes that as Christ spoke that He came from the Father and the Father was with him, and He was acting in accordance with the Father, that many believed Him. This was clear: Christ was stating He is the Son of God. And that without believing this, we are going to die in our sins and not be saved.
In today’s world, this means Christ wasn’t a nice historical figure, a Jew crucified over whom many rioted and a new religion was founded. He wasn’t a wise man with good pinterestable lines about love and kindness. As a good evangelical friend of mine told me years ago, Christ was either Lord, liar, or lunatic. I choose Lord. We can’t parse Him into something more new-agey and inside our comfortable conversation with non-believers. Jesus? Oh, yes, He had some lovely things to say about loving your neighbor.
He’s all or nothing.
He’s the judge, the forgiver of sins, the lamb, the redeemer, or He’s just a nut. He made some outrageous claims. He stepped up and said He was the one they had been waiting for, the Messiah, Son of the Living God. He said without Him, we are not free from our sins.
What is He in your life? What is He in mine? Is He Lord God? Or is He simply Buddy Christ. Does evil exist and are we choosing to make choices that divide us from our God, i.e., sin, or are we all just getting along and going along? How radical of a believer are you?
Today let’s go all in. Christ is Our Lord. Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Get on fire for Him. What’s holding you back?
Nell O’Leary is an attorney turned stay-at-home mom to three lovelies. She and her husband live in the great city of Saint Paul. You can find out more about her here.