Have you ever heard someone start a sentence with, “The problem with Jesus is…?” Have you realized that every nation, race and culture believes in God, but somehow has a problem with Jesus Christ? Have you ever wondered why that is? If you’re like me, you’ve noticed this phenomenon as well. Thinking about why that might be, led me to get back to writing this post.
For months now, I’ve been pondering upon this seemingly vast and sudden outbreak of what I’d like to call GWBCD’s (God Worshippers but Christ Denouncers). I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the issues that may be making people more comfortable to say they follow or believe in God, but less comfortable with His son Jesus Christ. Some of the key reasons why I believe many have a problem with Jesus Christ are:
- He was a man.
- He was the Son of God.
- He rose from the dead.
- When following Christ, the one true Son of God, you have to be accountable for your actions.
So, let’s break these things down, shall we. Throughout history, whether written or oral, there has been some form of record keeping. Along with keeping records, comes a census that lets everyone know who was born and what area they were from. In the beginning of Matthew 1, we find the ancestry of Jesus Christ dating all the way back to Abraham. Yup, that same Abraham, the father of Issac and Jacob, the one who was married to Sarah, the one who God promised he and his descendants an inheritance, and so forth and so on. Thanks to the detailed family tree seen in Matthew 1 and the stories preceded before then, we know that each person was in fact once a living, walking, breathing human being. Since human beings reproduce, Jesus was in fact born to his parents Mary and Joesph.
“This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1:18 NLT)
In reading this, we see that though Christ was born as a male human being, He was conceived spiritually. Now science tells us that the most natural way possible to conceive a child is if a man and a woman have sexual intercourse. There are other ways a woman can get pregnant, in vitro, sperm donation, etc., but they all lead to one conclusion — the female’s egg must be fertilized by a male’s sperm. So, since Mary was a virgin, how did she conceive? Again, she conceived by way of the Holy Spirit of God.
“Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”” (Matthew 1:19-21 NLT)
As we can see, like many, Joesph, too, thought this magnificent act of God strange and implausible at first. However, in accordance with his faith in the all powerful, Almighty God, he believed that such an act / miracle could actually be achieved. While you may think this is strange, answer me this question, if science says that a woman can only conceive via the above methods I listed in the previous paragraph, then why is it that women who try those methods still have a hard time conceiving, with some not conceiving at all? Along with that, how is it possible a woman who is told by doctors that she can never, ever have children, somehow finds herself one day pregnant, birthing and raising those same children the doctors said she couldn’t have? #SorryNotSorry scientists, but it’s called a miracle, people! So, if you think about it in this sense, is it still so hard to believe that Mary, a virgin, conceived a child and named him Jesus Christ?
“My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” (Isaiah 53:2 NLT)
Moving right along and leaving you to ponder on the notions above, another problem I believe people have with Jesus Christ is the fact that He lived, bled, died as a mortal man and rose from the dead three days later. In our natural minds, having seen so many people live, die and not come back to life, it’s hard for many to fathom this supernatural idea that a person can comeback from the dead. The only way that our society can cope with this idea is by labeling “the walking dead” as zombies.
BREAKING NEWS: I interrupt this regularly scheduled programming to inform you that Jesus Christ is NOT a zombie! I repeat, JESUS CHRIST IS NOT A ZOMBIE!… That is all!
Yup, Jesus Christ is, in fact, alive! Yes, he was brutally, viciously attacked and strung up on a cross to die like a rag doll being dragged across the floor as a hungry dog’s chew toy. Yes, he died from those injuries, but as it was foretold in Isaiah 53 and later corroborated by eye witness reports in Mark 16, He, in fact, rose from the dead and was seen by people walking around alive and well.
“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.” (Isaiah 53:7-9 NLT)
“After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.
Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.
Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.” (Mark 16:9, 12, 14 NLT)
When He rose from the dead, He didn’t have deep, gruesome, shallow eye sockets and walk around foaming at the mouth. He wasn’t scaly with a bunch of holes in His face and arms from chewing on himself like Hollywood portrays. Though the guards who stood watch and tormented Him ripped off His clothing at His unjustly execution, when He ascended into heaven, He wasn’t wearing torn, dirty garments. Instead, as described in the Bible,
“His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.” (Matthew 28:3 NLT)
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I guess the only question left to pose is the same as stated long ago,
“Why does it seem incredible to any of you that God can raise the dead?” (Acts of the Apostles 26:8 NLT)
As you ponder upon that one as well, let’s get back to the last bullet point, shall we? Wait a second… This just in… Hot off the presses:
#NEWSFLASH: You don’t have to be perfect in order to follow Jesus! Now, back to you, A.G.
Thank you self, LOL! Yup, you read the above statement correctly! With regards to the last bullet point, when following Jesus Christ, you don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be accountable for your actions. While you do not have to be perfect in order to follow Jesus, you must try to be accountable in the way you live your life. What this means is that people should see Jesus in you by the way you act, walk, talk, think and treat other people (cue Mary Mary’s song, “God In Me”). Religion teaches that if you live and abide by the law, then you will reach salvation. Contrary to that popular belief, Jesus came to debunk those religious teachings.
“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”” (Matthew 22:37-40 NLT)
The whole point of God sending His one and only beloved son Jesus Christ was to save us from ourselves, to help us understand our roles in this world, to know what God expects from us, and to save us the headache of being constrained to the confines of the rules. Before Jesus, each sin committed was counted by God one-by-one. In order to be forgiven, you had to make a blood sacrifice. Can you imagine every single time you mess up or make a mistake, it being counted towards your overall eternal score? I don’t know about you, but I mess up A LOT and as a vegan, I couldn’t fathom slaughtering a bunch of animals every year in hopes to have my soul be forgiven for all eternity. So, thank you Jesus for your sacrifice!
Anyways, I kinda got carried away there for a second, the difference now is by following Jesus, we are made whole and forgiven for our past transgressions. Now in my life, I don’t have to worry about making sacrificial offerings because my faith in God shows in how I live my life. Knowing and identifying my faults, being aware of my flaws and holding myself accountable for my actions in the past, present and moving forward is how I do this.
“The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT)
Identifying triggers, people, places and things keeps me accountable in the way I operate and live my life. Just as a diet, knowing what to consume and what not to consume is the key to accountability. I know hanging around certain people or places isn’t conducive to my current health; therefore, I make every effort to not affiliate or associate with those things / people. To put it plainly, I’ll give you an example.
Growing up, I always felt nervous, shy and awkward being in large groups of people. Once I got to college, when I would go out partying / clubbing with friends, I would partake in alcohol consumption to control my anxiety and fear. I would drink until I felt lose and inebriated. That freedom the alcohol gave me helped cope with my discomfort in public settings. Once I stopped drinking, I realized going to clubs / parties put me back in that same anxious, uncomfortable state and left me with two choices: get a drink or go home. So, I left the club scene. Upon leaving that life behind, I was able to take a hard look at myself. I began identifying my problems with public settings and found a better way to cope with my anxiety without the need of alcohol. Also, having given up that life, I’ve found those old circle of friends or people I hung out with, wasn’t meshing well with my personal and spiritual growth. I didn’t find the club fun anymore; therefore, I didn’t fit in with those crowds of people anymore. It’s like the old saying goes, “When you know better, you do better!”
“Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5 NLT)
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14 NLT)
“And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,” (Titus 2:12 NLT)
So, I’m surely glad that there’s a man, perfectly created by God, that took the weight of all of my mistakes, hung them out on the cross with Him, died and rose again bringing a renewed aroma to life. It’s refreshing to know that no matter how broken we are, how much “sinning” we’ve done, how many hearts we’ve broken or those who have broken ours, nor how many mistakes we make on our journey in life, through Christ we are made anew. An even bigger bonus: God still loves us and accepts us just the way we are. You should shout, “Hallelujah!,” for that revelation!
So, I hope I helped debunk some of the mysteries surrounding Jesus Christ. Yes, He was born a man. Yes, He is the Son of God. Yes, He died and ascended into heaven. No, He’s not a zombie! Yes, He wants us to be accountable for our lives. No, you don’t have to be perfect in order to believe in and follow Him. As always, I want to encourage you to dive into the word of God for yourself. The Bible can teach you so much more about the love that God has for you and who Jesus Christ really is. It’s time for you to understand what Christ has to offer for yourself. If I’m being quite honest, the best thing I could’ve ever done for myself was invest in me by purposely dedicating time towards self healing and reading the word of God. Once I started getting into a rhythm of consistency, thanks in part to the YouVersion Bible app giving me options to choose translations that help comprehend the words clearer, I began to see and understand the true character of Christ and my place in His Kingdom. You can learn a lot by picking up a book and the best book to read is the one that started them all!
Sincerely with love,
Travel photography by IG user: @kardinalmelon