Welcome back to our series based on Josh’s best-selling apologetics classic: More Than a Carpenter. If you’ve read the four January posts, then you’re up to speed on how Josh journeyed from diehard skeptic to stunned believer in the truth of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Josh then had to decide if he was willing to call Jesus “Savior.” For many, it’s a struggle.
The name “Jesus” seems to bother people, notes Josh. It embarrasses them, makes them angry, or makes them want to change the subject. You can talk about God, and people don’t necessarily get upset, but mention Jesus, and people want to stop the conversation. Why don’t the names of Buddha, Muhammad, or Confucius offend people the way the name of Jesus does?
Josh decided it’s because these religious figures didn’t claim to be God. Or present themselves as the single route to truth and salvation, as Jesus did. How exclusive! We humans like options, not restrictions. And who wants to humbly admit to being a “sinner” in need of forgiveness and restoration?
Our Truth Or God’s Truth?
These days, spirituality centers around subjective choice. Society champions cherry-picking: We’re encouraged to create a spiritual truth that personally “works” for us. The rest we get to breezily reject. God is seemingly findable here, there, and everywhere, in the flavor we like best. The reality, though, is that our personal “truth” will never trump God’s unchanging truth, simply because we’re not God.
Josh once claimed that Christianity, God, and Jesus were a joke that only “dimwits” should accept. So committed was he to these claims, that in college he took aggressively mocked Christians. He delighted in pushing Christian students to doubt their faith. As some faltered, Josh cemented his stance that Christianity’s foundation is shaky, if not outright fantasy.
But in the months Josh spent researching the truth of Jesus’ resurrection — when the facts became more than he could comfortably push aside and still consider himself “intellectually honest” — Josh had to admit that he was wrong. The facts did point to Jesus having supernaturally resurrected, as His early followers claimed. And if Jesus was God in human form, then what Jesus taught about God is unchanging truth.
In accepting that Jesus is God — the “infinite and perfect spirit in whom all things have their source, support, and end” as theologian Augustus H. Strong put it, Josh finally could understand why the students who challenged him to disprove Christianity could claim Jesus as the source of their consistent hope and joy. Because they followed Him, they could confidently answer, “Who am I? Why am I here? Where am I going?”
Some people choose to worship a deity with the head of an elephant. Others the head of a dog. Christians believe in a God so mighty that He refuses to be reduced to a recognizable form. His coming to us in human form was so we could tangibly grasp the great love, compassion, and mercy He has for us. The Creator of all invites us into an eternal, personal relationship with Him!
Accepting Jesus as a great teacher, compassionate healer, or even a revolutionary isn’t all that hard for most people. It’s accepting that God chose to be born to a virgin (!), in a smelly stable (!), to an ordinary family (!), to then die a humiliating and agonizing death to supposedly cover our sin (!) that they reject. Why would God show up so … weak? As Josh once did, many choose to set themselves as judge and jury of how God should show up to prove His existence and authority over all.
In rejecting God, some say, “I don’t need a savior” … “I’m the boss of my life, not God” … “Christianity is irrelevant in modern society” … “I can’t follow a God who allows so much evil in the world.” Josh similarly found such excuses intellectually solid, until he recognized this life-changing truth:
Nowhere else will we find the unconditional love, compassion, understanding, and connection that we innately crave daily. We can fight God’s preeminence, or get offended at the sacrifice Jesus made for us. But Jesus is the truth that changes everything for us.
Like that group of Christian students, Josh finally recognized that he’d found the stability he’d long been chasing. Stay on this journey with us. There’s so much more to discover about Jesus!
Jesus: He’s More Than a Carpenter!
> FREE download: Read the first chapter of Josh’s bestseller, More Than a Carpenter. You can buy the book here.
> Watch how More Than a Carpenter changed one reader’s life AND set off a chain reaction that introduced many others to Jesus. That’s how the truth of God’s love is shared: person to person!
> Want to learn more about starting YOUR personal relationship with Jesus? Click here.