There is an identity problem in our world that has led to great confusion. People are confused, not knowing who they are. They are searching for an identity, for a rock to stand on in a flooded stream. Some have went on journeys for the sole reason of “finding themselves” as if they were somewhere else. There are way too many poor, lost, wandering souls who are alienated from God’s original design and created identity.
Identity in the Crucifixion and the Resurrection of Jesus.
Jesus, first identified with us. Man could not spiritually redeem himself by reformation or by following the rules. Mankind is innately a sinner in great need of a redeemer. The Redeemer had to come in the same form as our first-ancestor-father Adam. God provided the only sufficient sacrifice in the Redeemer—His Only Eternal Son.
The world lay in the sway of darkness, sin, and death. Man’s journey from the Garden was marked by a trail of death and tears with each tomb a reminder of every man’s fate. Death reigned in the world by a cruel master, Satan, whose very name meant “Adversary”. The Hebrew prophets of old had prophesied approximately seven centuries before of a coming Messiah who would save and deliver.
During this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus. I seriously doubt Jesus was actually born in the time we call December but that’s a rabbit trail I am not interested in going down. The big question is, “What’s the big deal about Jesus’ birth?
One of the greatest stories in the Bible is the turnaround of Saul of Tarsus who we now know as the Apostle Paul. He was a Jewish Pharisee who had a blood-boiling rage against the early Christian Church that was known at the time as the Way.
Christians are sometimes criticized for claiming our religion is exclusive when we are adamant that Jesus Christ is the only avenue to eternal life. That is why I am evangelistic about my faith in Christ; it is not that I take pleasure in someone being excluded but rather I have strongly held beliefs about Jesus Christ. The invitation to follow Jesus is inclusive, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 NKJV).
I had a neighbor who once said she only argued when she was right. Don’t we all? A Christian friend of mine asked a co-worker who was of a different Christian denomination, what they believed. He replied with great affirmation, “We believe the Bible!” My friend laughingly replied, “So do we!”
When I leave my home I travel a little over three miles before coming to a “T” intersection. I have a choice then of going north or south; that is my only choice. If I turn north, you could say I’m going toward the city of Boaz or Albertville but if I turn south, you could say I’m going toward Attalla or Gadsden. Our direction of travel indicates our destination. How foolish people would think me to be, if I traveled north hoping to arrive at a city to the south. So it is with life, too many folks are traveling north with the thought of arriving somewhere south.
Today is Good Friday. It is the day we commemorate the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. I read somewhere that the “Good” may have begun as Holy; we are really not sure. It is good for us but it was a terrible day for Jesus. The night before, He had been betrayed and arrested. Then the humiliating trials began, before the Jewish High Priest and Council, Pilate, Herod, and back to Pilate again. He was mocked, spit upon, and scourged. Would this mockery and torture ever end? Hardly, now he had to endure the death march to Calvary and then the horror of crucifixion.
Reality often becomes lost in our “Christianeze” terms and sayings. Too often we just repeat what someone has said and way too often our sayings get morphed into a false theology. Something repeated over and over gets engrained in our culture and it becomes a pseudo-truth of sorts.