A Blessed Easter to you all! Jesus has risen to His Father in Heaven! Amen!
A prominent American Catholic clergyman was seen on TV saying that people come to him all the time to tell him that, while they have no problem with Jesus, they have a big problem with his church – or any organized “church” structure.
But that’s not really true. Christendom – that vast group of people of all denominations who unthinkingly obey men and not God – really does have a problem with Jesus.
For example, if you think that by merely believing in Jesus’ death on the Cross, you can be guaranteed a ticket to eternal life with God, you have a problem with Jesus, who told us that saying “Lord, Lord” would NOT guarantee such an outcome.
If you think you can continue to sin with impunity because you believe Jesus’ death and resurrection allows you to do so, you have a problem with Jesus, who said we must repent from sinning and be born again into a new life that does NOT include sinning.
If you think that you no longer have to obey God’s moral Laws simply because you believe Jesus died and rose to his Father, and condemn “Commandment Keeping” as something God hates, then you have a problem with Jesus, who said he came NOT to destroy the Law, and taught that obedience to it would determine our Eternal destinies.
If you believe that you are UNABLE to obey God, basing this belief on a story about the sin of the first human, then you have a problem with Jesus, who called us to obey God – without excuse – and said (along with ALL the Scriptures) that we would be judged solely on our OWN acts (and inaction) not the actions of others.
If you believe that you can live without ever forgiving others, then you have a problem with Jesus, because he taught that unless you forgive others, you WILL NOT have forgiveness from God.
If you think that God wants you to be rich, and is plotting a wealthy future for you right now, then you have a problem with Jesus, and all the Prophets, and the Psalmist, and all of Scripture, who say in unison we must never rely on riches, and should store up riches in Heaven, not in this life.
If you believe that by calling yourself a “Christian,” that you will be guaranteed health and riches, then you have a problem with Jesus, who said to follow him is to be hated, to be persecuted by others, and to even be put to death.
Many, many people have a problem with Jesus. And Jesus has a problem with THEM and the man-made doctrines they follow!
Jesus came not ONLY to die, but to preach repentance from sin, and to challenge us to be sinless, and the God who sent him – the One who created our Souls – knows us well enough to know that we CAN obey the commandments He gave us through Jesus.
Jesus was killed because he challenged the status quo. He challenged the religious leaders of his day, and called them out on their hypocrisy, greed and narrow view of Scripture.
Jesus Followers today are also called to present unpleasant realities not just to religious leaders, but to their misinformed flocks, as well.
And part of what they need to hear is this: Anyone who would make the Cross a magic totem, by which one could, by mere belief in it, magically force God into instantly granting them eternal life and absolving them from the duty of performing Good Works – which God sent Jesus to specifically commanded us to do – demeans the Cross, and demeans the death and rising of Jesus.
The Cross and the Easter story of his Rising to God are only for those who obey Jesus – and ALL the world may come and obey. You may not say, “Jesus died for me” if you’re not obeying him, and do not understand that his ministry was all about obeying God’s commandments and doing Good Works in God’s name.
Jesus said so. Clearly. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you." (Jn. 15:13-14)
If your life isn’t changed by the life, words and ministry of Jesus, the Cross is meaningless to you, and has even become an Idol, an abomination to God, because you are merely worshiping the wood and the blood spilled upon it, and not the selfless service and total dedication of Spirit that happened upon it.
Let us, on our knees, humbly beseech God – the God of Jesus, and our God – to forgive our presumptions and return to a HOPE that we would be saved through belief in, and obedience to His Spokesman, His Anointed and Chosen Son, our Master, Jesus.