Last week, I wrote that perhaps it’s not what we see in Jesus that makes people uncomfortable, but what we see in ourselves.
It’s called “sin.”
I know that’s a very unpopular word lately. Anytime we use the word, people get very, very uncomfortable—sometimes even angry.
More often than not, any discussion of sin ends up with someone being accused of being condemning and judgmental.
And it’s absolutely true that talking about sin can be done in a way that is condemning and judgmental. It’s pretty easy to tell if that’s what you’re doing to someone else, because there’s almost always a pointing finger involved—and a log in your own eye.
But, from what I’ve seen, it’s also impossible to talk about sin without some kind of emotional response because the conscience gets involved.
Actually, that’s a good thing. It’s uncomfortable and it can be maddening. We can look for a way to ignore it or escape from it, or cover it up and rationalize our sin with lies, but eventually it always comes back to haunt us.
There, I said it. That’s a worse word than “sin” in today’s culture. I hardly ever see that word in print or hear it spoken outside of a court case. Oh sure, sometimes someone will use it half-jokingly, but it’s almost never used in its Biblical sense.
Sin is what drives a wedge between us and the God who designed us to love and to be loved. Sin is our desire to claim that we are smarter and wiser and more capable of judging right from wrong than God is. Sin claims that this present life is our only chance of joy and happiness and completely denies that there is a life to come.
But that’s where Jesus comes in.
We are all guilty. We know that. Our hearts know that. That’s why it hurts so much when you can no longer run and hide from what you know to be true.
Jesus washes away that sin.
While rationalizations and excuses and lies can temporarily relieve the guilt we feel from our sin, only Jesus actually takes those sins away. Only Jesus removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. Only Jesus is the answer.
That’s why there is power in His name.
It’s the power in Jesus’ name that opened the eyes of the blind, that caused the lame to walk, that raised the dead. It’s the power in Jesus’ name that causes the demons to tremble in fear.
When I was in the Dominican Republic, I saw many handmade signs that said, ‘Ya Cristo Viene.”
They were everywhere--on power poles, on buildings, on traffic barricades.
The translation is, “And Christ returns”--and they mean it will be soon.
Given recent events in our country, I cannot say I disagree with that assessment of the situation.
I am no prophet. I cannot and will not say I know when Jesus will return.
But I know this:
As Christians, we need to speak the name of Jesus more often.
We need to say, “Jesus is LORD” without fear.
We need to speak the name of life and light and truth—and we need to do it in love.
Now, I know there are those who think there is no God and Jesus either never existed or He was just some guy who said a bunch of stuff.
And I cannot and will not try to prove that God exists, but I will tell you this:
I know Jesus is real.
I know He is real because I have personally had Him touch my heart. I have been overwhelmed by tears of joy, and by the profound, all-surpassing, absolutely humbling knowledge that He loves me and every human being on this planet enough to die for us.
So, while I am not a prophet, I am a witness.
Jesus is real. He is alive. He is living and active and He loves you.
And no one, no matter how much guilt and pain they feel for the mistakes of their past, is beyond His ability to save. Jesus is the Way and He promises that anyone who seeks Him absolutely will find Him.
All you have to do is ask.
If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9 ESV)