For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. – (2 Corinthians 5:14-15 NIV)
When I was at university, though I was studying business, I did a few electives in religious studies. One of the courses was taught by a Catholic priest who was a delightful man; we became casual friends. We would hang out once in a while over coffee or a meal. The fascinating thing about him was that he really did NOT believe the Bible was The Authority for life and godliness. He didn’t believe the stories of miracles actually happened. They were merely fables with helpful moral lessons.
Even though I had become a believer in Jesus at the age of fourteen, by this time (early 20s) I was a “backslider”. I had not lost my conviction about who Jesus was and what He had accomplished on the Cross, however, I wasn’t living out that conviction in my daily life. Be that as it may, since we were in an academic setting I decided to write a paper in defence of the Resurrection for my unbelieving professor – even in my backslidden condition! He gave me an A for the academic quality of the paper, but I don’t think he was convinced enough to change his position.
As I did my research for the paper, that exercise began to bolster my own heart-level convictions with good sound reasons to believe in the death and bodily resurrection of the man Christ Jesus! As I look back over my life, I marvel at the grace of God, because in the most hostile of environments – academia – God was able to use an “unbelieving believer” to stir my mind to examine the truth. Then, shortly after, through “believing believers”, God wooed my heart back to Himself.
I’ve concluded that most people I have interacted with, who are unwilling to follow Jesus, have decided not on intellectual grounds but on what I refer to as moral grounds. I believe that the evidence points convincingly to the truth of Jesus Death and Resurrection. However, the challenge hits us squarely in the face when it dawns on us that the Easter events are making claims on our lives personally. Because Jesus is Lord, He is making claims of lordship over our lives. This in turn means that there is cost to following Jesus. It means dying to our own sense of entitlement, our reputation (aka, the fear of man), our instinctively self-serving nature. It means changing our way of thinking from being self-directed to being Christ-directed. It means that “those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.”
This is the ultimate message of this Easter weekend. Let’s follow Him!