This post is a continuation of the discussion that began in an earlier blog post about my journey toward becoming a Christian. It picks up where the first left off.
There was something about this guy that always seemed to resonate with me. Every time I’d heard something from the Gospels, it felt like Jesus was saying something pretty dope, but I never really dug in. I had taken the stance that many do: that He was a great moral teacher, but that I didn’t really buy Him being the Son of the Creator of the universe. And that’s when I started reading another phenomenal book: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
Lewis said something that I found tremendously interesting: that if you actually read the Gospels, you find that Jesus said a lot of things that weren’t just moral teachings. In fact, a lot of what He says centers around Him being divine e.g.,
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)
He said to them, “You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.” (John 8:23)
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (John 11:25)
“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live” (John 11:25)
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
Could you imagine me saying those things to you today? You’d think I was insane.
What if you stole something from your friend and then came to me, and I said ‘Oh don’t worry, I forgive you for it.’ What a ridiculous statement that would be. How could I possibly forgive you for wrongs against someone else? The only way that would make any sense was if I was the person primarily wronged. If I was in some sense the main counter-party in every wrong. It would only make sense if I was God. This was what Lewis explains when he writes:
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
Following this book’s train of thought, another providential piece of content was shepherded my way – the movie The Case For Christ. It’s an amazing portrait of a skeptic’s exploration of the truth behind the resurrection. To make a long story short, it all goes back to trusting what people have said. We trust in almost every piece of history and knowledge we learn (e.g., that Socrates existed) with much less historical evidence and written accounts than we have of Jesus’ resurrection. But what if they only wrote these accounts to trick us? But then we have to ask – for what purpose? Many of these early Christians were tortured and killed for their beliefs. If you’re interested in digging into the historical evidence, the late Pastor Billy Graham does a great job here.
And this brings us all the way back to the beginning of the first post in this series. All of these things together – the thinking about truth, about faith, about God, about Jesus – these all led to the cracking open of the door. I was now at a point where I could see a world in which I might be able to buy that there was some kind of God out there, and that He may or may not have something to do with this guy named Jesus.
The big missing piece to me now was that apparently you’re supposed to be able to have some kind of personal relationship with this guy. To talk to Him. To be friends with Him – here and now. Not in some kind of ethereal philosophical sense, but in the real world today.
This is the journey I’ve been on for the past few years, and I’m only just at the beginning. It’s what we’re focused on here at Hallow: finding ways to discover and build this relationship with God. I invite you to join us by downloading our app and trying out some of our guided prayer and meditation sessions.