Recently, I was sitting in an airport, waiting for a flight, when something on television caught my eye. It was a commercial for a show that–the narrator assured us–would give us “fascinating insights” into Jesus based upon the “latest scientific techniques.” One line that caught my ear (or maybe it was a visual) was about “finding Jesus.”
I had been traveling all day, and so it is possible that I was a bit loopy. But, I admit that the first thought that crossed my mind was the old Yakov Smirnoff commercial:
In my best Yakov Smirnoff accent: “Secular society thinks you have to search really hard to find Jesus. In reality, Jesus find you!”
This seems to pop up every few years. Remember when the Gospel of Judas (which was written by Gnostics in the third century) was going to change Christianity? Of course, the opinions of secularists and others who think that the “latest discovery” will be the death knell to Christianity do not really matter, because this isn’t a matter of opinion.
It reminds me of when I was a little kid. One of my favorite shows on TV was “Ripley’s Believe it… or Not!” In the show, Jack Palance would tell us of some strange occurrence that would be re-enacted and those involved would be interviewed (if possible.) At the end of each segment, Mr. Palance would say, “Believe it… or not.”
As a kid, I completely misunderstood–probably much to the amusement of my older sister and my parents–because after the segment, I would say, “Yeah! I believe that one!” or “No way! That’s not true!”
I misunderstood: It didn’t matter if I “believed it or not” because the story was true.
The same holds true for Christianity. The problem of unbelief is very apparent as we progress through Lent. Usually Christians feel some tension. We know Easter is coming, but we have some sadness, regret, or solemnity, knowing what happened on Good Friday.
So… if we are people of the Gospel… why the mixed feelings?
I think it is because we know that, whether we “believe it or not,” we are sinners. We are born as sinners and we sin every day. “Believe it or not,” we need a savior because we cannot save ourselves. But, whether you “believe it or not,” God loves us. And, “believe it or not,” He sent Jesus to die in our place! Whether you “believe it or not,” what we hear during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter is true and it happened for you and for me.
Lord God, we humbly thank and praise You for the free gift of salvation, won for us through Jesus Christ. We pray that You would guide our words and actions that they would bring others closer to You. Help us be mindful of those who are still lost. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.