The Da Vinci Code, The new Cameron Movie, the uproar at the Mel Gibson movie... will the controversy ever end????
Get comfy folks. Jesus is just as controversial as he was when the rumor of his birth hit the ears of Herod.
We are in to the 21st century and the world is still as fascinated as ever with the person of Jesus of Nazareth. There are countless books, blogs, magazines, movies and seminars dedicated to discount the truth about him. I have been involved in discussions on several blogs that wish nothing more than to see Jesus join the ranks of fairies and unicorns. There was a seminar in the 70s and 80s put together by “Christian” scholars who tried to strip the gospel of all of its miracles. There have been plays that have portrayed him as a homosexual, paintings of him immersed in urine. The list goes on and on and on.
Why all the hubbub? Well most might say: "Well, the demons tremble at his name and the very nature of man repels this truth because he walks in darkness." I do not disagree with that sentiment but I think there are three main reasons, on the surface, that we will never cease to have this discussion until his return.
1. Jesus was a real man who taught wonderful things. Our whole western civilization is built upon the principles that he taught and lived.
2. He performed miracles. You see, the Gospels have this little problem about them. They have the distinct aroma of the real but they also have those pesky miracles. The man was the greatest teacher that ever lived. The greatest human being that ever lived. Hardly anyone argues that. The Gospels represent his loving and eternally wise character beautifully. They also contain Jesus walking on water, calming storms and bringing people back to life from the dead.
3. He claimed to be God. The big one. Lewis said it best. You know the quote: "Lord, Liar, or lunatic." Here Jesus goes a place that only faith can take you. Even the miracles can be tolerated or humored but not this. If you believe a single word he says then you must believe this as well. The “opt out” clause was never in a single phrase he spoke.
There is God and there is man. Something is dead wrong with man and everyone knows it. Only God could set such a thing right. He started with the Jews. Through them he entered the world and made things right for those who believe it. That concept was even over the heads of the Jews at the time. They wanted a great conquering warrior who would squash the Romans. God’s plan was a tad bigger. He was to squash death itself for mankind.
In my opinion, these are the primary reasons why people keep returning to the person of Jesus for admiration or attack. They want to believe it and they don't. The want to ignore him but they cannot so they attack. The world's view of Jesus is beautifully summed up in a conversation with Einstein about Jesus. (who never converted)
"I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene....No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.
Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a clever word"