Friday, May 24, 2013

How Can You Believe in Jesus Christ?

There are people who want to believe in Jesus Christ, but find it difficult to do so.

The fact is that none of us can ever know the truth about Jesus Christ, God made flesh, the Savior Who came to die and rise and offer everlasting life to all who believe in Him, until we dare to experience Him.

The great Norwegian Lutheran theologian Ole Hallesby, in his book Why I Am a Christian, gives us five things that we can do to experience Jesus.

First, read the New Testament. Contrary to some of the psuedo-scholarship referred to in the novel, The DaVinci Code, the New Testament is accurate in its portrayal of Jesus inspired by God that has withstood the challenge and scrutiny of many skeptics. By reading the New Testament, you will get to know Jesus. Don’t worry about what you don’t understand. Instead, savor and apply what you do understand.

Next, Hallesby suggests, that we begin to pray. Talk with God honestly about your doubts, fears, hopes, and joys. Make yourself vulnerable to God and open to His guidance.

Third, while praying, should make an honest inventory of yourself , asking God to show you what you need to do to live life as He designed it to be lived. You will find God orchestrating events, encounters, and thought processes in your life that will move you increasingly into Christ's orbit and give you greater confidence about the faith you desire to have.

Fourth, participate in Holy Communion when it’s offered. We Lutheran Christians, for example, believe that in the bread and wine, Jesus offers Himself body and blood and embodies His forgiving love to us. In Communion, God takes on flesh and lives among us again. How that works, I don't know. Holy Communion is a deep mystery. I only know that, in ways I cannot explain, it works: it connects me intimately to Jesus, connects me to His eternal Church, and brings me the forgiveness of my sins, among other blessings.

Even if we don't understand how the bread and wine of Holy Communion are also Jesus' body and blood, we have His word on it. In recalling the night when Jesus first instituted Holy Communion, the apostle Paul writes:
...the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-25)
Notice Jesus' use of the verb is. For Jesus, there is no question as to what the definition of the word is is. Nor should there be for us, even if we can't understand or explain it: When we receive the bread and wine of the Sacrament, we also receive Christ's body and blood in an intimate act of sharing by God that is one of the greatest blessings a human being can enjoy!

Finally, Hallesby says, we should fellowship with people who are wholeheartedly convinced that Jesus is the real deal, the Word, the Savior Who lights our ways.

The nineteenth century English preacher Charles Spurgeon was once asked to explain why so many people flocked to his church on Sunday mornings to hear him preach the Gospel. Spurgeon said that he spent the week setting himself on fire with the Word of God and people came on Sundays to watch him burn. When we spend time in the fellowship of believers in Christ, our faith will be ignited.

When we allow ourselves to experience Jesus Christ, He will light our way through even the darkest of passages of life, enabling us to cope and inspiring us to love our neighbors--even those across the ocean--so that they too can be given light in their darkness and hope for their futures.

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