Friday, April 14, 2017

2017/04/13 - Good Friday: Why DID Jesus come?

Why did Jesus come?  Many would say he came to die in our place.
I guess that’s a true statement… he did come to die – BUT - If he JUST came to die, he could have just let Herod kill him as an infant, remember when Herod sent the soldiers to kill all infants 2 years old or less?  If Jesus just came to die, why didn’t he just die then…mission accomplished!
OR - He could have let them stone him to death in Nazareth when he first claimed to be the Messiah... mission accomplished!

No – there MUST be more to it than that. 
Why did Jesus come?  He told us in the Gospel: 
“For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”   There it is... Jesus‘ mission wasn’t just to die... it involves being a witness to the Truth. 

??????? And many of us would echo Pilate’s response:
“What is truth?”  Does Truth even EXIST?

Pilate actually came closer to seeing the truth than the Jewish leaders did.  Pilate was intrigued by Jesus... after all this time in the armpit of the Roman Empire, Pilate finally met someone who was interesting.  He WANTED to let Jesus go, but succombed to the pressue of the mob.

Why didn’t the Mob see the truth in front of them?
The reason is kind of deep, so listen:  Human nature leads us to want to hear things with which we agree - what we already believe – and to be skeptical of anything which goes against our pre-existing beliefs.  I’ll repeat that… 
We have selective hearing – we only listen if what we’re hearing doesn’t contradict our beliefs.

Every one of us has pre-existing beliefs which are formed by our upbringing and experiences of life.  That makes us all different… Different is Great - BUT, It is our responsibility to form our consciences so that we believe what JESUS taught.  Jesus said, “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice”.  If we DON’T listen to Jesus, then we’re not listening to the truth - so our pre-existing beliefs are formed out of lies – and whenever we DO hear the truth, we’ll quickly ignore it. 

That’s kinda deep, so let me give a silly example to make the point:  Let’s say I’m absolutely convinced that Vanilla is THE best ice cream.  Nothing you say or do could possible convince me otherwise.  Let’s say a news story comes out stating that scientists have measured the amount of pleasure in our brain when eating ice cream and have found that when eating vanilla, the pleasure part of our brain is 32% more active – which implies… no it PROVES… that Vanilla is in-fact the best ice cream.  Now - As soon as I see that story, I’m going to forward it to everyone I know to justify my position and prove to everybody that I was right all along!!!  On the other hand, if scientists showed no difference between vanilla and chocolate, I’d probably just ignore that news story.  Notice that in neither case did I care where the story came from or how reliable it is – my main criteria is whether the story supports my pre-existing belief.

We do that all the time even at church.  If I stand up here and preached that we should do this or that and you agree with it, you’ll likely tell me – “gee deacon mike, that was a great homily- you are so intelligent to believe the way I do”.  But if I say something which goes against your pre-existing beliefs or challenges your lifestyle, you’ll probably just ignore me because the deacon obviously doesn’t know what he’s talking about – and if I REALLY get under your skin, you’ll spread rumors in the crowd telling everyone to shout CRUCIFY HIM!

Again – notice in neither case do we care whether the homily was Truth… our main criteria is whether the homily supports our pre-existing beliefs.

What is Truth?

The truth is that you are loved by God – and He loves you so much, He would come down here and let you torture Him and put Him to death… and He will still offer you eternal life – because He cannot imagine spending eternity without you.  THAT is the Truth Jesus came to witness to.

Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.  In other words, Jesus has told us the way to enter the Kingdom of God.  We don’t enter because we deserve it – we always fall short.  We don’t enter because we’re baptized – we follow Jesus into the kingdom by picking up our cross and following His example.  He showed us the path – and it involves suffering and complete surrender.  Only then is His Mission accomplished.

Truth exists – and his name is Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment