Last Friday I posted “My Struggle With Believing in Jesus” which had nothing to do with my ability to believe in Jesus. Just go back and read the post. Nevertheless, I thought I would start out this week by writing on why I believe in Jesus.
I’ve been a follower of Jesus for about fifteen years now and have served as a preacher/minister with churches for almost ten of those years. Although at one time the plan was to move to Brazil or Australia and serve as a foreign missionary, I am happy serving God as he has called me. I cannot imagine doing anything else.
One of the great things about being a “pastor” is that I am privileged to be a part of some amazing stories in ways that other Christians are not. I’ve watched a small church act in faith by setting no limits on how many families they would bless with food and gifts at Christmas time because they had faith that God would provide for as many as had need. I’ve watched a woman surrender her life to Jesus in baptism after realizing that God’s grace was even big enough to wash away the scandalous sin of a sordid past. I’ve witnessed Christian give freely without hesitation of their hard earned money because they understood God’s love for them. I’ve witnessed marriages, fraught with great turmoil, give faith a fighting chance (as Lee Ann Womack sings) and let God’s grace raise what appeared dead into a beautiful union of love.
On the flip side, I have also seen some very ugly moments…perhaps more unclose than many do. I’ve witnessed racism and grave mistreatment towards those who are poor, weak, and vulnerable. I’ve seen a young mother with her face bashed in by a drunk, angry husband who thought the “bitch” deserved it. I’ve seen very up close what happens when a person gives their soul to the god of meth. I’ve sat in a jail cell with a man who was later convicted of three capital murders, including the murder of a child. I’ve even witnessed Christians display some of the ugliest selfish, angry, condescending, manipulative power-plays to get their way in church.
And then there’s me. I wake up every day with an awareness of my sin. I know how many times I’ve been selfish, acted in unkind ways to others, let apathy cause me to functionally deny the power of the resurrection and view someone or something as hopeless.
It’s all pretty sad. Among all the great things that happen in life, there’s a lot of ugliness. We all justice and yet, in big and small ways, we’re all contributors to the injustice of the world. Jesus died as a way for God to both remain just and justify us, by allowing Jesus to suffer on our behalf (cf. Rom 3:25-26).
Well that all might sound unbelievable but here’s what happened next: Jesus was raised from death and subsequently exalted as Lord and Messiah. No, I wasn’t there to witness Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances and his exaltation but others were…and it became the catalyst for them living as a radical follower of Jesus – so radical that they were willing to die for their belief, as many did – in what became the Jesus movement, otherwise known as the church.
Their testimony is convicting and the more I follow Jesus, the more it make sense. My faith in Jesus is just that…faith. It’s not something I can prove. Instead, it is something I have chosen to believe as I follow Jesus and live as his witness. And the more I do, the more I understand why “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
That’s why I believe in Jesus Christ!