Just Like Jesus – The Final Answer
I recall a recent game show where the marquee catch phrase was, “Is this your final answer?” At this point the contestant’s choice would be locked in and in moments would know if the answer would propel them forward or out of the game. We find ourselves, with the guidance of Pastor Ed’s message, recounting the final week of Jesus’ life before He is crucified. The Scriptural passage covered this week ends with Peter’s denial of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. Peter’s final answer was a denial of relationship with Jesus, punctuated as Mr. Spock would put it, “colorful metaphors.” The cock crows and Peter’s failure is complete. But it is not the end of story. We know Peter is restored and renewed after a conversation on the shore with the resurrected Jesus.
There have been countless messages based on Peter’s denial of Jesus and later restoration. The applications of this story to our lives are varied and very rich with personal meaning. No doubt in my mind, Peter’s failure and Jesus’ forgiveness and restoration is the picture of Jesus’ resurrection personified. He died to cover the failure. He rose again to cement the forgiveness and reconciliation.
This past week I participated in a conference in Southern California. It was an excellent and moving gathering of Christian leaders and workers. One of my several “take aways” from the conference makes me think of the “final answer.” Peter’s denial of Jesus goes to the very core of who we are. In what do I base my faith and from where do I justify such faith. I have often heard spoken in Christian circles my faith is based on the Bible or my church. Perhaps in a time long past such an answer would suffice. I submit for your consideration today, if this is your final answer, then it is a denial of Jesus Christ. Before I am “crucified” let me concisely explain.
In our post-modern age people are questioning the validity of the “church” and Christianity in general. Never before in history have we had access to all kinds of input regarding the validity of Christianity. The thoughts of theologians, scholars, philosophers, scientists, skeptics and atheists are at anyone’s finger tips via the Internet. The widely proclaimed failures of the church fill volumes. The validity of the Bible has been questioned, dissected, and judgment proclaimed. In this clash of ideas anyone can easily conclude the Bible is questionable at best and an utter fabrication at worst. Therefore, reliance on it as the basis of faith falls short. What does not fall short? The Christian faith today, as well as for 2000+ years rests on an event. It is this event and the person central to the event that forms the substance and bedrock of our faith. The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” Furthermore, Paul states in Galatians 6:14, “But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . .” The Disciples and many others learned and understood who Jesus is based on His resurrection from the tomb. He was exactly who He said He was – I Am. These first Christians saw, heard, touched, and experienced life with the One True God before and most importantlyafterHe rose from the dead. Their faith and the subsequent faith of thousands in the first four centuries after the resurrection of Jesus was fueled and anchored in the event. It had to be because the “Bible” as we know it today did not exist. The substance and basis of our faith is the event. To proclaim our faith is based on the Bible, certainly the church, is modern day apologetic denial. Our final answer in faith must be based on the event– the resurrection of Jesus.
How do we know the eventis true and real? There is evidence – a lot of evidence. I encourage you to know what the evidence is. Ask us and we will guide you to where it is and why it is valid and substantial. So, GateWay, what is your final answer?