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I got most of my Bible knowledge back when I went to Church of The Living God in Galveston, TX....back around 1984. Back then, "End Time" prophecy was a very hot topic amongst born-again Christian communities. And also, I found it very interesting because I've always been interested in history.
And.....I remember one sermon which our pastor, Robert Dowdy Jr. gave.
He was talking about one of the most critical questions that non-Christians have to make. He told the story of tat history changing day or two when the Jews and church 'leaders' of Jerusalem at that time delivered Jesus to Pontius Pilate in hopes that he would take responsibility and authority for 'getting rid of him'.
They were too chicken-shit to do it themselves....directly, right? :-)
So....Pilate pondered the situation and didn't feel personally that Jesus was anybody to be concerned about one or the other....much less the evil villain that the Jews were trying to make portray him to be. So this is the way the Bible describes it:
And, as we know, they compelled Pontius Pilate to set a common criminal free and crucify Jesus.
The issue that Pastor Dowdy was making was that salvation, assuming one thinks it's a concrete concept and has any real value, is a very simple matter of........do you think Jesus is who He said He was......or not?
Because if you do.....it has a lot of implications. And if you don't.....well...you're either on your own or you're free to find a better 'god'.
It's really that simple.
If you think He was God's only son, etc., etc., etc., then........the rest isn't so complicated or hard to do although I'll be the first to admit that even a lot of 'church leaders' throughtout history have distorted the whole process and idea of becoming a Christian. Sometimes it's due to simple ignorance and other times it's due to their conscious, self-centered agenda but, either way, that's more often than not the reason why people reject Christianity.
On the other hand, if you think Jesus was simply some kind of uber-cool, radical peacenik hippie type, a combination of Martin Luther King, George Washington, Mother Teresa, and Dalai Lama all rolled into one....but that His word were nothing more than opinions and 'advice'.....then you've really got no obligations at all. You can just go about your life and....hope for the best, right?
So the point that Pastor Dowdy made was that each of us needs to answer that question........"What will YOU do with Jesus?" (to paraphrase Pontius Pilate).
Pontius Pilate didn't want to make that decision. He let the Jews make it......which they did. And Jesus died.....kinda :-)
Now......I have a friend to whom I mentioned several weeks ago that I think we are definitely living in the End Times as prophesied in the Bible.
My friend basically blew it off. His comment was that his mom was Jewish and his dad was a Christian and he'd already been exposed to both sides of that issue and he already knew "all that stuff". It wasn't any 'big deal' to him.
Does it sound to you like he thinks, "What will you do with Jesus?" is a very important question?
I think not.
But, as I was on my way back from a supermarket trip just now, the question popped into my mind, "How serious does he think the question is?"
It rather sounds to me like he thinks that "What will you do with Jesus?" is some sort of trivia quizz for which the prize is a case of beer or something.
It'd be a real shame for him if he's wrong, wouldn't it? Not to mention his wife and daughter who I know he loves very much. If he loses this 'game'....there's a hell of a lot more(pun intended) to lose than a case of beer, isn't there?
My point is, Salvation isn't a game that anyone should take lightly. It's 'shit or get off the pot'....all or.....the alternative.
What will YOU do with Jesus?