The Crux of Christianity

christ-of-saint-john-of-the-cross[1]                                                                                 Painting by Salvador Dali.

Today begins Holy Week, the most sacred week in Christianity, the week that Christians remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. So what is Christianity about, what do Christians believe?

1. Christians believe that man is lost in sin. He cannot by his own merits enter heaven when he dies. (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23)

2. God in his mercy sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us and pay the penalty for our sin. (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16)

3. That if we come to God and confess our sins, He will forgive them. (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9)

4. That we must be born again. (Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3)

5. We must ask God for this new life and that He will give us the gift of His Holy Spirit. (And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ;and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”)

6. It is a free gift for all who will ask Him. (For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9)

This week, especially, we think of Jesus and we meditate on the price He paid for our sins. We are thankful for what He did for us and that is why Friday is called Good Friday; his death on the cross was good for the world. Sunday, the day known as Easter Sunday, is the day He rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. We can live in victory and hope because of his victory over death, hell and the grave. This is the crux of Christianity.

May you all have a blessed Holy Week!

When Did Jesus Become A Dirty Word?

pexels-photo-415589.jpegRecently, I was asked to pray a prayer of blessing before the meal at a public gathering. I was cautioned, “Don’t use the name of Jesus.” So okay, I will certainly respect the wishes of whoever asked me, but later I thought, “When did the name of Jesus become a dirty word?”

I’m not really sure when, but sometime in the recent past, it was decided that it is not politically correct to use the name of Jesus. But why? Who is going to be offended? Maybe an atheist…but an atheist would have been offended at the first line, “Dear God.” So it must not be the atheists of the world.

Having taken a class entitled “The Great Religions of the World,” I knew that Muslims regard Jesus as a Prophet, so it wouldn’t be offensive to them. Buddhists regard Jesus as an Enlightened Being, so it wouldn’t be them. Hindus regard him as an Ascendant Master, so I don’t think I would be offending them. Those that follow Judaism know that Jesus was a Hebrew who believed in the Torah. So who would be offended?

I couldn’t figure it out. I would certainly mean no offence if I mentioned the name of Jesus and I am certainly not trying to cram him down anyone’s throat. Jesus himself was never one for trying to convert the masses of the world. He gave several stern warnings about the price you would pay if you decided to followed him. It was never an easy Christianity you are being called to if you decide to follow him.

I never did come up with an answer. But as a believer in Jesus the Christ; I must say I am not ashamed of his name. He is my ideal and the one I must strive to be like. I must also tell you that as his follower, I fail daily. I am sure many times I have not been the person he has called me to be. But that doesn’t diminish Him, only me.