Without question, Jesus Christ is the most fascinating personality to ever walk the face of the earth. More books have been written about Him than about any other figure in our past. More music has been composed about Jesus than about anyone else. In fact, His arrival and death were so significant that we’ve actually divided human history into the years before and after Jesus Christ.
But who is the real Jesus? Is He merely some distant figure in stained glass that can’t be touched or known? Was He a radical revolutionary, as some would suggest, who came to change His world? Or as others would assert, was He some kind of guru or one of many sons of god who was an example to follow?
The New Testament book of John tells the story of some people who were looking for Jesus. But different people were looking for Him for different reasons.
Jesus had become very popular at this point in his ministry. He had become something of a sensation. He had raised Lazarus from the dead.
So what was the general reaction to the resurrection of Lazarus? Did they all turn to Jesus en masse?
No. In fact, the religious leaders wanted to kill Him. Clearly He was a threat to their dead religious, legalistic system of works. He spoke in a way that people could understand. He reached out to hurting people. He was known as a friend of sinners. And that really irritated them. Thus, He became public enemy No. 1.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God who had come to earth, was a wanted man.
In the same way, there are people today who hate Jesus Christ and everything He stands for. They despise the teachings He gave and say that it’s puritanical hypocrisy. And if you dare to proclaim His teachings or try to live by them, then they label you as a narrow-minded fanatic who’s insensitive and hateful.
It’s another way of saying, “If you don’t believe what I believe, if you don’t believe that anything goes and that we can make up the rules as we go, if you believe there are absolutes and there is right and wrong, good and evil, then I don’t like what you believe. And I oppose you.”
Often when I travel, people will ask me what I do for a living. Quite honestly, I don’t like to tell them up front, because it can really put up a wall. If you say that you’re a preacher or an evangelist or a pastor, you might as well say that you’re a used car salesperson or a telemarketer.
Some people have even become angry when they found out that I’m a pastor and an evangelist. Because I’m a representative of God to them, they suddenly decide to take all their anger out on me. They’ll say, “Let me ask you a few questions. Why does God do this? . . . Why doesn’t God do that? . . . What about this? . . . What about that?”
Jesus said, “If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first. The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you” (John 15:18–20 NLT).
There are some people who say they want God in their lives, but in reality they want Him on their terms. They essentially say to God, “Look, you can come into my life, but don’t tell me what to do. I’m doing things my way. But by the way, I could use your help in this one situation.”
But it doesn’t work that way. Who are we to stand and dictate terms to God Almighty? Why do we think we’re in a position to tell God what He can and cannot do in our lives? Do we really think we’re that wonderful, that important, and that significant?
The Bible tells us, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22 NKJV). We all deserve His judgment, yet He is so loving and so tolerant toward us.
Today people say they’re looking for God, but are they? I think some want to conform Him to an image they’re comfortable with.
That’s how it was in Jesus’ day. Many of the people weren’t going after the real Jesus. Rather, they were going after someone they basically had made in their own image. They wanted someone who would overthrow Rome but not rule in their lives. They didn’t want the real Jesus.
Yet the Bible tells us about a certain group of people who did really want to see Him: “Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, ‘Sir, we wish to see Jesus.’ Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus” (John 12:20–22 NKJV).
At this time, Rome had conquered Greece, which benefited Rome in many ways. The Greeks were renowned for their incredible philosophy, architecture, and learning. In fact, Athens was an intellectual center of the world. They also believed in multiple gods.
Yet these Greeks, these men of culture, obviously were discontent. Apparently, their philosophies, religion, and accomplishments hadn’t satisfied them. So they said, “We wish to see Jesus.” A more literal rendering of that statement is “we desire to see Jesus.” They wanted more than just a passing glimpse. They wanted to really see Him.
Is that your desire? Do you want to see Jesus? Do you want to know Him in a real way?
You don’t have to look for a prophet or guru or for someone with some special revelation. You can find everything you need to know about God in the pages of His Word, the Bible. You can begin to know Him. And He will begin to work in your life.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
This article was originally published at WND.com.
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