The Three Reactions to Jesus Christ: Reject Him, Doubt Him, Believe in Him

Posted: January 1, 2015 in 99-Uncategorized

Luke 7:16-35 — Have you ever had a friend who told you an incredible story that they swore was true but yet you smiled to their face but walked away muttering that none of it could be true? It just seemed to incredible a story to believe. You had your doubts about how much of the story was true. In some cases you just outright rejected the story as being false. These kinds of reactions are how we react to Jesus. In this passage we see two reactions to Jesus. One is doubt. The other is rejection. This is two of the three reactions that we all must have when it comes to Jesus – rejection, doubt, belief.

The first reaction that we must consider is that of rejection. The Pharisees, the supposed experts in the Old Testament and all of its prophecies about the coming of The Messiah, rejected Jesus as the Messiah. With all their knowledge of the Scriptures, why did they reject Him? They had seen the miracles. The healing of the blind, the lame, the lepers, the deaf, and the raising of the dead to life they had seen. They surely had their spies keeping watch on Jesus as His ministry began to grow in popularity. They had seen and heard all the reports of what Jesus said and did, but yet they refused to believe. Are not there many people still in this camp in today’s world? Why do people refuse to believe in Jesus. For both the Pharisees and those that reject Jesus today, they do not reject Him as a philosopher or a political activist, a radical rabbi but they reject His claim to be the Son of God. Why do they reject this? Accepting Jesus as the Son of God would force them to admit that they are no longer in control. To admit Jesus is the Son of God is to admit that there truly is a God who is active in history. To admit that Jesus is the Son of God would mean that there really is only one true way to salvation. To admit that Jesus is the Son of God is to admit that there is something greater than myself. For the Pharisees, it would mean changing of their world order. They had developed traditions surrounding the law that only they were the intepreters of. Today, we find many people rejecting Jesus as the Son of God for the same reason. We fashion our own religions today. We pick and choose from various religions and make it work for us personally in this new age. If something from Christianity is too tough to handle, we toss it out. If something from Islam is too tough, we toss it out. If something from Hinduism is too tough, we toss it out. We have drive through, mix and match spiritual beliefs today. Ultimately, we are fashioning belief systems that make us our own gods. To admit Jesus is the Son of God would change our world order. To admit Jesus is the Son of God would force us to accept everything in Scripture even the parts that will cause us pause about our own lifestyles. To admit Jesus is the Son of God would remove us from the throne of our own hearts.

The second reaction to Jesus is doubt. Because John The Baptist did not have complete reports about Jesus’ activities, he was not sure if Jesus was the Messiah. He wanted to believe that but he just wasn’t completely sure. Jesus tells John The Baptist’s disciples to return to John and tell him to examine the evidence to which there were many witnesses. Jesus invites John to compare this evidence to Scripture. Jesus invites John to investigate. Jesus welcomed his doubt. Jesus explained that He was accomplishing what the Messiah was supposed to accomplish. He gave him the proofs which are significant. They consist of observable deeds, not theories. Jesus says examine me. Jesus welcomed John’s doubt. Doubt leads to investigation where rejection does not. Doubt leads us to determine whether something is real or not. Jesus will stand up to your scrutiny. Our faith based on this man will stand up to scrutiny. To have doubts is to investigate. To investigate, you will find that you will ultimately have to answer one question, do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. We can get you to that point with logic, consistency, history. Jesus really did exist. There is ample extrabiblical evidence of his existence. There is ample evidence that the manuscripts of Jesus life and the doctrines produced in the epistles based on His life and His teaching were preserved through the centuries with little, if any, change to the texts. There is ample evidence that each of these books of the New Testament were committed to writing during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses to the events. These eyewitnesses including enemies of the faith who would have cried foul if the things included in the gospels and the epistles were not true. We can get you most of the way there by showing the consistency of the New Testament with the Old. We can get you most of the way there by showing the consistency of theology of Jesus’ words with the doctrines of the faith. We can get you most of the way there because Christianity is a reasonable faith. It welcomes your scrutiny. Every couple of years or decades, you will find that things people said were NOT true in the Bible being proved true. The Christian faith welcomes your doubts about Jesus. Come. Investigate. We can give you all the tools necessary to get you 95% of the way there about Jesus Christ. That last 5% though comes to faith. You ultimately have to resolve your doubts with seeing Jesus as the Son of God in your heart.

Ultimately, your doubts have to be answered in belief. I can demonstrate to you about all the logical evidence of Jesus’ existence. I can demonstrate to you that the Holy Spirit insured the accuracy of Scripture throughout the centuries. I can demonstrate to you how the New Testament books were so different from other oral traditions of man by the fact that the gospels and many of the epistles were written down on paper within a very short time span after Jesus’ death. This fact itself is uncanny in the religions of the world. I can demonstrate to you how every other religion in the world has a position on Jesus Christ whereas Christianity has no position at all on the central figures of other faiths. All evidence, hard evidence, points to the Jesus Christ as being the real deal. However, all of that is meaningless if faith does not come. I can lead you as a horse to the trough where the water is but you must drink. I cannot drink for you. For faith has to play a role. Jesus Christ said He is the Son of God. As C.S. Lewis said once, and I paraphrase, “Jesus Christ is either a lunatic, liar, madman or He is Lord.” Based on what Jesus says about Himself in Scripture, you must settle on one of this things. He cannot just be a great philosopher or a radical rabbi. Jesus makes claims about himself that either you believe or you make him out to be one of the greatest madmen, the greatest lunatic, the greatest liar of all time. He said He was the Son of God. He claimed that He was the Messiah. He claimed that He and the Father are one. Until you believe with your heart that Jesus Christ is who He says He is, it is a never ending battle to determine who Jesus was and why this faith sprouted up worldwide. People have died rather than say anyone was God other than Jesus Christ. That’s belief. Until you see Jesus as the Son of God and accept Him into your heart as your Savior. Until you see that God and sin cannot coexist. Until you see that no matter how hard we try that we are sin-filled creatures. Until you see that Jesus died to reconcile us to God and to prevent us from living an eternity in hell. Until you see that Jesus is our Savior from that fate, you will always question who He is. It is not until you believe that your eyes of who Jesus is are truly opened.

Jesus, reject Him, doubt Him, believe in Him. These are your choices.

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