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Rock of Ages or Off His Rocker?

• Greg Boyd
Guest Panelists: Paul Eddy

Jesus claimed that the entire Bible was about him, that he is the center of the Scriptures. This claim requires us to conclude that he was crazy or that he was correct. And if the latter, then we must decide what to do with such a claim.

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When we hear people claim they are God or that they are the center of everything God is about, we usually consider this to be evidence of a mental disorder. Such people never give us reason to think they are actually as divine or as important to the divine as they say they are. With this in mind, shouldn’t we dismiss Jesus’ claims to be at the center of everything God is about and, in fact, God himself?

Consider the focus scripture for this week. Jesus clearly believed the whole Bible was divinely inspired. He believed the entire inspired story of God was brought to completion in him. He believed that he was the ultimate subject matter of all Scripture and he believed he was the key that unlocked the true meaning of Scripture. If we are honest, this sounds crazy.

He makes the same point in John 5:39-40 and 46-47. There he says,  “You search Scripture hoping to find God’s eternal life in them but what you don’t understand is that all Scripture testifies on my behalf and what Scripture testifies is that I am the eternal life you are supposed to find in Scripture.” Christians get accustomed to such claims, and we are no longer surprised by such claims. Were we to hear anyone today talking the way Jesus routinely did, we would think they were suffering some sort of psychotic, megalomaniac mental disorder.

This was no different for people in Jesus’ culture. If anything, it would have been harder for them to take Jesus seriously because his original audience was comprised of first century monotheistic, orthodox Jews. For them, any blurring of the lines between God and humanity was not just taboo and crazy; it was blasphemy!

This forces the question: was Jesus crazy or was he telling the truth? Either he’s telling the truth or this guy has to rank as the most outlandish nutjob in history. Some take the middle ground by claiming that he was a great wise teacher. While he was this, great wise teachers don’t make the claims about themselves that Jesus did. The people who knew Jesus the best heard his outrageous claims and saw his humble loving character, his blameless life, his unique divine authority, his miracles and deliverances, and his resurrection from the dead. No great wise teacher nor any crazy person had ever done that. They realized that he could not be crazy, and therefore must be telling the truth. This left them with one option: they had to commit their life to him and follow him as Lord.

This is the question we all face. Our only appropriate response is to turn over the reins of our life to him. The “life” we surrender is nothing other than the life we live moment by moment. It’s not just a decision we made once upon a time in the past. It is something we do continually as we go through every day. However, during most of the waking moments of our lives we are making our own decisions and living as if God is not Lord. We are called to submit our entire life to Christ on a moment by moment basis. This is something we learn to do as we practice the presence of Christ, which is explored in Greg’s book Present Perfect.

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Topics: Defense of Christian Faith, Discipleship, Presence of God

Sermon Series: Sermon on the Mount, The Law of Love

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The MuseCast: February 16

Focus Scripture:

  • Matthew 5:17-20

    Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

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