The “Soundoff” column in the Statesboro Herald for July 16, 2013 included the follow comment by a caller: “Some of you believe ... that God became flesh in order to die and thus save us from our sins. ... Even though God could have instead simply absolved us ... even though God can become flesh and die at will because He is omnipotent ... you, nevertheless, insist that I view this apparently inconsequential event as the ultimate sacrifice.”
“...this apparently inconsequential event.” What a viewpoint! I’ve put off commenting on this entry in “Soundoff,” but can do so no longer, in view of the growing antagonism toward Christianity by many in our society. This has, in reality, always been true, it does seem intensified of late. This may be my imagination.
Although the claim that America is a Christian nation may not be as common as it was in the past, it is still true that local Christian churches exist in many towns and cities. Of course, the presence of physical meeting houses “on every street corner” does not prove that the faith of those whose names are on those church rolls is genuine. For a number of years, evidence has been present that attendance is decreasing in many congregations. The nations of Europe continue to have many church houses standing almost empty most Sundays.
But, in spite of this, those even slightly familiar with the world’s history since the death of Jesus of Nazareth know there is no way to intelligently characterize the influence his death as anything remotely close to “inconsequential.” There is a minority of people totally unaware of Jesus’ death, and some go so far as to deny his existence. This, even with the historical evidence staring them in the face!
However, the effect his life, death and resurrection continue to influence to a great degree virtually every area of life. A few of many examples will make the point:
• His teachings in general continue to affect the world and the people in it more so than any other individual. This is true in spite of other great teachers and their accomplishments, men and women who continue to be noted as people of influence. And yet, one writer suggested that about 1/3 of the world’s population today refer to themselves as disciples of Jesus!
• His example of righteous living impacted those of his time and has continued to do so virtually down to the present time.
• His teaching and example of humility and loving others “as ourselves” is without doubt the greatest influence on personal relationships the world has known.
• His emphasis on his concern for and obedience to the will of his Father in heaven, even to the exclusion of his own desires (Note Luke 22:43; John 6:38). Indeed, Jesus came to earth do the will of his Father rather than his own.
Inconsequential? No! Many things can be said about the death of Christ, but never can they be legitimately be seen as insignificant in any sense. As one individual commented, “...everything about Christ is relevant and He is the ultimate centre of everything!”
I can’t leave this without recalling that beautiful and powerful invitation of Jesus the Christ, whose consequential life on earth gave him the authority to say,
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28, 29).