We are Always Talking About Jesus
A fairly healthy number of my academic pursuits over the years have been devoted to some form or another of apologetics—a rational “defense” of the faith, whatever that might mean. Indeed, a quick glance at my blog archives yields a similar conclusion. So many words spent clarifying, unpacking, rephrasing, rehabilitating, or somehow defending God or belief in God or Christian practice in a post-Christian context. So many hours devoted to abstract ideas, theological constructs, “metanarratives,” worldviews, and “plausibility structures” within which to locate or give expression to Christian belief. So many pages about what I see to be the inadequacies of modern atheism. My attitude toward the general project of apologetics has undoubtedly changed and (hopefully) deepened over time, but I have always been inclined toward logic and reason and arguments and making some kind of rational sense of faith.
And so, given the way I am wired, it is always good for me to hear excellent sermons like the one that Faith and Theology blogger and systematic theology instructor Ben Myers gave last Sunday in Australia on the theme of “Why I Believe in God.” You really should set aside twenty minutes or so to listen to it (it can be accessed in three parts here), but I’ll post a few passages that struck me in quite a profound way to pique your interest:
When we talk about God, when we write books and attend lectures, and read discussions about this question, “Does God exist”—as Christians when we talk about God we’re not talking about some kind of intellectual hypothesis. We’re not talking about a speculative idea that may or may not have certain arguments for or against it. We’re not talking about a psychological technique for coping with the difficulties of our lives. And when we talk about God, we’re certainly not talking about a supreme being that is so infinitely remote and distant from our world that all we can do is kind of look through our little theological telescopes and try to make a few connections.
As Christians—as followers of the Lord Jesus—when we talk about God, we are talking about one who has entered into the very fabric of our world, who has come as close to us as we are to ourselves, a God who has become incarnate. When we talk about God, ultimately, we are always talking about Jesus. For the God of the gospel is the God who has come among us in Jesus of Nazareth. We believe in God because of Jesus.
Jesus is the one who showed us the face of God—Jesus shows us the truth of God, Jesus shows us the love of God. Jesus is God’s smile beaming at us out of the depths of eternity. Jesus is God’s love wrapping around us, seizing us and not letting us go. Jesus is God’s grace, reaching into the darkest and most shameful dimensions of our experience. Jesus is God’s healing, binding up the wounded. Jesus is God’s goodness, in a world full of chaos and disaster and catastrophe. Jesus is God’s great strength for the weak. Jesus is water for the thirsty, and when you drink that water you will never thirst again. Jesus is bread for all those who are starved and hungry, famished for something good and something true. Jesus shows us God. He is not God’s explanation, he is not God’s argument, he is not God’s debate. He is God’s simple, great, loving act, showing us, Here I am, here you are. In Jesus, God shows us God. That I believe, is the whole secret of the Christian faith.
You should listen.