Grace and peace to you as we round out the month of June together.
Welcome to this week’s vlog. If you have just found us, I’m Pastor Lee Harder from St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, Texas. It’s good to have you be a part of our fellowship.
For the past few weeks I’ve been wrestling with the consideration of showing a DVD of a theatrical play entitled “St. John in Exile” as a Sunday afternoon family movie time for our own folks and for our community at large. It’s an impressive portrayal by Dean Jones of the Apostle John, but whether it’s for younger children is another issue. Its description of the deaths of the other apostles is a bit gruesome. I’m forced to choose between two images.
It’s very much like the choice we must make between the Jesus we will serve as Christians. Will we choose historic Christianity founded on the eyewitness testimonies and teachings of the Apostles regarding the good news of Jesus Christ, or will we choose the new, modern approach of interpreting the Bible to meet the times and attitudes in which we live?
Do we create a new understanding, a “Jesus of our imagination”, so the Church can be more relevant and acceptable to a modern, skeptical culture?
It will be an easy choice for many since they live in a church and a culture that has already changed the ideas and beliefs concerning Jesus and who He is. We’re changing ideas every handful of years now based on the latest scientific developments and politically acceptable teachings of the age.
The choice might not be hard for many today, but it would be for the Apostles who followed Jesus. Their concern was not the acceptance of the culture in which they lived nor the current morals of the day. Their concern was for the truth and reality of Jesus Christ based on His life, His sacrificial death and bodily resurrection from the dead. In their passion to know the real Jesus they were willing to face persecution, rejection, humiliation and even death, just as countless numbers do daily around the world in our own time.
We face the same choices the Apostles faced. As the portrayal of John by Dean Jones reminded me, all of them died and many horrible deaths, save John. The hardest choice we will ever make is to resist the Jesus of our imagination and seek instead to know and serve the real Jesus of Scripture.
The real Jesus is often intolerant of our desires, demanding to the point of human impossibility, and offensive to our modern sensibilities. Jesus of the Bible claims to be alive today, to be God in human flesh, and to have the power of life and death. To ignore Him is to invite destruction. To recreate Him in our own image is the height of arrogance. To submit to Him and worship Him as the one and only Savior is life-giving unto eternity.
We have to choose which Jesus we will serve. How we make that choice will determine our future. We can choose the Jesus who will entertain us and keep us content or we can choose the Jesus who will challenge us right down to our core. We can pay for our choice today or for eternity. And those are my thoughts.
God bless and have a great week.
Pastor Lee R. Harder