The Gospel according to J E S U S : A Weapon of Mass Forgiveness and Love
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Which is the "Odd One Out" ?
There's a television programme here in the UK called "Have I Got News For You". It's a weekly comedic take on things that have been reported in the news during the previous week.
Can you look at the four pictures above, think of what's been happening in the news recently and guess where I'm going here ?
But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.
There is one round in the programme called the "Odd One Out" round. It's where 4 pictures are presented in clover leaf fashion :
"The "Odd One Out" round [is]where four personalities, characters or objects are presented to a team, whereupon it [the team] must identify the interloper, and the topical, amusing or ridiculously obscure link between the other three." (1)
Before getting to the so-called "odd one out", I want to focus on "the ridiculously obscure link between the other three" for now.
You might have read somewhere on the Internet that a judge in Turkey issued a court order banning access to YouTube in Turkey. What was the reason ? The reason was that some videos had been posted there insinuating certain things about Mustafa Kemal Ataturk which were deemed to violate certain laws about what can and cannot be said about him.
Doesn't that remind you a little of the Muhammad cartoons over a year ago ? Is there some connection ? We'll get to that in a minute.
But, now is probably a good time to bring Elvis on stage.
I can't ever remember Elvis being at the centre of the kind of controversy surrounding the other two. Nobody has ever "insulted" Elvis so that his fans took to the streets, burned effigies or sought court orders against the offender(s).
Wait a minute.
I suppose there was a time when a certain Michael Jackson sought the mantle of "King of Rock and Roll". He purchased the rights to quite a number of Elvis songs and even married (for a while) the King's daughter. Elvis fans may have observed these machinations with contempt and a certain outrage.
Michael before long found himself disgraced in one scandal after another and so Elvis remains safe as the King of Rock and Roll and his fans can rest easy.
Yes Elvis the King, of rock 'n roll, that is. King . . . and more ? According to THIS some see the Elvis phenomenon as a new religion.
A religion ? With that said we are now getting closer to the "ridiculously obscure link between the other three". Perhaps what I am saying is that these people have been made into gods by their devotees.
For what is G-o-d but that which is forever above and beyond all criticism, above and beyond all faultfinding which is but blasphemy?
And such are to a greater extent Muhammad and Ataturk, aren't they ? And to a lesser extent so is Elvis.
Is there something in all of this which points to a deeper reality, a universal need in man to worship a divine/human messiah ?
I think there is.
The exploration of this question should take us back to the very beginning of history - literally back to Adam and Eve where in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, we read the following :
11And He [God] said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?"
12The man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate."
13Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate."
14The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you will go, And dust you will eat All the days of your life;
15And I [God] will put enmity Between you [the serpent] and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."
All people are descended from Adam or in other words we can say all are from "Adam's seed". But here the promise has to do with the "woman's seed". Can you see that from the portion I highlighted above ?
At the time this prophecy was written down it may not have been clear that the only person in human history who is not of "Adam's seed" was to be JESUS born of the Virgin Mary -- entirely of the "woman's seed".
Many people might say they believe this but can they explain what was the reason why JESUS came into the world this way ?
For the answer we must go to another portion of the Bible called Romans where it is written :
12Therefore, just as through one man [i.e. Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned-- (Romans 5:12)
There's a lot being said in that one verse. Have you noticed ? It gives us the reason why there is sin and death in the world .
Earlier in Romans we read this :
23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
23a For the wages of sin is death
The punishment of sin is judgement as it says :
27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,
The good news is ...
23b the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The Bible tells us that in order to be saved from sin and the judgement to be faced for sin when we stand before God we must call JESUS LORD :
9that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;
10for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
11For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;
13for "WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED."
Every one's conscience speaks to the possibility of having to give an account after one's death. It is right and necessary to call JESUS LORD because He is the Son of God. The One to whom and before whom all will stand to give account has been identified :
31For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead.
and here :
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The heart of man seeks a saviour and always will do so. There are false messiahs who may have been greatly gifted intellectually or accomplished great things in their lives but there is only one who a) died for the sins of the whole world and b) rose from the dead and lives now with real power to save - JESUS the one and only Son of God.
Come and as it says in Scripture "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8)
Think you don't need God's offer of salvation in JESUS ?
"He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe." (Proverbs 28:26)
Will you do it now ?
Will you acknowledge JESUS IS LORD and be saved from your sins for all eternity ? You can do it now privately just between you and God as you read these words.