Saturday, February 24 , 2018, 5:26 pm | Fair 59º

 
 
 
 
Faith

D.C. Collier: How to Find Somewhere Safe to Hang Your Spiritual ‘Hat’

Between terrifying nuclear war scares in Hawaii and devastating mudslides in the “protected” enclave of Montecito, we are again reminded of our vulnerability.

As the 9/11 attacks attested, safety and security, even in those twin New York towers of strength, are relative terms. No one can guarantee that our whole world won’t be turned upside down in an instant.

Technology, science and the comforts of living in an advanced civilization enclose us in a shiny but flimsy bubble of invulnerability that can be punctured without notice. Now, more than ever, we need to anchor our lives to bedrock and move away from the shifting sands of worldly promises.

To what or more correctly, who, can we turn for assurances that span time and eternity and can never be shaken?

                                                                 •        •        •

If ever there was a mixed-up kid, it should have been Jesus Christ. Born on the wrong side of “the tracks,” of a poor teenage mother who was widely believed to be having her baby out of wedlock, Jesus arrived in a filthy manger inside a stranger’s freezing animal crib.

His parents were poor and uneducated, part of a downtrodden race of servants and slaves from a tiny sliver of a country under the tyrannical boot of a brutal dictatorship — and they had just returned from being on the run from the local authorities. Talk about diminished prospects!

If this was anyone else, this lowborn pauper would have likely died in infancy and disappeared forever into the unrecorded and unremembered obscurity of his fellow enslaved Jews. But this wasn’t just “anyone else.”

When Jesus entered public ministry at age 30, he did not come as a scrubbed and robed theologian or philosopher. He came as a common laborer from the backwoods of Galilee, with the callouses and scars befitting a carpenter. He wasn’t raised in princely comfort or educated in the higher disciplines.

In the incredibly short interval of three years, this backwoods street-preacher would turn the then-known world on its head. Kings feared him, religious leaders were jealous of him, soldiers admired him, prostitutes and drunkards loved him, children ran toward him, hypocrites ran away from him.

He was a spiritual lightning rod, attracting violent opposition with every word — putting all listeners on notice that it was time to choose up sides for or against him, with no room in the middle, no fence to sit on. He made waves wherever he went, particularly in the spirit world where evil forces had held sway for millennia. There was a new sheriff in town and the demons knew it.

Was Jesus Mixed Up About Who He Was?

Some critics have argued that Jesus had only the faintest inkling about who he was. They say he was either mixed up or deluded, and that he was caught up in an identity crisis that others forced upon him.

If so, what explains his own words at the height of his ministry, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”1 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” “He who has seen Me has seen the Father ... I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me ... the Father abiding in Me does His works.”

Does that sound like a deluded victim of circumstances? He went on to say:

“The Father has given me all these things to do and say. This is a unique Father-Son operation, coming out of Father and Son intimacies and knowledge. No one knows the Son the way the Father does, nor the Father the way the Son does.”2

Recall that delightful 2-year old I referred to in a recent column? How he was continually looking over his shoulder to get guidance from his super-vigilant mom. Likewise, Jesus. Rather than “do his own thing,” Jesus was continually “glancing over his shoulder” for his Father’s approval.

He said, “The Son (that’s him) can’t independently do a thing, only what he sees the Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. The Father loves the Son and includes him in everything he is doing.”3

When he spoke, the whole world listened: “But when the crowds saw this. They were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.”4

Jesus was not making things up as he went along. He saw himself as only having authority because he was under the authority of his Father: “Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father ... I and the Father are one heart and mind.”5

How About You?

I don’t know about you, but if someone demonstrably came from God and was going back to him, I’d hang on his every word. How about you? Been hankering for a little direction lately? Is a steady diet of cable “news,” talk shows, political wrangling and worldly “wisdom” coming up a bit short for you lately?

Consider Jesus. He anchored nothing to earth. His anchor was firmly set in heaven. He knew where he came from, and where he was going — back to his heavenly father.

While only a handful of people listened to that gentle innocent from another dimension, those who did truly “hear” were rewarded with an experience of God so vivid that they would risk their lives to tell others about what they had seen and heard. In the process, they were to turn the then-known world upside down under the influence of God’s winsome salvation message.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. John 16:27-28 (NASB)

2. Matthew 11:27 (MSG)

3. John 5:19 (NASB)

4. Matthew 9:8 (NASB)

5. John 10:15-30 (MSG)

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