Tue, Feb 12 2013 11:28
CS Lewis, in his book, God in the Dock, answers a question about Jesus this way: “What are we to make of Jesus Christ? This is a question, which has, in a sense a frantically comic side. For the real question is not what are we to make of Christ, but what is He to make of us. The picture of a fly sitting deciding what it is going to make of an elephant has comic elements about it.”
The reason Lewis brings this up is that most of us do believe that what we think of Jesus is the most important thing. For all the irony this thought entails, we do judge God. We decide whether or not He is worth believing in, whether or not He lives up to our expectations of what our God should be, whether or not He is moral enough, powerful enough, relevant enough. It’s really a rather tragic farce. For many people, the honest truth is that, to them, God just isn’t good enough.
When you begin to talk to people about God, listen to them talking about God with others, you get the clear impression that God just isn’t good enough—at least the God of the Bible. It’s an interesting statement isn’t it: God isn’t good enough. The Bible tells us that God visited our planet to help us to understand Him better, and to rescue us from our sin and the judgment it entailed. So God came to visit us in the person of Jesus—and when He did, we deemed him not good enough. Perfect God walked the planet as perfect Man and we deemed Him not good enough for us to believe in, and worship. Hell will be filled with people for whom God wasn’t good enough. They will have heard of Him, learned about Him, perhaps even called themselves religious—but Jesus was still just not good enough for them.
They wanted something different. They wanted something more. They wanted someone tamer. They wanted someone more PC. They wanted something and someone…else. Fredericka Mathewes Greene, a writer, and Christian intellectual wrote a book called At the Corner of East and Now: A Modern Life in Ancient Christian Orthodoxy. In it, she recalls how she came to faith, more importantly, how she at first resisted and dismissed Jesus and Christianity.
“Back in my college days I was pretty dismissive of Christianity. To be more accurate, I was contemptuous and hostile. Though raised in a minimally Christian home, I had rejected the faith by my early teens. I remained spiritually curious, however, and spent the following years browsing the world’s spiritual food court, gathering tasty delights. The core of my home-made belief system was “the life force;” the raw energy of life, I’d concluded, was the essence of God, and the various world religions were poetic attempts to express that truth. I selected among those scraps of poetry as they pleased me. “My senior college year I gained a startling insight: I realized that my selections were inevitably conditioned by my own tastes, prejudices and blind spots. I was patching together a Frankenstein God in my own image, and it would never be taller than 5’1. "
Greene finally realized that she was making a god of her own. Eventually she met Jesus and gave her life to Him. He was so much more than she had thought He was. Initially for her, and for so many others, God just wasn’t good enough. When Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth, the placed He grew up, everyone was impressed and excited He was back. They heard Him speak, make some amazing claims, and were still impressed. Then, quickly, the script changes and He is chased out of town. Within a few moments the friendly welcome is gone and the wheels fall off their relationship with Jesus. It happens so abruptly it’s disconcerting. What in the world happened?What happened is precisely the same thing that has been happening ever since. We can see here: The Anatomy of Rejection. Few people start off hating Jesus and what He says. Something makes it happen.
In Luke 4:14-30 we can see the Anatomy of a rejection through the actions of his home town. It starts off good, and everyone is excited, until Jesus starts talking about things that aren't complimentary to them. Here is the downward progression.
Good Vibes: The reputation of Jesus attracts me (v.14-15)
Enticing Ideas: The words of Jesus fascinate me (v.16-22a)
Troubling thoughts: The claims of Jesus bother me (v.22b)
Unwelcome Realities: The truths of Jesus insult me (v.23-28)
Ultimate Rejection: The Jesus of the New Testament repels me (v.29-30)
Jesus told them the truth, even when He knew how they would respond to it. That's why today, most people are both impressed and skeptical of Jesus. They can't help being impressed with what He did, but can't help being offended by what He says about them. This helps us to understand why Jesus is both admired and reviled in our world.
God is good enough. It just seems strange to have to affirm that kind of a truth.