The Gospel of John, 1:1-13
The very first thing John is trying to get across is the fact that Jesus is God. He doesn’t start off by saying “Once there was a prophet,” or “Jesus was a brilliant thinker,” or even “Jesus was a very good man; a holy man.” What he said was:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
So right off the bat John tells us that:
- Jesus has ALWAYS been with God
- Jesus IS God
- Jesus CREATED everything
- Jesus is LIFE and that life is our light
This is absolutely astounding to contemplate. That God is the creator of all the universe. A vastness too great for even the most brilliant human mind to fully grasp, was created by the mind and will of the living God and he holds it all in the palm of his hand. That Jesus IS God, and the humble Jewish carpenter who knew what it was to be tired and hungry and abused, is the one who made us all. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. No wonder the Bible says that
…every knee will bow, in heaven, on earth, and beneath the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. – Philippians 2:10-11
It’s why I could never become a follower of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Islam, Hinduism, or any other religion. Their gods are too small. What their versions of eternity are, are pathetic. Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s what I know about some of these religions:
• Mormons think God used to be a man but worked his way up until he got to rule his own planet, and he is just one god among many. They think that Jesus is just one of the many spirit-children of this little planetary god. He didn’t save us from all our sins, we still have to rely on works, the cross definitely isn’t the center of history (ever seen a cross in a Mormon church?), and except for the few lucky men who get to be gods themselves the best we can hope for in eternity is one of three levels of country club pleasantness. As far as I understand it, the lucky women who get to attend to the planetary gods spend all eternity as breeding machines.
• Jehovah’s Witnesses think that Jesus is an angel, a created being. His death on the cross wasn’t sufficient to atone for all our sins and restore us into right relationship with God. We have to go house to house and whatever to earn points. From what I’ve read in the Watchtower magazines that JWs have left with me, the best we can hope for in eternity is some kind of Ozzie and Harriet suburbia. Nice house, nice job, nice life.
• Islam sees Jesus as a prophet. Not God. He didn’t die on the cross, he didn’t save us from our sins, and he can’t hold a candle to their prophet. Islam is totally works based; your good deeds need to outweigh your bad deeds, and on the last day Allah can send you to hell, anyway, if he wants. He can also cover up some sins and multiply good deeds if he wishes, but we have no assurance of his love or salvation. Heaven is a sensual paradise for men and the best women can hope for is to be good servants of their husbands.
• I don’t really understand Hinduism but it does seem to revolve around multiple reincarnations until we finally get it right and then achieve whatever their idea of heaven is. Being one with everything and everything in us? It sounds like a total loss of identity to me.
• Atheists claim they don’t believe in God or any kind of afterlife, but I have to wonder why they spend so much time thinking about a God they don’t believe in and why they’re usually so angry about it.
Now I know I’ve oversimplified these theologies and I’m scarcely an expert in Christianity, let alone any other religion. But what I do know is that they all are totally stifling in the end. I don’t want a nice little life. I don’t want to indulge in sensual pleasures forever. I don’t want to be pumping out babies forever. I would soon rage and rail against all of these things. I would be screaming for escape from these different versions of Hell.
I want unbridled JOY. I want to know the unsurpassable ecstasy of being in the very presence of the Almighty, Eternal, One True Living God of the universe. The God who created me and loved me so much he became human like me, paid the penalty for my sins, rescued me from death and hell, and fixed the relationship that I broke by rebelling against him. I want to be with Jesus, my creator and my redeemer. I want to worship him, adore him, love him, enjoy him, have fun with him, get lost in him.
If you’ve ever been head over heels in love, I think that is just a tiny taste, a shadow, of the great Love we were all meant for.
The gods of these religions are too small, too dull, too petty. I want the real thing.
…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved…for, everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. – Romans 10:9-13