Yesterday, we identified three main aspects of the Christian message that concerned the ruling authorities, particularly the Sadducees.
- The Resurrection
- The Power
- The Boldness
This was astonishing for the ruling authorities. Hard for us to remember how novel this was. We’re more likely to see Christianity as something conservative and controlling, rather than as a revolutionary upstart that questioned the status quo.
We may even be offended by the exclusivity of Peter’s claim:
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ESV)
This comes down to the resurrection. It’s not exclusive to say this about Jesus, because he said it about himself, and he made it possible through his death and resurrection.
Our job isn’t to dispute the claim. We’d be like the Sadducees, then, trying to control speech and religious thought so it doesn’t threaten us. Many Westerners would like to say no one can make exclusive claims like this, that all religions should be private and personal matters. That is an equally exclusive claim, which sometimes gets enforced with the same vigour as Peter’s exclusive claims about Jesus.
Rather than debating the appropriateness of such claims, we should look into the claim itself. If it’s true, then it can rightly be exclusive. If it’s false, then it’s hardly worth our time.
There is power in this because it actually happened, as we can see the ruling authorities struggling with. No other religious teachers say these things about themselves, this is Jesus’ own special claim, wrapped up in who he is.
Finally, there is boldness. He says it, knowing it will get him in trouble with powerful people, simply because it’s true. Unfortunately today only three in 10 Canadian protestant churchgoers agree with the statement, “Many people who know me are not aware I am a Christian.” More than half (51 percent) disagree.”
Challenge: Find a way today to tell someone you are a Christian. Again, don’t be a jerk. Just mention something about Redeem the Commute helping you think differently, or your discussion group, or a church service if you attend one. If they ask you what that means, or why, briefly point to the resurrection of Jesus as the reason you think or act differently. I know it’s scary, be bold!
Meeting with a Group? Your discussion questions are in this week’s Group Study Guide[permalink append=”#comments”]Discuss the Challenge[/permalink]
photo credit: Jason Verwey via photopin cc