Thursday, March 8, 2012

Profiling Jesus Christ


Are you one of those nuts who has searched genealogy records until you have a family tree the size of a giant redwood?  Don’t feel bad.  It is sort of like an addiction.  You really can’t help it.  I now you can’t help it because I can’t help it either.  Ok, I actually didn’t personally work that hard at it.  A relative did most of the work.  I just bought the book.  Of course the book was published years ago and is out of date, but then who cares about living relatives?  After all, if they are relatives who are still alive you have to talk to them and even socialize with them.  It opens a whole new can of worms when it comes to a family getting along smoothly. (For adoptees searching for family there should be an entirely different category.  Their search is different. My heart certainly goes out to them, and I wish them well.)

Most of us can be very thankful for the blessings of family and for the help and comfort given to us by our family through all sorts of trials.  Still, there may be a few relatives we don’t care to know any better than we already know them.  Now, ancestors from our distant past can be a lot of fun.  We can imagine they were the perfect or heroic relative that everyone would love to have in his or her past.  We can ignore the fact that even semi-perfect and heroic people are in fact just people.  They would have had really good qualities and a few irritating quirks about them just like favorite relatives living still.

If you have an interesting relative from the past how could you get to sort of know that person?  This is beyond just filling in the blanks on a genealogy chart.  This would be knowing enough about that person to actually feel like you knew them personally.  It is time to profile when you want more than a name filling in its proper slot in the genealogy chart.  You want to feel like you sat down and chatted with them over a stiff cup of tea and slice of homemade pie.

If you can come up with a photo or two that would be nice.  Just studying the face sort of gives an impression of what a person is like.  If you can’t get a photo, just imagine someone who is average in every way until you get to know them. 

Can you find out what they did with their life?  Shoe maker?  Farmer?  Home-maker? Married?  Church goer? 

 You can find out all that, but you still just know about that person.  You really don’t know that person.  It seems the only real way to know the person who has captured your interest is to know someone who knew that person.  Or, perhaps there might be letters or other written material mentioning the person you want to know. 

In my husband’s family there is a person of interest to most of us.  It is Jerry’s uncle who was killed D-day, 1944.  We have talked to those who knew him, especially those in the family.  All we really know is that he ‘was a very nice person’ and people burst into tears when his name is mentioned.  So, we really didn’t get much out of them.  Even all these years later, that is really all we know.  People who served with him the war are not prone to burst into tears, they just get a little choked up.  They say the same thing. ‘He was a very nice person; what a shame; what a friend; I think of him often;’ and things like that.  They don’t even mention what a hero he was.  They just say he was very nice.  We do know he was brought up in a Baptist church under a good preacher.  He was a professing Christian.  His army buddies said he was definitely a g-rated guy.  He was barely 25 when he was killed while carrying wounded to safety.

 So, it is sort of a dead end.  Even with what we do know, we really don’t know that much.  We strongly suspect he had a subtle sense of humor like his brother Elson.  We know he had a sort of goofy walk like my husband and son.  It is hard to describe.  We do know that on more than one occasion he ‘spoke French’ to a vehicle he was working on.  That’s about it.  We know these things from reading ‘One More Hill’ by Frankly Johnson.  If you read Frank’s book, the man he calls ‘Pappy’ is Gerald.  Although Gerald was only 25 when he died, he was the old guy in the outfit, so they called him pappy.  By the way, Franks’ book was recently re-published and is required reading at West Point and several other places.  tells a little about Gerald’s last earthly day.

 We all know something else.  We know that based on his faith in Jesus Christ, we will see him in heaven.  THEN we can all really get to know him and talk about whatever people talk about in heaven.  I am sure it will be things that are very interesting and that the food will be excellent.

 But, in the meantime, the profiling goes on.  I was thinking about this recently due to a family member getting a duplicate set of Gerald’s medals.  But I started thinking about someone else from history and eternity that everyone needs to get to know better.  That is Jesus Christ. 

 Today there are people who have such a small concept of Jesus that they confuse him with Allah and bunch of other beings who claim to be God. 

 In profiling Jesus we have a written book filled with information about Jesus that will help get started, and carry through to a truthful profile of Jesus.  Through these writing people have the opportunity to get a clear picture of who Jesus is and what He did and what He does.  It is the Bible.

 The Bible is unique among books.  God used many authors to write the book.  Each author wrote the words of God, but was allowed to write in a style peculiar to that author. 

The first four books of the New Testament tell us many things about Jesus.  Each was written by a different person with a different perspective, but each book tells the same story.

 They tell us Jesus was the virgin born Son of God.

They tell us Jesus was crucified to death, buried, rose the third day, was seen by many people, and ascended to heaven to be with the Father, leaving the promise He was coming back.

 Those are key points in the life of Christ.  However, we are also given much more information about Jesus in the Bible.

We know that:
Jesus loved children.  Of children He said, ‘Such is the kingdom of heaven.’
Jesus had compassion.  He was always feeding the hungry and healing the sick.
Jesus had power never seen in a mere human being before or after Him.
Jesus had power to raise the dead.
Jesus came especially to seek out and save those lost – those separated from God because God is perfect and they are not.  The Bible calls them sinners.  Today we think of a ‘sinner’ as a very evil person.  In truth a sinner is anyone who isn’t entirely perfect and righteous.
Jesus came to call sinners to repentance.
Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world.
Jesus died to make a way to enter heaven for those who turn to Him.

Also in profiling Jesus we can follow the prophecies of Moses and the Prophets found from Genesis to Malachi.  We have the entire Bible to use in getting to know Jesus.

 This is not a scientific paper, or a paper written to get a passing grade from a university professor watching to see if my references are all correct.  It is really intended to challenge those who would consider a profile done of a criminal as gospel truth, but doubt the truth and authority of the Bible.  Do a profile of Jesus Christ.  Do it honestly with the intention of determining the truth.  Look at the evidence.  Set personal feelings aside. 

 There is historical evidence for Jesus from different eye witnesses clearly recorded in the Bible.

Pay strict attention to the eye witness evidence of Jesus’ character.  Watch what He did in specific situations, how He reacted to pain and suffering, and how He took the penalty of sin on Himself.  These things will help you not to confuse Jesus with other’s who claim to have a way of salvation also.  People have a right to follow others instead of Jesus, but they cannot combine Jesus with any other and still be truthful. 

 The resurrection of Jesus is unique among religions.  Most want to say Jesus did not rise from the dead.  The evidence that He did rise again is overwhelming.  For instance, the behavior of His followers gives clear evidence that He did indeed rise from the dead.  Consider that when Jesus was crucified, almost all of His followers deserted Him and ran away.  They went straight back to their old lives.  Or perhaps they went further into riotous living than before they met Jesus.  After all, Peter went fishing naked after Jesus was crucified.  I don’t read he was a naked fisherman when Jesus first called Him.  BUT, when they met the risen Jesus their lives changed.  They recognized and acknowledged who He really is.  They followed Him for the rest of their lives under trying circumstances that led to the death of most of them.  Of course there is other evidence.  It can be found in the Bible. 

 To profile Jesus:
Ask your questions
Weigh the answers given in the Bible
Test the arguments

 Look at the prophecies fulfilled.

Look for prophecies yet to be fulfilled such as the two witnesses who will proclaim Jesus from Jerusalem for 3 ½ years.

Look for false prophets who have no mention in the Bible. For instance there is no prophecy of Joseph Smith and the Mormons, nor any indication of the blatant changes made to the Bible in the book written by Joseph Smith.  It isn’t there.  Don’t be fooled.

Neither is there any prophecy of Mohammad or any of the things he wrote in his book.  Don’t be fooled.  By the way, Mohammad denied Jesus was crucified at all.

Neither did Jesus teach that all roads lead to heaven.  He taught no one was going to heaven except through Him.

Neither did Jesus teach that ‘if your good works outweigh your bad works you will get into heaven’.  He taught salvation by grace through faith and not of works.

 Honestly, in doing a profile of Jesus Christ you are doing a profile of truth.  In profiling anyone you want to get at the truth.  If you have a relative you want to be a genius philanthropist, you won’t find that person in a truthful profile if he/she was really a poor person with limited intelligence.  The point of a profile is an accurate and truthful picture of the person you are profiling.  If you are profiling an ancestor, then it really doesn’t matter if you kid yourself a little – or even a lot.  In profiling Jesus Christ it matters.  It matters for eternity. 

 Here are a few songs that ‘profile’ heaven.

In heaven I will see daddy and granddad and my father in law and his brother Gerald.

These beloved people are there waiting for us in the place where Jesus is. 

In the Sweet By and By

Goin’ Home

 Pearly White City

 Take My Hand Precious Lord

 Across the Bridge (there’s no more sorrow)

In doing a profile of Jesus Christ those seeking to really know Him will see the way into heaven.

He is the way that leads to life everlasting.

 In this world in which we live, Christians have so many distractions it is often difficult to stay focused on the things that matter.  It is time for every Christian to do a self-profile and see if what value they place on their citizenship in heaven.  Everyone of us could probably at least tweak our actions here on earth to do a little better.

We don’t have words to describe heaven.  We really don’t even have the mental capacity to understand the wonders of heaven.  We do know it will be better than anything we can imagine.  It will be filled with the wonder of little children.  We also know there is room for all those we can show the way to Jesus.  Part of our personal Christian profile should be our willingness to point others to Jesus.   Our strength is in the Lord.  He will strengthen us to tell others the wonderful words of life found only in Jesus Christ.

 Wonderful Words of Life

Rock of Ages

 His Eye is On the Sparrow

 There is Coming a Day

My friends, there really is a day coming.  There is still time to improve your own Christian profile. Tell the world that Jesus saves, and no other has the words of life.

And just for good measure remember the Old Rugged Cross.  Our Christian profile is really a way of telling others how important that cross is to us. 

The Old Rugged Cross