Monday, May 20, 2002
Let's say you have a friend who's a classical music fan - and he really likes the music of this composer named Beethoven. Now, you don't know much about this Beethoven guy, but you accept your friend's invitation to go to a concert where Beethoven's Fifth Symphony is going to be presented. The performers are the local junior high band. Now your friend has told you repeatedly that Beethoven was a genius and his music spectacular. But, after hearing the squeaking and squawking of 13-year-olds giving that symphony a go, you walk out saying, "Man, forget this Beethoven guy and his music!"
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "The Composer and the Performers."
Of course the problem with that concert was not Beethoven - it was how that band performed what he wrote. Jesus has that same problem with those who try to "perform His music" - that is, try to live what He taught. Now, the Composer is still a genius - but don't judge Him by those who play His music imperfectly.
It may be that you've been burned by religion - hurt or disillusioned by religious people. Or even by religious leaders. From a fallen tele-evangelist to an adulterous pastor to an abusing priest, most of us have known or known of some "spiritual leader" who has fallen. For believers, it is like a kick in the stomach. For those who already are skeptical about Christianity, it is just another reason not to believe.
But in spite of these flawed performances, Jesus is still the genius who has brought peace and meaning to millions of lives over the years. Not Christianity. Not the Christian religion. Jesus. The great tragedy of seeing the failures of those who play Jesus' "music" imperfectly is that you can miss Jesus. And He's too good to miss. And the cost of missing Him is much too expensive to pay.
Our word for today from the Word of God - 1 Corinthians 2:2 - bottom lines the central issue on which yours and my eternity depends. Jesus' great ambassador, Paul, says, "I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." That's it - nothing except Jesus and His cross. The cross where the Son of God died to bear the death penalty for every wrong thing you've ever done. It's all about Jesus and what He did for you because He loves you so much.
Everywhere Jesus went, He extended a two-word invitation - "Follow Me" (Mark 1:16). He didn't say, "Follow My religion" or "My leaders" or "My followers". Christians aren't the issue. It's all about Jesus. Now - and on Judgment Day. Because all God is going to want to know is, "What did you do with My Son?" Christianity, the religion, has sometimes wounded people and let people down. But Jesus never has. And He is the issue. For now - and forever.