April 16th, 2006
Hebrews 13:8 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Throughout history, mankind has depended upon great people for guidance, leadership, hope, and direction. Think about a time in the past, in any country or kingdom, and you can name many individuals who stepped out from among the masses leading their people to victory over oppression, who have maintained a great nation of people, who have guided their kingdoms through famine or disease, or who guided their people through necessary changes in technology and knowledge in order to maintain their nation’s strength in a tough competitive world.
I think of General, and soon to be president, George Washington, who took a mixed group of people from many different backgrounds, stations in life, and positions in society, most with no military experience and turned them into a formidable and unified force and freed this young nation from oppression and tyranny.
I think of the many different Kings, Queens, and religious leaders of the renaissance period in Europe who had to come together to take care of millions of survivors of the Black plague that had just wiped out one out of every three people from all walks of life.
You can spend hours reading the history of hundreds of world leaders in politics, science, and medicine who have guided their nations through the last two centuries, maintaining their nation’s pride as the world went through a massive industrial and technological age that has literally changed the face of the world.
But through all of the wonderful and terrible changes, through all the times of peace and war, through all of the famines and the harvests of plenty, there has always been One – one person who has stood the test of time – one person who has reigned over all creation from the beginning, one person who set history in motion, one person who has promised the world that He is in control, one person who looks down from His place in heaven who is working through all of the people and physical events, continuously giving people permanent hope until he decrees the end of days.
His name is Jesus Christ.
George Washington is dead. We can no longer depend on his great leadership and his ability to bring this nation together.
Abraham Lincoln is dead. We can no longer depend on his passion for us, or his steadfast devotion to bring a young, deeply divided country back together as a unified whole.
The world can no longer listen for the great wisdom of Winston Churchill, or John F. Kennedy to guide us through threats of international security. The world can no longer look to the great temperance and patience of Gandhi.
These great leaders who brought their great countries and the world through perilous times are now dead.
Add your favorite man or woman from the past to the list who gave selflessly of their lives in order to make the world a better place. As great as these people were, they are no longer able to lead. Their words of advice may still be around, and wise people have certainly tried to follow them, but this world still struggles with the same problems and more – and on a larger scale than all of those who we have mentioned – and world still asks, “Who is going to help us? How will we ever come together? When will the wars stop? When will the diseases stop? Who is going to feed all of the starving children? When will there ever be peace that will last?”
All of the great leaders are gone. All of them. Who can we trust today?
There is One. His name is Jesus Christ. He is The One. Because He is not dead. He is risen. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
With Jesus Christ, there is no looking back. With Jesus Christ, there is no more wishful thinking.
With Jesus Christ, there is no “what could have been” or “What if.”
Because He is risen, we can know that His words of wisdom and hope are not only true, but they are still alive, and so His words are true – forever. Because He is risen, we can know that their will always be eternal life available for all who come to Him.
Because He is risen, we can know that there will be peace on earth, and men will demonstrate good will towards each other forever.
Because He is risen, there is a permanent answer to AIDS, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
Because He is risen, there is an answer to that nagging question in the back of your mind, “Is it all worth it?”
Why is Jesus Christ the answer? Because He was God is the past, He is God in the present, and He will always be God in the future for all eternity.
All of the hopes of this world, that rested upon the lives of great men and women of the past are now gone. They are dead. Their influence may still shine through in the lives of people today, but those great people of today – if there is such a person – will also die one day.
The hopes of mankind cannot rest on a man. With a man or a woman comes temporary hope. Hope that cannot guarantee but a few short years of light. No matter how great the light of a man, that light must necessarily be put out.
With Jesus Christ comes an eternal light, a hope that can never fade away. For it is impossible for the eternal light who created the world to be extinguished.
With Jesus Christ, we have the personal revelation of God. We have direct knowledge of God. Christ’s personal revelation is literally God speaking DIRECTLY to His people, and demonstrating the length to which God in heaven was and is willing to go, in order to have a personal relationship with His people.
With Jesus Christ, we have all of the fragmented area of our lives brought together. All of the unanswered questions of life are filled in, with no gaps, no what if’s, no maybe’s.
With Jesus Christ, there is no depending upon a man or a woman for the answers, no more depending on dead peoples wisdom to rise from the ashes like a mythical phoenix. There are no more dark nights of the soul with only the emptiness of mortal words echoing in an abyss.
With Jesus Christ, there are the words of life. Eternal life. Eternal hope. Permanent answers to life’s toughest questions. We have the spoken words of God in the flesh. Flesh that was once dead, but is now risen.
These words of Jesus Christ not only answer the most important questions of life, but go directly to the question of His becoming a human being in the first place. Why DID Jesus Christ add humanity to His divine glory? Jesus came to seek out and save people who are lost. And by now, surely, mankind has to realize that he is lost? The only things that mankind has been able to guarantee it’s citizens are the laws of gravity and death.
Jesus Christ came to save. Not just a certain people, or a nation, or a race. But all who will come to Him. All who recognize not just themselves, but that all of mankind is lost and helpless to save – just as our history lessons have already taught us.
Mankind has been in a mess from the beginning.
Mankind has been lost yesterday, today, and forever.
Those little bits of glory from an ancient Roman Empire, an ancient Chinese, Egyptian, Aztec or Greek dynasty, those brilliant flashes of light from Socrates, Confucius, or Descartes, are now snuffed out. As great as those ancient dynasties, as bright as those men of wisdom have been in the past, they are all together helpless to shine a single ray of hope as to the future of mankind or your individual soul.
It’s just as the nursery rhyme says: “all the kings horses and all the kings men, couldn’t put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.”
Who do you think the old Puritans who wrote that rhyme were talking about? They were talking about themselves. They were talking about George Washington. They were talking Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy, and they were talking about Billy Graham, and they were certainly talking about you and they were talking about me.
After all the thousands of years of history that we have to draw upon, it is painfully clear that mankind is in a messy dilemma. The choice is between continuing to trust good people, or to trust the One who came to save us from ourselves.
The choice is between the great men and women of the past who have a 100% mortality rate, and the One whose Words will never change, because He over came death by the blood of His cross, the power of God and is alive, and will never die.
The choice is between the greatest minds who ever lived, and are now dead – and the Creator of those minds who died once, but is now alive forever more.
And now that we know the rest of the story – who are we going to trust to lead us into the future? More great men and women? Or the One who is the same yesterday, today, and forever?