Summary: Some say 'Jesus is just another man.' How would you respond?
“Cross Currents: Jesus Is Just Another Man”
Have you ever heard someone say, “Jesus is just another man - a great one, perhaps, but just another man.” Professor Virginia Ramey Mollenkott is a leading teacher of this view – she states “Jesus is simply an elder brother, companion, and trail blazer, one among many siblings who shows us how to live in oneness with the divine source.” (i) What current streams out from the cross to speak against this view?
Let me set the scene. Imagine a conversation between a Christian and someone of this view. “What do you think of Jesus?” “He’s a good, perhaps great man.” “What made Him so great?” “He taught some good things and did some good things.” “How do you know He did?” “It’s been written about him.” “Other things have been written about Him – in the same Book – things like His death by crucifixion and His resurrection from the dead. What about those things?” “I don’t believe them.” “So you choose what to believe and not to believe?” “Yes – I guess so.” “How do you decide?” “I just ignore the things the things that don’t make sense.” “Is it really fair for you to subjectively determine what is true about Jesus and what is not? Wouldn’t it be wise to either believe none of it or all of it? Let’s assume it’s all true to see what impact or difference it can make.”
Consider the cross current Paul provides in the opening verses of Colossians. He proclaims, first, in verse 12, that if we believe Jesus died on the cross we recognize HE HAS ACCEPTED US. Our Father “…has qualified you ...” Through the cross Jesus QUALIFIED US. He fit us, made us adequate. Think about applying for a loan. The lending institution gathers all kinds of information about you to make sure you ‘qualify’, to assure themselves you have what it takes to pay back the loan. God has a history of qualifying people. He told the Israelites (Dt. 7:7-8), “The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the LORD loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors…” Now Paul points back to the cross and says Jesus has qualified us. He explained it when he wrote Titus (3:5-7): “…he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
Did you catch that? WE ARE QUALIFIED FOR A DIVINE INHERITANCE. The promise of a future inheritance is one of the many promises God makes to us in the Bible. One way to think about it is to point to Princess Diana. When she died in 1997, she left a sizeable inheritance for her two sons, William and Harry, in the amount of $20.4 million. With investments and interest, that amount grew during their teens and twenties to $31.4 million. But the provision was such that William and Harry were only able to inherit this considerable estate after their 30th birthdays. At age 30, the estate is theirs. It is has been promised to them. It is in their names, and it has been set aside for them. (ii)
So Paul said God “…has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” WE HAVE BEEN NAMED AS HIS HEIRS. It’s one of the awesome gifts He has given to us. Once again the language is drawn from the history of the Israelites. God assigned and gave each tribe an inheritance of land – a lot, a plot, a territory. It was an irrevocable gift. We, too, have been granted an inheritance. Through the cross Jesus qualified us to be the beneficiaries of His inheritance provisions. In the words of Peter (1Pt. 1:3-5 NLT): “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.”
If you ever feel unacceptable, not qualified, unworthy - turn to the cross and listen – the current flowing from Jesus on that cross shouts out that you are accepted, you are qualified. (Eph. 1:13-14 NLT) “And now you Gentiles have also heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people.” The cross and the Holy Spirit are proof that God has accepted and qualified us as His heirs. No wonder Dale Evans once said, “All of my life I’ve been looking for a pot of gold at the foot of a rainbow, and I found it at the foot of the Cross.”(iii) Believe it or not, the truth is Jesus’ death on the cross has qualified you for the only inheritance that really counts.