Summary: Just like Peter learned, there really isn't anywhere else to go and no one else to go to, other than Jesus.
A. As you are well aware, we live in a day that can be described as an age of pluralism.
1. Pluralism has many meanings, but one meaning has to do with there being many different options from which we can choose.
2. Just like there are many channel choices in cable television (200 or 300 or more different channels), similarly when it comes to religion, people have a lot of options.
3. There are a lot of different Christian churches - there are a lot of different churches that fit into the general category of Christendom.
4. And then there are many other religions other than Christianity, and all of those are options in today’s world.
5. We live in a land and an age with many choices.
B. But in addition to having many choices, pluralism also promotes the idea that truth is subjective.
1. Subjective truth means that when I go into an ice cream parlor that has 31 different flavors I can choose whatever I want and declare that it is the right one for me.
2. And, of course, I choose chocolate peanut butter, because it is the best.
3. But maybe you, not knowing how good chocolate peanut butter tastes, choose plain vanilla.
4. But each of us is free to do whatever we like - not only can we choose the flavor we like, but we also can mix and match flavors into our own concoction.
C. All that is fine to do with ice cream, but sadly, that is the same thing that people try to do with religion.
1. People say, “Well, I mix and I match. And so I take a little bit of Christianity, and I take a little bit of eastern religion, and I add my own ideas with a little dab of humanism and a fragment of Scripture, and I come up with my own concoction that is just for me. And it really is exactly what I want, and what I want doesn’t have to be what you want because you can do your thing. I can do my thing. And we are both right and are both okay.”
2. And that’s the era in which we are raising our children, and that’s the mood of this generation.
D. With that in mind, consider this piece written by Kevin DeYoung, in his Restless and Reformed blog, where he describes what people think about Jesus today and how Jesus is often shaped into their own desires and ideas.
1. There’s the Republican Jesus—who is against tax increases and activist judges, and is for family values and owning firearms.
2. There’s Democrat Jesus—who is against Wall Street and Wal-Mart, and is for reducing our carbon footprint and printing money.
3. There’s Therapist Jesus—who helps us cope with life’s problems, heals our past, tells us how valuable we are and not to be so hard on ourselves.
4. There’s Starbucks Jesus—who drinks fair trade coffee, loves spiritual conversations, drives a hybrid, and goes to film festivals.
5. There’s Open-minded Jesus—who loves everyone all the time no matter what (except for people who are not as open-minded as you).
6. There’s Touchdown Jesus—who helps athletes run faster and jump higher than non-Christians and determines the outcomes of Super Bowls.
7. There’s Martyr Jesus—a good man who died a cruel death so we can feel sorry for him.
8. There’s Gentle Jesus—who was meek and mild, with high cheek bones, flowing hair, and walks around barefoot, wearing a sash (while looking very German).
9. There's Hippie Jesus—who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagines a world without religion, and helps us remember that ‘all you need is love.’
10. There’s Yuppie Jesus—who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat.
11. There’s Spirituality Jesus—who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine, and would rather have people out in nature, finding ‘the god within’ while listening to ambiguously spiritual music.
12. There’s Platitude Jesus—he’s good for Christmas specials, greeting cards, and bad sermons, inspiring people to believe in themselves.
13. There’s Revolutionary Jesus—who teaches us to rebel against the status quo, stick it to the man, and blame things on ‘the system.’
14. There’s Guru Jesus—a wise, inspirational teacher who believes in you and helps you find your center.
15. There’s Boyfriend Jesus—who wraps his arms around us as we sing about his intoxicating love in our secret place.
16. There’s Good Example Jesus—who shows you how to help people, change the planet, and become a better you.
17. “And then,” DeYoung says, “there’s Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Not just another prophet. Not just another Rabbi. Not just another wonder-worker. He was the one they had been waiting for: the Son of David and Abraham’s chosen seed; the one to deliver us from captivity; the goal of the Mosaic law; Yahweh in the flesh; the one to establish God’s reign and rule; the one to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, freedom to the prisoners and proclaim Good News to the poor; the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world...This Christ is not a reflection of the current mood or the projection of our own desires. He is our Lord and God. He is the Father’s Son, Savior of the world, and substitute for our sins – more loving, more holy, and more wonderfully terrifying than we ever thought possible.” (Kevin DeYoung, Who Do You Say That I Am? from his DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed blog, posted 6-10-09)