Summary: The Bible doesn’t offer a Buffet. The Bible presents ONE God and ONE way to be saved. Some people accept that as truth. Others want to find something else on the buffet table...
Why> Series # 6
Luke 9: 18-25
Scripture Reading: Luke 9:18-25
Have you ever been to a really good buffet? It’s the kind of restaurant I like to go to when you have a big group of people because everyone can get what they want. They can go down the line and pick and choose … Mexican food, Seafood, Chinese, Italian, good old American. You can try something new, and if you don’t like it … set it aside and go back for something else…
That’s great when you’re eating out (except that you may over-eat trying to get your money’s worth). But it doesn’t work so well when you take the buffet approach to your belief system. A lot of people think of “religion” as a kind of smorgasbord. They take a little of what Buddha said over here and try out some of what Mahatma Gandhi said over there with a little Jesus sprinkled over it and some Scientology sauce on the side. And for dessert they try some Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura with a big dollop of Opra on top. If it all tastes good, they keep it … and they’ve put together their own buffet of life. The best part is, if they lose their taste for any part of it, they can set it aside and try something else.
The only problem is: the Bible doesn’t offer a Buffet. God isn’t a buffet kind of God. The Bible presents ONE God and ONE way to be saved. Some people accept that as truth. Others don’t like it. They want to set it aside and find something else on the buffet table that looks better to them.
It’s all a matter of perspective. Most of what we do in life comes down to our own perception of what’s going on around us. Which reminds me of a story I read about a lady who had a “Honk if you Love Jesus” bumper sticker on the back of her car.
She wrote to her friend and said, “What a wonderful experience I had … and all because of that bumper sticker. I was sitting at a red light, so lost in thought that I hardly even noticed the light had changed … when the guy behind me spotted my bumper sticker and started honking like crazy. He must have really loved Jesus!
Then he gave me some kind of funny one-fingered wave. I asked my kids in the back seat what it meant and they started giggling and looked at each other. Then they explained that it was “The Hawaiian good luck sign.” So I turned around and gave him the same kind of friendly wave.
Well, pretty soon everyone was yelling and honking. I joined right in, honking and waving at them all. It was like a big pep rally for Jesus. A couple of people got so caught up in the joy of the Lord that they jumped out of their cars and ran toward my car. I really wanted to wait and pray with them, but I suddenly realized the light was green. So, I hit the gas pedal and went on through the intersection. Good thing I did because I was the only car that made it across before the light turned red.
As I drove away I leaned out the window and gave them a big Hawaiian good luck sign. What a wonderful experience. I never knew there were so many enthusiastic Christians out there on the road!”
It’s all about perception.
1. Who do the crowds say I am?
In Luke chapter 9, Jesus asked his disciples about the perceptions of the crowds who were following him around Galilee. When Jesus asked, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” His disciples didn’t have to stop and think it over. They had heard the talk and the rumors. They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life." Luke 9:19
Some of the people thought Jesus might be some sort of reincarnation of John the Baptist. John was Jesus’ cousin. For a few years, John preached powerful sermons in the wilderness. But then John was executed by Herod. So, some people believed John the Baptist had re-appeared in the form of Jesus.
Others thought he might be one of the Old Testament prophets, returning to show the way. There were all kinds of perceptions floating around out there.
And it’s really not all that different today. There was a Jesus Seminar recently where scholars from many traditions debated the identity of Jesus of Nazareth. Some people see him as a wise man… some as a sage or guru… some as a prophet or a wizard… some as a philosopher. Some people think of Jesus as no more than a super-nice guy … kind of like Ritchie Cunningham was on Happy Days. If he’s around, you just feel good. And some see him as a sort of Green Peace Jesus with long hair and sandals, protecting the environment and taking care of all God’s creatures.