Why are we afraid of Jesus?

What is so threatening about Jesus?

Why do people desire to replace him with domesticated distractions like the Santa and Easter bunnies? Perhaps it’s because Jesus Christ can only be explained by use of categories beyond our experiences. The terms needed to reveal Jesus are so beyond our reality that they shatter many of our normal expectations.

How do we begin to wrap our minds around the truths taught about him in the Bible:

  1. His eternal existence in trinitarian co-equality as Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
  2. His Christophonies – pre-incarnate appearances throughout Old Testament history?
  3. His physical conception in the virgin and incarnation as Immanuel—God with us– in hypostatic union as the God-man?
  4. His numerous miracles and fulfilled prophecies? Here is one who healed the sick, made the lame walk,  opened the eyes of the blind, and raised the dead to life. Here is one who fulfilled ancient prophecies in His birth, life and death. Here is one who repeatedly predicted His own death and resurrection.

How do you respond to one who:

1. Claimed to exist before Abraham was born?

“Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). This is one of the strongest claims to Jesus being God (his deity) from his own confession. Concerning His use of  “I am” (ego eimi), N. T. scholar, D. A. Carson wrote, “Moreover, the strong linguistic connections with Isaiah 40-55 are supported by obvious conceptual links: cf. ‘I, the Lord’, – with the first of them and with the last- I am he (Is. 41:4); “Yes, and from ancient days I am he’ (Is. 43:13).  Cf. Ps. 90:2. That the Jews take up stones to kill him presupposes that they understand these words as some kind of blasphemous claim to deity.”  (P. 358, The Gospel According to John, D.A. Carson.  Cf. Also Ex. 3:14-15; Jn. 8:59 w/Lev. 24:16; Jn. 3:13; 17:5; Mic. 5:2 w.Mt. 2:1-6; Lk. 1:30-35)

2. Claimed the right to forgive sins?

See: Mark 2:5-10- This is especially instructive because it would have been a suitable opportunity for Jesus to correct the scribes if they misunderstood His words (see v. 7; also Jn. 19:7; Mt. 26:63-66)

3. Claimed that He would be the judge of all people? (John 5:22)

4. Claimed eternal duration for His words? (Matthew 24:35)

(see also, Mt. 5:21-22, 27-28; Mk. 2:27-28 w/Ex. 20:8-11, Jesus does not use the common Old Testament prophetic formula “Thus says the Lord.” Nor does he exclusively use the common introductory phrases used by teachers in Israel, “Moses said, Scripture says.” Jesus spoke with authority the words: “I say unto you” or “I tell you” synonymous with “Thus says the Lord.”

5. Claimed equality with God? (John 10:30; 14:7-9). 

In Creation: (Gen. 1:1 w/Jn. 1:1-3, 10; Col. 1:15-17; Heb. 1:1-3). In Judgment: (Rom. 14:10, 12; Jn. 5:22; II Tim. 4:1). In Sovereign rule: (Mt. 28:19-20; Eph. 1:20-22; I Pet. 3:22; Heb. 2:8)

6. Claimed the ability to give eternal life to those who believe on Him? (John 5:24-25)

7. Claimed that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him? (Matthew 28:18-20).

Jesus shatters our categories and demands our worship

Jesus claimed all these and more! These are claims so extraordinarily unprecedented that they shatter our categories and demand our worship (see: Phil. 2:10-11w/ Isa. 45:23; Rom. 14:11; Mt. 2:11; 8:2; 23:9; Jn. 5:23, 20:28-29).

We do not possess a fully comprehensible category for Jesus. Pre-existence? Virgin birth? Incarnation? Resurrection? Ascension? Promised return? It’s too much for us to wrap our minds around. It demands a God who “breaks in” on the natural order.

Yet worship is more than many are willing to offer. On Christmas, they prefer domesticated co-modifications like jolly bearded men in red suits. Such distractions are more accessible and frankly less threatening. I am not surprised that people hide behind them. I am not surprised that people mock belief in Jesus by comparing it to belief in Santa. To accept Jesus as he revealed himself to humanity is just too scary for some people.

The atheists and all other Christ-rejecting people miss the wonders and majestic realities of a God who breaks into our lives and into our reality. The God who shatters the normal, the mundane, the expected; A God who must be worshipped as above and beyond—yet as real and near.

What should we do with Jesus?

Judas betrayed and sold Him and He is still being sold.  Books, movies, new gospels, Davinci codes and Jesus seminars market him often trying desperately to change and domesticate him. They want to make him like us or less than us, or, at least as bad as us.

What did they do with Jesus?

  • Pilate’s wife said, “Have nothing to do with this righteous man” (Matthew 27:19-20).
  • Pilate said, “I find no fault in Him” (John 18:38; 19:4).
  • Judas said, “I have sinned, for I have betrayed innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4).
  • The criminal crucified next to Jesus said, “We are getting what we deserve but this man has done nothing wrong” (Luke 23:39-42).
  • The Roman centurion said, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
  • The apostle Paul wrote, “God made the One who knew no sin to be sin…” (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • The apostle John said of Jesus, “…in Him is no sin.” (1 John 3:5).
  • The apostle Peter said, “Jesus did no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22).

This was the overwhelming testimony about Jesus (Hebrews 4:15; 7:25-27). But what do we do with one like Jesus?

There are only 3 reasonable options:

  1. Reject Him as a liar
  2. Renounce Him as a lunatic
  3. Worship Him as the Lord and Savior He claims to be

Hide and Remain neutral?

You could try to remain neutral and hide behind domesticated co-modifications –like Easter bunnies and jolly Saint Nicks. But how sad to hide from the only Savior who offers Himself for us and for our sins. Our reality is so desperate that hiding is foolish. We need nothing less than a God who breaks in. And this is what Jesus has done for us.

How will you respond to Jesus Christ?

If Jesus had stayed dead:

Suppose that Jesus, having died on the cross, had stayed dead. Suppose that, like Socrates or Confucius, he was now no more than a beautiful memory. Would it matter? We should still have his example and teaching; wouldn’t they be enough? Enough for what?  Not for Christianity.

Without the resurrection of Jesus: Four things would change

Had Jesus not risen, but stayed dead, the bottom would drop out of Christianity, for four things would then be true.

  • First, to quote Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:17: ‘if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.’
  • Second, there is then no hope of our rising either; we must expect to stay dead, too.
  • Third, if Jesus Christ is not risen, then he is not reigning and will not return, and every single item in the Creed after ‘suffered and was buried’ will have to be struck out.
  • Fourth, Christianity cannot be what the first Christians thought it was— fellowship with a living Lord who is identical with the Jesus of the Gospels. The Jesus of the Gospels can still be your hero, but he cannot be your Savior.”  (The Third Day)

Let C. S. Lewis explain it:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic –on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg-or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Final word:

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

Steve Cornell

(see: The Truth about Jesus)

11 comments on “Why are we afraid of Jesus?

  1. aforcier says:

    ok, the dude claims to be a god. so, why are you surprise with is resume? what else is he suppose to do… than show off?

    but…. all of that stuff does not impress me much.

    if he had stop the earthquake in haiti… now that would have shown real caring and power. but he probably was on the phone with pat r.

    • thinkpoint says:

      I am not sure you would want God to intervene and put an end to all evil in this world. What would he have to do with you? It’s amazing how much we want swift intervening justice regarding everything and everyone but ourselves.

      A voice says, “Cry!” And I said, “What shall I cry?” All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; and surely the people is grass. The grass withers, the flower fades; But the word of our God will stand for ever. (Isaiah 40:6-9)

      • Is that your answer to the problem of evil? That it’s okay for a being, god included, to stand by and allow suffering to happen? If a human did that, not intervene when they could to stop something with bad consequences from happening and did not, what would we think of that person? I see no reason that a god should be judged any differently. Only an evil god would commit harm through inaction.

  2. aforcier says:

    ….god intervene and put an end to all evil?… and your answer is “no”… i don’t get your logic.

    what would he have to do with me? let me walk and lay down on the grass amidst the flowers… yes the grass withers… so do the flowers… and i too wither… but… it is how i am… and once my form and the forms of the present are no longer… energy will remain eternal.

    it is actually a beatiful verse.

    the earth rumbled and shaked… building collapsed. and the people died. no evil. no punishment. just the ways of the universe.

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

    • thinkpoint says:

      The problem of evil (whether of the circumstantial or human malice kind) is difficult to people who really care about others. But in some ways the problem raises even more complicated problems for those who adopt systems of thought that do not allow any absolute standard of goodness and beauty. If evil is able to be labeled for what it is, some type of standard exists. For one human to claim he can set the standard and then forcefully expect others to accept his claims (as Dawkins, Harris and the rest do throughout all their writings), is to elevate himself and denigrate those who disagree. Who says? is always the lurking question. I am always puzzled by atheists who speak categorically about evil and somehow oblige others to simply accept their assessments. Do I believe in evil? Yes. But I also accept an absolute standard of goodness. You atheists do not. So it is illogical for you to speak categorically about evil. Just share your feelings and opinions but don’t load them with critique aimed at others. To do so, is an exercise in contradictory absurdity. You are not even able to question my standard because no such standards exist for you. Or, if you hold to some personal standard it has no binding authority beyond yourself. The moment you exercise any form of moral indignation or rant about some god or someone else’s beliefs, you expose the illogical, irrational absurdity and hypocritical inconsistency of your professed beliefs (or, non-beliefs). This is the glaring problem with the angry little atheist Richard Dawkins. His writings, like those of Harris and Hitchens, are some full of outrage and moral appraisal that they are hard to take seriously. “Relax!” I say. You have no absolute standard to make moral appraisals of the beliefs of others. You only have your “feelings” on the matter. How dare you speak/write as if anyone is obliged to follow your feelings. You give the game away! Your entering a conversation that shouldn’t matter to you. You are getting worked up about things you don’t believe in. Every time an atheist engages me in this sort of argument, he exposes his own inconsistency and hypocrisy.

  3. aforcier says:

    ouch! – you’re not a happy camper with me. don’t blame you though. it’s never any fun to face disagreements. – your underlying “principle”, your authority for “absolute standard of goodness and beauty”…is a “god”. which you believe exists, which i say does not. – from that point on, we diverge in definitions.

    you make good and bad (evil) absolutes originating in that “entity”. me…. as a nature born being… make it relative. i accept to judge and qualify… as good or bad… what i perceive and receive… and i allow others to do the same. ( i don’t badger … those who do not experience life with – my – senses. )

    it is a great source of unhappiness for you and the earth when others do not follow in your absolutes’ footsteps. trying to impose your god’s standards on others… sends our human armies… marching on one another.

    and how much misery these absolutes bring even within our own mind.

    http://www.ANaturalPhilosophy.com

  4. aforcier says:

    who kills the most? theists or non-theists. both do. and with great “evilness”. you are right at that.

    the problem with you (religion)… is that you claim absolute goodness… derived from an all-good god… if god is all good… – do you see here that you cannot kill. period. – yet… for a very long time, religion has had very bloody hands.

    of course… you justify your actions through this or that passage, or verse, or higher morality, or divine guidance, or inspiration, or you heard voices… god is telling you to go and kill. than, you play a game of deception in your mind: you confess your sin… to god… the source of all goodness… and start all over again. in that is why we find theists… guilty of hypocrisy.

    you either let go of killing. – or let go of thinking you are receiving your orders form an all-good god.

  5. Gayle says:

    I believe that sinners ( as opposed to people) are afraid of Jesus because they are basically ignorant of who He is. They are afraid that if they should even allow themselves to truly study His life and teachings that they might be convinced that He is who He says He is, and then what? Many imagine that they would have to give up all sorts of things if they became a Christian, rather than the truth: Becoming a Christian makes life so much better. It is indescribable what Jesus can do for us, if we accept His gift of salvation. Many are also afraid of being ostracized by the world, not realizing that Christians do not care about such things. We are truly free. My thoughts on living a Christian life can be found in my blog at http://gaylesbloominblog.blogspot.com. Have a blessed day!

  6. Anonymous says:

    In our own hearts- there is something that compels us that we know of Jesus and WANT to serve Him, but worldly things that are among us have made us complacent to the forgetfulness of everyday thought due to the fact of TV and Internet which are submitting deviation.

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