Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

Who do you believe?

Who do you believe?

I still remember the first and only time I saw Santa Claus and his sleigh. I was lying in my grandparents bed after sunset as the sky was changing from red to dark red. I could see out of the window the tops of the shop buildings half a mile away when the sleigh slowly came in to land on the top of the shops. I don't remember anything after that as I must have fallen asleep.

I have not told this story to many people. I did tell it to a close relative this week who, to be honest, didn't believe me. She had a variety of rational explanations for me: I was dreaming; imagining it; reconstructed memory; wishful thinking ... etc.

 

Mary's story of the angel could have sounded just as far fetched. How would anyone know if it was true? Even if she had an honest face. Her son had a similar problem. Although he was pretty circumspect in how he spoke there was no getting away from the fact that he was claiming to be God. The theological scholars of his day understood him very clearly. They didn't believe him but they understood what he was saying.

Was he imagining it? Pulling the wool over people's eyes? Deluded (my close relative was too polite to suggest this in my case)? How would you know?

If a human says they are God you would expect them to act like God. Jesus did lots of things that support his claim but one of the clearest was when he stopped the wind and calmed the sea. Humans have done many wonderful things but controlling the wind and the sea are not among them - nor are they likely to be.

Rising from the dead is another evidence that his claim is true. But if it is true, is it just a curiosity? What does it mean for Jesus to be God? Part of the answer lies in what he does. And what he did. And what he will do.

One day he will judge all the humans - with inside knowledge and no chance of having the wool pulled over his eyes. One day in the past he took his humanity to the grave on behalf of all the other humans who trust themselves to him, so that when the judgment comes they will say he has gone through the judgment of death for them. Today he invites everyone who will believe him to join him. To obey and worship him as God, and to let him take over their lives. To trust that his death was their death.

Do you believe him?

Dale

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