Archive: The Question

By Lon Woodrum Evangelist, author and Contributing Editor of “Good News” Reprinted from Christian Economics Magazine

Our world may fall or survive according to how it answers an old question. Jesus put that question, not only to the argumentative Pharisees, but to all the ages that should come after Him: What think ye of Christ?

Responding to this question as God wills requires something of a death-march, a self-dying, a surrender of man’s most prized possession, his pride. It involves man’s recognition of God’s sovereignty, the acceptance of the “foolishness” of the Gospel.

This is not easy; for man is stubbornly wrong, not right; amazingly evil, not good. The bent away from God is ever more terrible than he thinks. He harbors more hell than he knows. He rejects truth in a measure greater than he imagines. He lies to himself with ingenuity. He deceives himself successfully. As an old maxim-maker said, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

A tendency of the Church today is to explode into political or social action, with a lessening emphasis on the individual, redemptive aspects of the Gospel; that is, to act rather than to think spiritually.

We do not wholly discount social action. But both political and social action can be dangerous if we do not think deeply about the claims of Christ before we act. Intensity of action without Christian motivation is dangerous. Men acted in Germany under Hitler, and in Russia under Stalin. Young men are acting today on college campuses-men who refer to hard-core Communists as “fuddy-duddy revolutionaries”!

Only when we have given reverent thought to Christ and, like Simon Peter, have come to know Him as “the Son of the living God”; have taken His Word without question; have been given the dynamic of His Spirit, are we truly capable of genuine Christian social action.

Actually, it is not enough that we think about Christ. Men have been thinking about Him a long time. He has thrust Himself irresistibly into the world’s mind. The philosopher, historian, scientist, theologian cannot escape Him. But it is what we think of Him that matters. When He was on earth, men thought on Him. Some were ready to crucify Him; others were ready to die for Him.

The New Testament reports that some thought He was a bad man. The Romans saw Him as an enemy of the state; the pharisees saw Him as a foe of the Church. The religious chieftains were especially disturbed by His testimony that He and the Father were one. This made Him not only undesirable, but dangerous to them. So Jesus was to them a false prophet; even worse, a false messiah.

Others saw Jesus as a madman. Only a mentally disturbed man could make such outlandish claims as He made! Consider His remark: “Before Abraham was, I am!” Into what delusions of grandeur must a mind reach before it could announce a thing like that! Then there was that other ridiculous thing He said—”He that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live!”

However, some saw Jesus as the God-man. This was what He claimed to be, of course. He put the challenge squarely before men, saying that if they couldn’t believe Him because of His words, they should believe Him because of His works. Indeed, His works were amazing. His was a power they had never witnessed in another; He bore authority that was both frightening and comforting. How could you disregard a Man who could call back the dead, or make a hurricane lie down like a pet dog?

Other things about him could not be brushed off: His holiness, His insight into man’s nature, His knowledge of God. Small wonder one of them finally cried out: “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

Today, with our wing-scream in the skies, our thunder in the earth and oceans, we are still forced to think about this Man from Nazareth. To some He is still evil; to others mad. To still others He is the God-man, the last, finest hope of earth.

If He is other than He claims to be, His critics are right: He is either bad or mad. But if He is all He claims to be, we are confronted with the most amazing fact in the world: God’s invasion of human history as a personal Redeemer; God, becoming Justifier of the unjust, Saviour of the ungodly.

Little wonder the philosophic Greeks called that insanity, for it sounds irrational to “the wisdom of this world.” It mocks all our legal systems, makes havoc or our human judgments. Yet this is precisely what the Gospel teaches.

Many things there are to think about in our moment of history; the threat of a global thermonuclear holocaust; nearly half a hundred wars and revolutions going on in the earth; protestations from dangerous young minds; racial conflict, the escalation of crime until some experts fear national anarchy in our land; apostasy of men from the old spiritual standards, and declension of morals. But if we will not think of Christ in the right way, soon it may not matter what we think about all these other things!

What think ye of Christ?

That is THE question.


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