From Where You Sit…
Written By: Chris Mace
From where you sit, do you see what I see?
We live in the same world, maybe in the same neighborhood, or even in the same household but still can have very different perspectives on life. What we learn and the way we learn and experience the world can be very diverse. So, our stories, expectations, and values will vary…some in insignificant ways but others in widely divergent views. Our focuses may differ. Some of us are caught in the weeds and entanglements of daily living. Others view the distant hills of opportunity and imagination.
In fact, our constructs about meaning, purpose, values, ethics, morality, politics, religious beliefs, and understandings of the universe become so deeply personal and ingrained that we are not readily open to evaluate different or opposing views or even consider established facts if they defy what we believe or what we want to continue to believe. We effectively respond with, “Don’t confuse me with the facts! They are too challenging, too unsettling, too disruptive for me to even consider. I am comfortable with my view of things.”
That is the kind of thinking Jesus faced. He was opposed because his message was both extraordinary and countercultural and demanded some introspective evaluation. There was then, is now, and always will be skepticism and cynicism related to Jesus, his origins, his claims, and his mental health. He said he came into the world to expose it to truth, that in truth He is Truth. However, the Gospels repeatedly tell us that although many believed in him, many did not.
He was wildly different from centuries of expectations and imaginations garnered from ancient, sacred, prophetic documents about who the Messiah would be and what he would do. His claims stretched believability, but more importantly he faced preconceived ideas about his social background and his identity. A poor, itinerant Rabbi from Nazareth did not fit the perceived mold.
Blinded to his character, discounting his miraculous works, and ignoring grace filled teachings, the religious leaders could only see him as a blasphemer, a usurper of their authority, and a danger to their security. Rather than attempting to understand him, they opposed him by trying to undermine, ensnare, and eventually murder him.
The difference in people’s receptivity to Jesus not only depended on their attitudes but on their encounters with him. To know somebody requires interaction and openness to “hear” and “see.” Jesus said as much. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” “ He who has eyes to see, let him see” (Matthew 13:9-16)
We may be skeptics or cynics or just uninterested, but in fairness to Christ, we should attempt to get to know him before making a judgment about him. The only way to do that is to meet him first. The New Testament Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) chronicle his conversations, teachings, activities, purposes, and claims. Investigating Christ will not allow one to be neutral about him. Either he is who he claimed to be, or he is a very disturbed individual who has duped millions of believers. He is either Savior or a hoax. It would seem crucial to make a decision about him.