Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Answer in the form of a question

This morning I found myself stuck behind a Palm Tran bus making it's fitful journey down Broadway. On the rear was an advertisement for a new house of worship called the J.I.T.A. Cathedral. The meaning of the acronym was explained in bold letters below. JESUS IS THE ANSWER. On one level I believe this to be true. Hallelujah, Jesus is the answer! But wait, he's the answer to what? I wonder if the implication behind the ad isn't something like, "come to our church and find out how Jesus is the answer to all of your questions and problems." A cosmic Dr. Phil. Who is Jesus? A life coach. Who is Jesus? A ticket to prosperity and happiness...a daily double! Who is Jesus?

If such is the case I beg to differ, since Jesus is the answer to a very specific set of problems -- sin, separation from God, wrath, a coming judgment -- which happen to be the sort of problems that modern man isn't prone to recognize as his most dire. Deciding to follow Jesus may create more problems, and questions, as he made clear to his disciples over and over again. He may not be the answer you're looking for. If I was doing the ad I would have called it the J.I.T.Q. Cathedral -- JESUS IS THE QUESTION. A very existential approach, yes, but one I think gets more to the point than the vague generalities that get thrown around. What's the question? It's the same one Christ asked of his disciples in Matthew 16, Mark 8, and Luke 9, and it's the same one that confronts each of us yet. "And he [Jesus] asked them, 'But who do you say that I am'?" What if the answer to the question posed by Jesus of Nazareth is of ultimate significance?

Who do you say that he is?


Tara said...

WOW...Stephen, this was a particularly well-written and thought-provoking muse.

Excellent observation! Thanks for sharing.

Stephen Ley said...

Tara, thanks for reading!