I started on a journey to “truth” when I was in high school that continued into college. I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, but I was confident truth could be known. I didn’t know where I would find it, but I sensed intuitively that truth was accessible and all around us. I looked anywhere and everywhere, in all the writers, thinkers, philosophers and, last of all, religious leaders that seemed to speak confidently on the subject.
I found what I was looking for. Whether it is, “The Truth” will only be confirmed in the hereafter, but I know this for a certainty: that the inner hunger and drive that I had when I was younger was met when I encountered Jesus Christ!
This is the fourth in a four part series on Seeking God/Finding Jesus. The series starts where many of us start, wondering, but not getting any answers – When God Does Not Answer, and I explore what the problem is that keeps us from God. Then I explore the issue deeper with an anecdotal example from my own life in Getting to the End of Self and get into the potentially different paths for finding God with Different Paths. This is the conclusion: Seeking God: Finding Jesus!
This is not just my story of my wandering from angst, doubt, frustration and the struggle for meaning in life, but the story of countless people over the years who have found what I have found. The answer is near you and near all of us!
The Answer is Jesus!
Christianity, and Judaism before it (which provides that backdrop and foundation to Christianity) is unlike any other religion. They are historical in the sense that they refer to real people and real locations in real time and place. They are historical in the sense that they claim to chronicle the revelation of God to a particular people in those particular times and places.
In that sense, Christianity is verifiable, falsifiable.
Jesus affirmed the Scripture and the Law of the Old Testament, but not in the way many people think. The Law was given to expose sinfulness. The whole point of the Law was to reveal to us that we are sinful, and it does that because, if we are honest, none of us have kept the Law perfectly as given. Not able to keep the Law, we only become aware of our own sin because of it. It exposes the poison of sin in us.
From the beginning, God purposes to introduce introduce a new covenant, which is the antidote to the sin (the poison) in us. All through the Old Testament, there are hints and not just hints, but express statements, that a Savior would come who would introduce this antidote to sin to the world. Jesus is that One who was referenced in the Scripture!
Jesus told the religious leaders who opposed Him that they searched the Scriptures “because you think in them you have eternal life”, but they missed the whole point: the Scriptures bear witness to Jesus! In fact, there are hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah that were all fulfilled by Jesus!
Many call Jesus a wise teacher, but they don’t believe He was God or that He was from God any more than other wise men in history. This may sound reasonable, but it isn’t.
The claims Jesus made about Himself, like the Scriptures bearing witness to Him, and many others, could not have been made by a “wise man” because Jesus clearly spoke of Himself as God! When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one,” the religious leaders wanted to stone him for blasphemy.
They knew what He was saying – that he was equating himself to God.
Wise people and “good teachers” are not confused about their own deity. A person claiming to be Jesus today would be in the same category as someone claiming to be the Messiah (Christ in Greek) in the 1st Century. We would view them as crazy or worse – evil, trying to manipulate gullible victims. But that is exactly what Jesus claimed.
He is either God, crazy or evil.
His resurrection sealed the deal. If He rose from the dead, He is who he said He was – God!
That may sound fantastical to a modern skeptic, but consider the evidence of the resurrection: all of His followers claimed to see Him risen in bodily form, and they stuck to their story even when it meant persecution and death. Almost all modern scholars agree that they actually believed what they said.
And the proof is not merely historical. I submit to you that the proof exists today. Jesus said that He was going to the Father until the “end of the age”, but He was leaving the Holy Spirit, a Helper, for us. If that is true, the same Spirit of God is accessible to us today!
How we find God (and access the Spirit of God) is what I have been exploring with a four part series, of which this is the last segment.
Understanding who God is and who we are, involves letting go of self and embracing God as He is. Jesus said, unless a seed falls into the ground and dies it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. The seed is us. Dying means letting go of self and submitting to God who made us, and the fruit is the life of God (His Holy Spirit) in us, renewing and regenerating us.
We are just seeds. We are tightly packed into the shell of ourselves. We need to allow ourselves to be buried, to die to our own wants and will, so that we might be born again, born from above, born of the Spirit of God (to become who we were meant to be)!
When we die to ourselves, when allow ourselves to be buried deep in Christ, we sprout and grow and become the tree, the person we were meant to be.
Jesus said “I am the way the truth and the life”. Jesus said “I am the light of the world”; “I am the Living Water”; and “I am the Bread of Life. Jesus is the light and the water and the food that we need to grow. Jesus is everything that we need to grow into the person God created us to be.
When we die to ourselves, and allow Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, giving our lives as a sacrifice to Him, the Spirit (the third Person of the Triune God) takes up His dwelling within us and we are born again. We give up ourselves and receive newness of life! In this newness of life, we become the children of God, heirs to all that He is and has.
We give up our lives, but we gain everything we could ever want!
In the end, we don’t “find” God; we don’t find Jesus. We get out of God’s way; we die to ourselves to allow God in. We open our hearts to receive Him (His seed), and we allow Him into the center of our lives.
That is where God desires to be. And we receive not only all of who God is (light, life, living water, bread of life and more), but we begin to become all that God intended us to be – reflections of God’s person and character.
This is a process that begins with being born again. And that is beyond the scope of this piece. But we can be assured of this: “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion”.
If you want to begin this journey, ask God in confess that Jesus is your Lord and tell someone:
“’The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Romans 10:8-13)
 “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished,” (Matt. 5:18).
 “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40).
 John 10:33
 “I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:14)
 John 4:10 & John 7:37-39
 John 14:6
 John 8:12
 John 6:35
 “[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
 “[P]resent your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind….” (Romans 12:1-2)
 “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Cor. 6:16)
 “I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)
 “Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13)
 Philippians 1:6