As I have encountered people both on my European trip and now here in PACT it is easy to get people to recognize that we all have the same questions and that we all seek a total answer. I also think, and have seen for myself, that most people find that the only reasonable answer to those core questions come from Someone bigger than themselves. This makes sense. We did not make ourselves and by looking at the world it is hard to image that everything could come from someone that was not infinite. Good.
Now here is the question to ponder - how do you make what seems to be a huge leap from recognizing that there exists Someone (and who knows what this someone is called?) to the Person of Jesus Christ that loves us conditionally and died so that we may live. How do you arrive there in a conversation? Where does Christ fit into the picture? I am struggling to find the right questions to ask people to get there.
1. Jesus Christ presents himself as God. This was something new. A man, within the confines of time/history declares himself to be God. He states that He is the Way, Truth and Life. That nobody has life but through Him. Jesus Christ is a historical fact. His life really happened. His death really happened. His resurrection really happened. He is as true as Kennedy, Napoleon, Francis of Assisi, Caesar, Plato, etc. Except, he claimed to BE GOD. This is a problem for us and for everyone. It demands an answer...Christ demands an answer when He says, "I am the resurrection and the life. Do you believe this?" or following the Bread of Life Discourse in Jn. 6, "Will all of you leave me also?" He either is who he says he is, or he is a liar, or he is a lunatic, a crazy person. Nobody else has claimed status with God. They have claimed to be prophets, mystics, messengers, anti-God, etc. So, within history, we have enfleshed for us, One to states that He is the answer to our deepest longings for truth, goodness and beauty. Do we believe Him? Can He satisfy us?
2. This leads nicely into the second point: Witness. It makes sense to me that as one comes to ask the questions and understand life (your first paragraph), that someone ought to look seriously into an answer to his/her problem before life. You and I have done this. We know tons of other people who have done his. We have found Christ to be who he said he is - savior, redeemer, Love itself, healer, our greatest joy, happiness, goodness, beauty, etc. How do we get a person to "make the leap to Christ"? By presenting the Fact of Christ (point 1), and by witnessing to your present experience of Christ - His very presence in your life, in your encounter with Him, in your experience of relationship with Him.
By getting a person open by asking existential questions (your first point), and sharing your experience in this regard, you should have common footing with which you can launch into your experience with Christ - the answer to your heart's deepest needs and desires.
Andrea's closing thoughts:
The two points you made are powerful. Both are entirely reasonable. Either Christ is God or He is a lunatic. Any other conclusion is illogical – especially the position of Him just being a great moral teacher (for what great moral teacher would constantly lie about who he is?). However, I also know in my life that it has been the witness of so many that have shown me that not only is Christ reasonable, but perhaps more importantly, that He matters. He means something. Believing in Him changes everything because He changes my identity, my life, my very being. Christ becomes relevant in the witnesses of others.
|Even Lebron's witnesses left him.|
But witnessing takes time. It takes more than just a one-time conversation acknowledging that we all have the same questions. It takes a relationship, love, and service. We can talk about life forever but until we live it with purpose and meaning in Christ all that talk is just nice philosophy. Ministry, education, friendship—all take patience and the humility not to be discouraged and leave it to Jesus. It also takes a willingness to be vulnerable about our own stories and how Christ has healed the places that we are most broken and ashamed about. This vulnerability is hard too– well at least for me.