CHRISTIAN COMMENT Whatever happened to Jesus of Nazareth?

If you want to discuss the world’s problems and how to solve them, steer clear of politicians. They’re the ones who cause the problems. Rather, talk to your local grocer or barber.

Seriously. There’s something about handling fruit and veggies, and messing about in other people’s hair, that’s endowed these guys with some amazing insights. Besides, they talk for free!

 So here I was at the local grocer’s engaged in deep conversation. In the course of our discussions, I expressed a view which suggested I held a Christian perspective. He didn’t seem to mind, and we’d have carried on regardless had not this other man, also in the shop, cut in to inform me in no uncertain terms, how very wrong I was about Jesus. 

 Had this incident happened thirty years earlier I’d have gladly returned the favour. I’d have told him how very ignorant and wrong he was. And not left until I’d tried, at least once, to wipe the floor with him.

 I’ve grown up a lot since. I’ve learned too that some truths are best appreciated not through ensuring a humiliating defeat, but by encouraging a personal experience. After all, if – as the Bible claims – Jesus is indeed alive and available to all who call on His name, then that’s something anyone who really wants the truth could easily check out for themselves. Right? 

 Christians believe that Jesus is alive not because the Bible says so, but because they’ve had a personal encounter with Him. Jesus said: ‘My sheep hear my voice and they follow me’.

Authentic Christians do not follow a book; they follow a person. As Jesus Himself pointed out, Scripture exists to draw people to Him, because He is ‘the hope of the world’.

The reason we can continue to speak of Him in this hopeful manner is because He is still alive. 

 The message of Easter is not that the tomb is empty. Rather it is that Jesus is alive, and available to you and to me, right now, today.

Philip Athyal lives in Worthing and attends Goring New Life Baptist Church.