Have you ever faced a firing squad and survived? I have; it is called "An Ordination Council." This is where one lone man stands, a pastoral candidate defending his faith; while a host of veteran pastors try their best to stump the poor guy with perplexing questions on doctrine and deep theology:
"Could Jesus have sinned? And if he couldn't have, than how can the bible say he was truly tested in every way as we are?"
"If Jesus was God, uncreated and eternal, how can Colossians call him the firstborn of creation? And if Jesus made all things did he make himself when he was created in Mary's womb?"
And on and on the mental wrangling goes, often with the pastors circling like hungry sharks smelling blood in the water...waiting for the exhausted man to falter. But every once in awhile, a kind-hearted pastor throws out an easy question to help ease the tension and give the candidate a chance to relax and breathe. My favorite question to relieve stress is this, "Tell me sir, what does Jesus mean to you!"
At first, the man on trial is somewhat confused because this question isn't about the normal intellectually difficult topics they are expecting like election, atonement theory, or eschatological timelines; but rather it deals with the core of their faith -- the person of Jesus! It is always fascinating to watch a man tell you about the one he has completely given his life to: "What does Jesus mean to me? That's easy...everything!" "Jesus is my Lord, my friend, he is my King!" "Jesus owns me!" In a very clear way, this simple question will often tell you more about the true qualifications of a minister than his views concerning "The 5 points of Calvinism" or "How he approaches exegetical preaching" could ever reveal.
How would you answer the question: "What does Jesus mean to you?"
Is he your everything? Does he own you? Is he King? Biblical Christianity, at it's center, demands for believers to give their total and complete allegiance to Christ. The true truth (the cement) of reality lies squarely on the shoulders of Jesus. We so often argue in our neat Christian circles about the non-essentials, we waste years debating fine shades of doctrine, when all the while what really matters is "How devoted are you to God's dear Son?" I recently read a testimony by a brilliant man, Craig S. Keener, who was a dedicated atheist most of his life until he had a personal encounter with Jesus. Listen to his powerful statement:
I was an atheist (largely for what I thought were scientific reasons), one of my central (albeit nonscientific) objections to believing anything about Jesus was that eighty percent of people in my country claimed to be his followers, yet most of them lived as if it made no difference for their lives...I reasoned that if I believed that there was truly a human being to whom I owed my existence and who alone determined my eternal destiny, I would SERVE that being unreservedly.
When I encountered the risen Christ in an unsolicited and unexpected personal experience, hence came to the conviction that he (not to mention God with whom he was associated) was in fact alive, I understood that the reality of Jesus rises or falls not on how successfully his professed followers have followed his teaching, but on Jesus himself."
Have you had an experience with the risen Christ? If so, do you serve him unreservedly? What I find interesting about this man's story is how he really was not adverse to Jesus based on reason or intellect, but his major problem was that he was fed up with the way professing believers lived their lives!!!!! When you boil all the arguments down, after all the years of reading, study, and all the denominational debates & semantics are finally laid to rest - - the only question that really matters is this,
"How loyal are you to Jesus?"