Bible Reading: Matthew 27:41-44
I am the Son of God. Matthew 27:43
MICHAEL AND STEFAN compared favorite teachers while standing in the registration line at their university.
“Would you believe I have to take Standish for Western Civ?” Michael moaned.
“The guy is a beast. At least I got Nelson for English Comp.”
“I got Warren again,” Stefan said.
“Oh yeah? For what class?”
“All of them.”
“All of them? Really? Does he give a lot of tests?”
“You have to memorize his material?” Michael asked.
“No,” Stefan answered.
“Well, then, what do you have to do for this guy?”
“Just get to know him and develop a relationship with him.”
It’s hard to imagine a teacher like that, isn’t it? But there is one. Christianity isn’t just a religion; it’s a relationship. Christianity isn’t just a system of beliefs or doctrines; it’s a person. In fact, that’s what made the trial of Jesus unique. In most trials, the accused is tried for something he or she did. Jesus, however, was on trial for who he was. In the Bible Mark tells how several false witnesses came forward at Jesus’ trial, but their testimony was conflicting and inconclusive. But then the high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God?” Jesus answered, “I am” (Mark 14:61-62).
The issue at the trial of Christ was his identity. That is a key difference in Christianity. Your faith isn’t a bunch of beliefs you put in your brain and forget. It’s all about Jesus-and how you relate to him every day.
Some of the biggest arguments in the Bible were between Jesus and the Pharisees, who thought that strict observance of their rules was utterly important. Jesus said in effect, “No, that won’t do. Following God’s rules has to come from a relationship with me. Obeying my teachings won’t make you a Christian. Only having a personal relationship with me can do that.”
Are you growing in your relationship with Christ or only in your knowledge about Christ? It’s crucial that you understand what Jesus taught, but that doesn’t make you a Christian. You become a Christian and grow in your faith through trusting Christ.
REFLECT: What are you doing to get to know Christ himself?
PRAY: Jesus, don’t let me turn my faith into a bunch of rules and ideas. I want to know you personally and follow you totally.