Why should anyone take Jesus seriously? 

Jesus made some extraordinary claims about himself that, if true, would be good reason for taking him seriously. Like the claim he made in John 11:25-26, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 

Well, if we don’t believe it, do we have good reason not to? Yes, if Jesus was a fictional character from a fake book supposedly written by people who really lived, but didn’t. Because no human being has the power to give people life after they die; or that by simply believing in him means death has no hold over us. Only a delusional, rather sick person would make promises like that.

But there is this person in history who did make promises like that, that if true are well worth taking seriously, because they answer two bothersome questions: “What’s the point of life if it only ends in death?” And “If there is life after death, how do we know there is?” And maybe a third question, “What kind of life is it if, by chance, we do come back to life again?” 

Well, Jesus answered all three: first of all, that life doesn’t end in death. Secondly, we can know there’s life after death because we can experience it in our lives now; and, thirdly, we can know what kind of life we’ll come back to because of the life he came back to after he, as a human just like us, died.

It’s the second of those three points I would challenge first, because how on earth can we experience our life after death now? 

The simple answer given in 1 John 3:14 is that “we know we’ve passed from death to life because we love others as our brothers and sisters.” And added to that in verse 15: “Anyone who doesn’t love is as good as dead.” In other words, “life” in our experience as humans, now and forever, temporary or eternal, comes down to the same thing: where love is, life is. And where love isn’t, life isn’t.  

Experiencing love, then, is experiencing eternal life. So there are probably tons of our fellow humans who, with no knowledge or interest in the Bible or God, are experiencing a taste of eternal life. And if they only knew the kind of love Jesus has, and is quite willing to share with us too, their experience of eternal life would become greater still. Good enough reason, I would think, for taking Jesus seriously.     

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