As we set up our Christmas trees, drink up eggnog and send Amazon our Christmas list, it’s really easy to miss something. The epicenter of modern human history was turned upside down by a man named Jesus. His own people loved or loathed him. As Rome withered away from its most dangerous of adversaries and corrupt politicians, a carpenter’s stepson comes on the scene to divide the world. I can’t help but ask, “Why?”
Why has history deemed this man so controversial? Isn’t he about peace and grace? The Bible is laced with this as part of its central teaching, yet numerous Christian resources state that more Christians have died in the last 100 years than any other time in history because of persecution. How is it possible that the world hates peace, love and grace?
Because that isn’t the whole message.
By His own admission while on trial, Jesus stated before Pilot that he came to testify to truth. “What truth?” The frustration in Pilot’s Christ’s claim echoes still today thousands of years later. He knew firsthand the ambiguity of truth while trying to stay afloat lost in a sea of Roman moral and political chaos.
“What truth?” That, my friends, is a great question still today. What did Christ claim? What was so divisive?
He came bearing a message. We are not lost, little innocent children. We are guilty idolaters who need redeemed. Christ didn’t descend into an innocent little playground on the outer rim of the Milky Way Galaxy. He came into a prison with criminals who need pardoned. That’s why He is controversial. Not only because of who He is, but because of who He tells us we are.
His message is clear: We are more than lost, floating around in space. We are guilty and in need of redemption. We don’t like that. As soon as someone calls one of our actions wrong, we become defensive. “Who are you to judge me?” or “It’s not my fault!” We blame nature (I am just dancing to my DNA.), nurture (Someone did something wrong to me first.), but claim innocence. Some even claim there is no right or wrong, or it’s all perspective. Not from Christ’s perspective (pun intended).
All those things may play into who you are, but you are responsible. Jesus came bringing the greatest gift, one you can’t order on Amazon. He pardons you if you will accept it. Though accepting it means accepting that you need it. Accepting that you are guilty. Accepting Christ carries much weight because it doesn’t just define him, it defines us. Jesus came to testify in truth.
Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for the purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”